Stalley resonates with a warmth, humility and friendliness in person, that is very rare with someone who’s in the music game nowadays, let alone one tipped for great things. Stalley is part of a rap super-group which includes Mos Def and Jay Electronica and is close personal friends, and indeed business partners with Dame Dash. All of this and yet he’s only been in the industry for a few years and not officially signed to anyone, yet. His rapid rise through the ranks is obviously not getting to his head, as he comes across so humble…
The Wrap Up: You’re originally from Ohio, right? How did you find the move to New York?
Stalley: Initially, I moved to New York to go to school and play basketball, but then I broke my foot and then I turned to music. I’ve been doing music for 3 years now.
TWU: If you could take a magic pill tomorrow to fix your foot and go back to balling or remain a rapper, which would you choose?
Stalley: Hmmm! I would choose music. Music is something I feel like I’m here for, God has giving me this gift and honestly, I wish that I had kinda gotten into it a little bit earlier. Nothing I’ve done in the past, as far as basketball, I don’t regret none of it man, I’ve had a blast. I learnt so much playing basketball, a lot of hard work and getting along with people, all of that came from sports. It gave me an understanding of unity, a type of responsibility. It’s a dope thing!
TWU: Hip-hop being born and incubated in the States, how do you feel knowing that hip-hop has done so well internationally?
Stalley: It definitely surprises me how well it’s done, it’s global. In any corner of the world you can find hip-hop, you know? It’s amazing and I’m very excited about it. It keeps growing and it keeps meshing and blending with other genres. It’s a genre of music that people didn’t think would last, and yet its been around for 20 plus years, its just amazing to see the growth and seeing people still getting excited by it. It’s a great thing to see how different people relate to it in different corners of the world.
TWU: How important is breaking Europe/the UK to you?
Stalley: It’s very important. I wanna break the world, I think I make worldwide music and I am a global artist. I make music relatable across the world and it’s important to touch everyone.
TWU: Any plans to tour here?
Stalley: Absolutely! From my experience, I’ve had a better reception from the people here. The fans that I do have here; have really taken to the music and feel it emotionally. You know they really get into it and I think that’s due to the things that I speak about; they can relate to. Because a lot of stuff is going on over here, as far as politics and the government/being corrupt or just struggling in the hood and feeling like you cant get over some types of leaps and bounds or whatever, when I speak in my music about those things, I feel they relate to it better. So I definitely want to spend more time over here in the UK.
TWU: Where do you stand on the hip-hop violence question? Does music insight violence?
Stalley: Any music can bring emotions, because I’ve listened to music and got energized or excited, or I was put in a thoughtful mood or whatever, but as far as going out and stabbing and shooting, no music can persuade you to do that, especially hip-hop.
TWU: I would say that hip-hop is the most violence-prone music; there aren’t many music genres that celebrate violence like it, I don’t think…
Stalley: We were just at the Nike event and the punk rock was kinda crazy. People throwing each other around and jumping on each other, people could die in that. Heavy metal is the same; people get a little crazy mosh pitting and stuff like that. I guess hip-hop can influence the weak-minded, but it shouldn’t influence the weak-minded and I don’t think that it does. I’ve never come across someone who said, ‘Yo! I smacked somebody because I listened to 50 Cent.’
TWU: Would you say there’s a political strain running through your music?
Stalley: There is, but there isn’t. I speak on what I know. I speak on the world, I speak on my neighbourhood and where I grew up and if that’s in the music, then that’s just what’s in the music. I am very aware and conscious of what’s going on; the day-to-day world and my day-to-day life. I can do that, I might make a song like ‘Save The World’ and then I might make a song like ‘F**k The World’; that’s just life.
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