Sha Stimuli Talks "Unsung," Apologizing To Jay-Z And Wale

Exclusive: S-T-I reveals if his latest conceptual gem is aimed at Drake, and why he apologized via song for scrutinizing Jay-Z but won't apologize to Wale.

To most R&B/Soul music fans Unsung is the name of the critically acclaimed TV One series documenting the rise and fall of notable singers from the ‘70s and ‘80s who, due to a myriad of personal and professional missteps, never quite reached the commercial success they seemed destined for in the early stages of their careers and subsequently faded from the spotlight (or in some cases met an untimely death).

To most regular readers of this website Unsung is the title of the forthcoming street album from Sherod Khaalis, p.k.a. Sha Stimuli, an acclaimed artist in his own right who unfortunately knows all too well what it is like to have witnessed his shooting star come crashing down to earth.

After leaping over career hurdles (that included a forfeited debut LP on Virgin Records and a subsequent Def Jam deal dissolving due to some miscommunication between Sha, his A&R Lenny S and Jay-Z), Stimuli finally emerged from the mixtape scene last fall with his first barcode-baring project, My Soul To Keep. After trailing that slept-on gem with its impressive mixtape extension presented by in May, Overtime, (which recently received a retail release via Chamber Musik/Fat Beats Records), the Brooklyn emcee is now preparing to once again provide a much-needed dose of introspective lyricism to the Hip Hop masses, this time via his TV One-inspired offering.    

On Monday (September 13th) Sha Stimuli spoke to HipHopDX about Unsung Vol. 1: The Garden of Eden (tentatively due in late October) and just what will be the direction of that online release (being presented in conjunction with that will set the stage for Sha’s official sophomore full-length in 2011. One of the generous contributors earlier this year to DX’s Hip Hop Helps Haiti relief-aid mixtape also revealed if the ironic title-track from Unsung is dissin’ Drake. Stimuli further explained why he recently apologized for a lyrical examination of Jay-Z but refuses to do the same for a recent critical comment in song about Wale.   


HipHopDX: Before we get to the obvious questions I have about “Unsung” , I wanted to ask about arguably the dopest song you’ve put out so far in 2010, “123.” When are we getting like a viral video for that so more folks get put on to one of the most slept-on joints of the year?

Sha Stimuli: You think “123” is one of the best joints? Get outta here. [Laughs] I ain’t even mean for that to come out. Like that…that’s crazy. I actually took them lyrics and put ‘em on something else – some of ‘em, ‘cause that’s an old record. That’s crazy.       

DX: The lyrics are old or the beat is old, or both?

Sha Stimuli: Everything is old. I never expected it to come out, my man said he needed a joint for a mixtape one day and I just…sent it to him. But, people liked it, wow. I never know what people are gonna like, man. That’s crazy.  

DX: You went all simile-crazy on there; I think that’s the most times I’ve heard you say “like” on a track before. [Laughs] Was that purposeful? Did you go traditional cocky-rapper style to remind folks that you’re not all concept records and storytelling – that you can lyrically murder mofos too?

Sha Stimuli: Yeah, sometimes I go back there, man. Like, I ain’t gonna lie, I’m bored with that like rappin’ about myself, and the whole “look at you, look at me” thing, but people need that. It’s like they just…I dunno, I [guess] they need to free themselves from the everyday concept, or just listening so hard that they need you to spit shit about you being better than everybody in the world. So, yeah, sometimes I flex that muscle, ‘cause that’s where I started, so it’s easy.

DX: Now…let’s get to “Unsung.” [Laughs] How can anyone be so clueless to not get that you’re being ironic on that joint? [Laughs]

Sha Stimuli: It happens, trust me. The first comments that I got were like, “Yo, what are you doing?” People were really [taking me seriously]. I saw some "smh’s" online, which to me is one of the most effeminate things: for people to "smh." But, yeah, like…it’s crazy. I dunno [why some people didn’t get the irony].

