Release Date: Oct 28, 2014
Record label: Atlantic
Genre(s): Rap, Gangsta Rap, Hardcore Rap, Midwest Rap
It’s hard to say what it is, but for whatever reason artists from Ohio feel particularly inclined to rep their state, especially those from the northeast. Of course, in hip-hop, holding it down for your home town is a big part of the game. However, rappers from the double-o are especially loud about it, with Stalley adding himself to a long list of artists including Kid Cudi, Bone Thugs and Chip tha Ripper who shout out their home state at every opportunity.
A fascinating first step, Stalley's Ohio really is the "intelligent trunk music" the man from Massillon, Ohio had promised in the pre-release press. Beats boom in a familiar style, rattling and pounding as if UGK were now running the Buckeye State, while storytelling lyrics come from a more elevated place, especially on the street-game documentary "Problems. " The goal of getting a baby mama out of the projects fuels a do-or-die lifestyle on a cut where the streets are always watching, while "System on Loud" is the sound of running away in middle-sized burbs like Massillon, a place where only the headphones and jeep beats understand a city-aimed dude like Stalley.
Midwestern representative Stalley set out to make an album that reverberates with the values red state country has come to represent. And he has succeeded in selling us on the merits of the cold industriousness of Ohio, but his “intelligent truck music” doesn’t quite hit home. With a growing legion of fans and the backing to put together another potential standout project, expectations rose to a higher level for Stalley’s debut album Ohio than any of his previous projects.
Rick Ross and De La Soul don't seem to belong in the same sentence, much less on the same LP. Yet there they are, the gangsta and the backpackers, practically bookending burgeoning Midwest MC Stalley's studio debut, Ohio.But Stalley isn't torn between those polar opposites on this release. Rather, Ohio is thoroughly thuggish; early cut "What It Be Like" is a standard chest-thumper with some clever lines.
Since introducing the world to a brand of rap coined “Intelligent Trunk Music,” Stalley has remained consistent, releasing free projects like Lincoln Way Nights and Savage Journey To The American Dream, before testing the market with the Honest Cowboy EP, a project released as a mixtape in 2013, but after rave reviews and a BET nod in the “Best Mixtape” category it only made sense for the label to release it to iTunes. Now the MMG rapper returns with his long-awaited debut album entitled Ohio. The LP, reconnects Stalley with longtime friend and producer Rashad, who helps Stalley capture sonic inspirations from the G-funk era, while sampling influential ’70s soul bands and artists like Ohio Players, Bootsy Collins, Parliament Funkadelic and more to give the album a reestablishing sound that we have become familiar with during the music trajectory of the bearded BCG member.