DX: And I understand that radio stations in New York are taking Smally Biggs seriously? [Laughs]

Sha Stimuli: [Laughs] Yeah, yeah, some people was playing it. I want them to keep playing it. I don’t care. Power 105 was bumpin’ it. I don’t know who [all] played it…but keep playing it, spread the word. I just want everybody to see how simple we are as listeners, what we like. ‘Cause some people really like enjoyed the record [without knowing it was meant to mock]…which I want it to be entertaining. But, if you enjoy it, that just says a lot like, this is the type of stuff that you’re feeling right now. It’s okay. But it’s just easy for me. If you want me to do that [type of music], I can do it.         

DX: And you know I gotta ask if this song was intended to specifically mock the stereotypical southern rapper with its stereotypical southern beat and lines like, “My name’s Sha, that’s with an A/I’m from NY, but I be in the A”?

Sha Stimuli: I didn’t have any one human being in mind [that I was mocking]. People think I was coming at a certain rapper or whatever…[but] honestly I did this in my living room, it took me about eight minutes… I got a CD coming out called Unsung, so I figured what better way to promote it than to do something simple and just continue to say “I’m unsung” in the joint? So, I wasn’t really coming at south rappers. Yeah, I had a little accent, but my family’s from Miami. Everybody in my family’s from Opa-Locka, [Florida and] North Carolina, so…that’s in me. It wasn’t like a jab or a stab, it was just having fun on a joint.   

DX: You know I also gotta ask, it’s just mandatory, if the “I can’t sing, so I bust guns” line from the chorus was a diss to Drake, to fake-ass gangstas, or both?

Sha Stimuli: [Laughs] Nah, that wasn’t – I swear I had nobody in mind, man. I had one line [originally] where I mentioned a rapper by name and I had to take it out. But, nah, I wasn’t coming at Drake. Drake can sing, right? Can’t he sing? I don't know, I think he taking singing lessons. [Laughs] I dunno, man, I ain’t coming at nobody. Like at this point in the game, it’s just um…I’m having fun with it, man. For me to really sit here and worry about what other people are doing – This is more about the fans. This is more about the things I hear all the time like, “You need to dumb it down,” you need to do this, and…I just give people what they want. Like, alright [here you go].    

DX: Now, this new joint you just dropped, “The Title (I Wanna Win)” is like “Unsung” in that it sonically doesn’t sound anything like traditional Stimuli. Are you really so “tired of being unheard” that you’re really gonna take it to the clubs, or is this a bit of sarcasm like “Unsung”?

Sha Stimuli: No, it’s not sarcasm. It’s um…it’s definitely a change from the soulful and the sample stuff. To be honest, I’m a little tired of doing that type of stuff. Like, I still want music that moves people, but um…I’m not making any attempts, if that makes any sense. I’m just doing what happens naturally. I did that record early this year, and [so] I didn’t know when the timing would be to drop it. On this Unsung CD there’s no singing on it, [and] it’s more of the braggin’ Rap that wasn’t on My Soul To Keep.

So [“The Title”] kinda just fit in that realm. [But] I’m not running around the clubs with a CD [of the song] in my back pocket like, “Yo, play this joint. This is what y’all really want. This is what y’all been waiting for.” Nah. It was just…I said I was tired of being unheard, and I talked about wanting to win this year, but [there’s] no compromise in the record. I think everything I did just felt right. It’s not a spoof, it’s not a parody, but it is something for me to say that I’m not gonna take the same musical direction as always.

[With Unsung] it’s back to me just rappin’… I [still] snuck some concepts on there… That’s why the subtitle is The Garden of Eden, because it’s like at one point I think about being unsung and I kinda want more notoriety in the game… [But then], you just start to view the position that you’re in, and you realize where you were before [is] the place that a lot of people wanna get to. You know, I’ve had the record deals, I’ve been around a lot of big-name artists, I’ve had the potential and the ability to reach folks through music, and that’s nothing to really laugh at. It’s a big thing, being able to touch people and do shows… I can’t really take it for granted. And if I keep looking towards the next thing, or I keep wanting radio play, or I wanna sell records, [and] then you want an award, then you wanna win an award again, it’s like you never really get [content] and happy… So [with] this CD I’m talking shit, I’m talking still about relationships, and got songs on there that do deal with some things, but basically it’s in-ya-face music, I would put it to you like that.

DX: And you’re saying [with] that subtitle, The Garden of Eden, you mean like back to the beginning…?

Sha Stimuli: Well what I mean is for Adam and Eve to realize that they were in paradise they had to leave. So, this unsung state that I feel like…I don’t wanna be in a position where I’m not doing music anymore [and then] to look back and say, “Aw man, I was The Source ‘Unsigned Hype,’ or I was on Virgin Records. I had this many Facebook friends and Twitter followers and people that were fans.” I don’t wanna walk away from it and look back and say I didn’t appreciate it.    

DX: I understand you were gonna put “I Apologize” on Unsung but decided to purposefully put it on your recently-released Overtime mixtape instead?

Sha Stimuli: Yeah…that was [my deejay] [DJ] Victorious playing A&R. [He] basically told me that it was – I don’t know if he said it was too negative or it was just… It was just some topics on there that we wanna just kinda close the door on. And that was the whole point of that [song]. Like, when I did it…I love the freedom of being able to get into the booth and just vent. So, just for people to care at all [about my venting] it’s like…so much of a blessing, man. So I was just like, let me just put this on the Overtime thing where I’m already doing long verses…

DX: I noticed with “I Apologize” you basically retracted everything you told me last time we spoke. [Laughs]

Sha Stimuli: [Laughs] Yeah. You live and you learn, man. Once you step on the court you gotta deal with what the referees call. [But], I’m still here, so…I’m not mad at nobody, man.

DX: Just out of curiosity, did anybody from like [Jay-Z’s] camp, or anybody around Jay, holla at you after they heard [“Follow The Leader” ] or read the interview...?

Sha Stimuli: Nah. I went to check Lenny S, and he basically…he didn’t say much. He said he heard it…and that was it. I don’t know too much. I’m not really in that circle like I used to be. I think that’s kinda helpful for me as well, to be out of that circle.

DX: And I gotta ask if your apology to Wale is coming soon for “Thinkin’ Out Loud” from Overtime? [Laughs]

Sha Stimuli: No, I’m not gonna apologize for that, because that’s really just my ignorance. I’m not saying anything bad about [Wale]. There’s a lot of rappers that I don’t get their buzz, and I will tell you this and you can print it because it’s me being naïve to the game. Like, at one point I ignored marketing for about five, six years and just thought that Rap was gonna get me fans and notoriety and all of that. And for some people it worked. [For] people like Joell Ortiz, and I’ll even say Joe Budden, rapping just worked. But, [with] people like Wiz Khalifa, Wale…like, I’ll go on YouTube and I’ll [listen to] some of their rhymes or [watch] their videos and just see if I’m buggin’ out. Because I don’t hear lyricism, or I don’t hear nothing ill, that makes me say, “Oh shit, why does this person have a 100,000 views for this [song]?” Like, it doesn’t translate to me. So, that’s me not understanding. Straight up and down, I don’t get why [certain artists are buzzing]. And it may be a person’s look, or where they’re from, or their tattoos, or whatever, I don’t know. But I’m sure that there are a lotta people out there like me that don’t get it. And there’s people out there that don’t get me. There’s no reason to apologize for that.   

Purchase Music by Sha Stimuli



  • Stephen Peeke

    big sha fan. i'm hopin he doesnt go too far away from the soulful, sample stuff cause I loved My Soul to Keep. Imma Wale fan too and i dont understand Sha's opinion on him. Wale's got a lotta good verses out there ("Rising Up" on the Rising Down Roots CD) and the mixtape aobut nothing was classis. Wiz i'm not hugely impressed with but it's simple, feel good music and there'll always be a market for that. Excited for Unsung, keep putting out good shit Sha.

  • Ya Boah

    Sha is that guy. Wiz still goes hard to me though. And i guess i need to peep some more of Overtime..back to it !

  • Eazy

    somebody get this dude a copy of More about Nothing stat, Wale is a beast

  • DevilishThoughts

    I agree with most of what this guy is saying. But the one thing he is wrong about though, is Wale not being lyrical. Sha needs to listen to a mixtape of Wale's because he's so wrong on that. However I actually did look up some of Wiz Khalifa's vids and I was saying the same shit so I get where he's comin from.

  • NOLAnuffsaid

    why is it this cat fill wiz khalifa aint hot because he not a super lyrical rapper? who cares if people like him then they like him, it aint for him to get. sha go hard sometimes, and sometimes he don't. he gotta figure out how to get his buzz up, and stop worrying about how other people getting they buzz.

  • EliRootZ

    Oh and btw, if the whole slaughter house situation works out with Shady, thats a big first step in the right direction, support real music.

  • EliRootZ

    I've never heard any of dudes song but i COMPLETELY agree with things he's saying here and it makes me want to hear some of his music. Not to hate on Wiz or Wale,cuz this is just my personal opinion, but i feel the same way. I look on youtube cuz a certain person told me or i heard somewhere told me this person (wiz/wale,etc..) were hot and when i listen to it, its the farthest thing from special. Maybe dope beats but nothing so good from the artist for them to deserve the acclaim or hype they get, theres a bunch of artists that are way more talented than these guys and they dont get shine. But i guess whats what everybody is complaining about. People say the game is evolving its just different not bad, BULLSHIT, hip-hop is suppose to be about life, things the common person can relate to, life encompasses many different aspects. Now a days is straight just about MONEY,90% of the shit i hear on the radio is str8 garbage, shouldnt the hottest shit be gettin played? but no, its whoever can pay the most to have their shit spun, shit is sad, STOP SELLING YOUR SOUL FOR MONEY MO FUCKAS, OPEN YOUR EYES AND MIND.

  • jent14

    sha stimuli is the best out there and he didnt say anything sideway about anyone in this interview just expressing his opinion but not hating at all someone should def get him that wale mixtapes about nothing and more about nothing as well.. perhaps they could collab but sha is dope so is wale and this was a solid enjoyable interview

  • MardiGraz718

    I have never heard a single Sha Stimuli song...but I dug this interview and I'mma check him out. I liked his answers and perspective. He seems like a intelligent, real, dude and a versatile artist so let's see....That said...I agree with him about Wiz Khalifa....I don't get it...Wale is another matter. Dude is like Lupe, he goes over alot of heads. In no way am I sayin Wale is as nice as Lupe. I'm just sayin he's dope and he's not for everybody. He goes in though...

  • ATrueCoon

    Damn, everybody always going at Wale. He got bars sometimes though. Anyway great interview. Big fan of Sha.

  • fortydogg

    wale sucks, wiz suck/ listen there is no such thing as being a hater. If somebody sucks its just the truth. The bar has droped so low for hip hop dat the game iz full of fools who say keep it real but to get a check will rap on any beat, be a pop star and were rocker tight jeans just to have a short-lived career. Nig*az alwayz talkin bout bein relevant but what good iz dat if in 9 months no one remembers you. Do ya thang Sha and fu*k drake , he aint shit , he will run back to canada like every wanna be rapper from there when no one ova here in da states care bout him

    • MardiGraz718

      You suck. Who's truth? Just cuz somebody's wack in your opinion don't make it truth, that makes it your humble opinion. Niguz be gettin lost & forgettin that they're not an authority on this shit. You're a fan, like me & everybody else here & yeah there is such a thing as hate. Sayin somebody is wack doesn't classify as hate no, but there is genuine hate & genuine haters out there trust! Jeans have nothing to do with skill so please leave the clothing comments to the fashionista bloggers, thanx.

  • stuntmoney

    Y everytime someone says something about wale's album they say its trash songs like world tour, 90210, mirror, beautiful bliss, shades, contemplate, diary he gave you a hip hop album not the best but its solid

  • Rampz

    If he doesn't realize WHY Wiz is hot then he himself will never be successful. When it comes to music it's more than just having ill lyrics and concepts. He already said he didn't pay attention to marketing for 5+ years so that says it all. He needs to study things more rather than just accepting his ignorance and naivety.

  • heflys

    This nigga jealous and shit. "But, [with] people like Wiz Khalifa, Wale…like, I’ll go on YouTube and I’ll [listen to] some of their rhymes or [watch] their videos and just see if I’m buggin’ out." Why the fuck do you care nigga? There are plenty of terrible rappers for you to hate.

  • HAHA

    good need to apoligize for something if u believe it

  • sharpsh00ter155

    this is just the classic "this dude is gettin buzz? But im better than that cat!" shit hes pullin. they are gettin buzz for a reason, today buzz is usually made with a solid mix of lyricism and commercial appeal, not just 1 or the other.

  • BHump

    I feel Sha Stimuli on the manufactured buzz stuff. I believe he does not hear the level of lyricism with the Wale's and Khalifa's to justify their levels of 'buzz'. Hope Sha lines up with a great executive producer this next time around...

  • Kacy Hill

    Ima start listening to his mixtapes and stuff

  • bluntsondeck

    tell this nigga keep wiz khali's name out his mouth smh

    • MardiGraz718

      Look at your name and understand why you completely missed the entire point of what was said....I'll wait.....

    • reEL Talk

      Please stop. He didnt diss Wiz. He spoke THE TRUTH! Wiz aint hot. But his BUZZ would suggest other-wise. He's not some iLL lyricist or anything.

  • asss22

    stimuli is one of the realest, he needs to expose all these fake gimmick rappers (whole cashmoney camp)


    If hip hop these days was about lyrics only... then we would not see this girly hop nonsense goin down. hip hop is more and more about pop these days. This is one great mc .. he banged out a slew of mixtapes that would kill whole albums. If you love real hip hop mc-in then support this cat.

  • Dfrance

    I'm the biggest Sha fan but I can't front, he's a hater sometimes. To say Wale is not a lyricist? I'm not a Wiz fan but he's doing his thing why do you need to understand his buzz? If Sha was well known, I'm sure he wouldn't worry about understanding another artists buzz.

  • O.C

    It's Very Rare You see a Second generation rapper with such charismatic inference continue to be consistant with a focus on realiziam's minus niggerdom's and still get the point across while in the same breath, build a devoted brand of listners. Beit a religious listner of hip hop since the 80's, the music longs for a ...swift crafty delivery with a Constant speed of a small fowards swag to keep the ungraphed and unchartable mind moving. While the characteristics of hope for hip hop bleed from his lyrical inference obviously the music is far from dead what audacity !!! listeners stay tuned... His talent still seems to be untapped as his career continues to explode pay close attention you're witnessing one of the greatest to come !!! (Peace unto you and let you're soul continue to bleed through ya music .1..... OC)

  • R.M.

    A hottt music video he was just in:

  • rizzy

    hmmm sha is dope and he does deserve to be heard but i feel like hes a litle salty with the wiz and wale comments. To say wale isnt lyrical at all makes me question his ear for lyrics.

    • ThaLokster

      Yeaaha i agree with that. Im a huge Khalifa fan, but its not cuz his lyrics catch my ear, he just speaks about some real stuff.. Otha stuff he can just make some solid music! Wale on tha othere hand is a lyrical genius but I think his label holds him back.. All his mixtapes are dopeAF but his album was trash!!

  • asd Won Says by $WonDough$

  • Bawse

    Why do guys apologize to girls after they did sum? To get some pussy

  • 718rob

    Glad to see Sha getting some deserved coverage. I wish he made more albums and gave away less free music. I know personally it's made me pay less attention to him with all the oversaturation. I did purchase My Soul To Keep though. Slept on album.

    • rEEL Talk

      Yo thats REAL talk. I've always thought that! Because Sha is so dope, but does so many mixtapes, there is always a FREE supply for the demand. So how do you make $?

  • DJ Nemesis

    i seen wale live an hes RAW,in vids or albums i wasnt impressed...but Wiz khalifa??? come on man dude is a lyricist,his last mixtape is decent but if you dont admit wiz is ill,you havent heard his raw shit... look up buss down,like a star,feel good,i still remember,shit even this plane,its str8 lyrical shit that sounds str8 from 96'

    • Wizzy

      I feel you on that Wiz comment, but there's some tracks he has that are pretty dumbed down lyrics-wise. And those are the tracks that usually get radio play. And dude, Kush & OJ is decent?? lol. That mixtape is classic.

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