Photo by Evan Brockett
“Either you slang crack rock or you’ve got a wicked jump shot,” said the late, eternally great Notorious B.I.G. Many Hip Hop Generation youngsters have maintained hoop dreams, and “seen them deflate, like a true fiend’s weight.” So then what? Stalley traded the trunks for Funk. Born and raised in Massillon, a small town in the blue-collar state of Ohio, a young Stalley had a very promising basketball career on deck, but after an injury he decided to push even harder towards the limelight on a Hip Hop path.
Two years later, Stalley now is holding down Brooklyn and recently released the project Mad Stalley: The Autobiography to blog acclaim. As one Damon Dash’s renaissance artists, Stalley was recently invited to join supergroup Center Edge Territory along with Mos Def, Jay Electronica & Curren$y. Working with Camp Lo and Jay-Z hitmaker Ski Beatz, Ohio looks on proudly as Stalley is shooting in the bonus, having scored points for a mere two years.
Training For Hoops Vs. Training For Hip Hop: “The training extends on a musical level because you always have to be aware of what’s going around you. You have to be in tune with the news, reading different publications and novels in your everyday life. That’s very important when you have to try and stay sharp and come up for a message in your music. Just like you have to practice lay ups or foul shots, in music when you’re dealing with words you have to continuously read them, listen and study them to try and soak in as much as possible.”
Moving From Ohio To New York: “I moved to New York to play basketball. I had went away to college and was playing until I injured myself. Once I injured myself I just decided to stay in New York instead of going back home to Ohio and really pursue the music. I’ve been doing the music for about two years now.”
Working With Dame Dash: “It’s cool to be around someone that you might have grown up looking at on TV then you get around them and think you know how they’re going to be only to find that they’re nothing like what you expected. A lot of people think that he’s always running around yelling at people or a jerk, but he’s not. Dame [Dash] is a very intelligent dude. There’s been a lot of qualities about him that I didn’t think that he would have, but he does. He gives a lot of good advice and it’s all fun working with someone like that from where I’m standing.”
The Center Edge Territory Super-Group: “I’m a solo artist first and foremost, but the way that Center Edge Territory was through Mos Def. I had met Mos previously because the first six song EP I had made. I was in a store one day playing it and he just happened to walk in and that was how we first got down. He was just like it would be cool if we could just start up a group where we could make good music to hit people with as a collective and every once and a while drop a single, album or project. He felt like Me, Jay Electronica, and Curren$y were all sort of similar musically, but that we all came from different backgrounds, stories, and experiences, and we all flow differently. So he [suggested] we all could form a little group for the listeners and fans. That’s how the group kind of came about. It’s funny because before I was actually in the group him, Jay and Curren$y had already did a few songs then Mos reached out to me like, “Yo, you need to be in this group” but I thought he was playing. But once I found out he was serious I [agreed]. So I just threw my verse on those songs and that’s how it all came about.”
The Webisodes: “I’m doing it with Creative Control. I have a show that’s actually being worked on right now called The Milq. That’s a play off of the little city where I’m from in Ohio. The show is basically a short documentary of everything going on in my life. Every time something happens than more will be added to the show so it’s pretty cool. Like if I do shows, or I’m in the studio you will be able to see that. Recently, I went back home and we were able to get a lot of footage of me being around my family and friends. We had went to the [Cleveland Cavaliers] game and was hanging out with LeBron [James] and everybody over there. The show will basically showcase the man behind the music. Eventually we might have enough footage for a two-hour movie.
The Female’s Response To The Beard: “It’s funny, ’cause I actually grew the beard so women wouldn’t love it, but the opposite happened. It’s funny that you ask that because I started growing my beard like two years ago with the music. I was like, ‘Okay, I’m going to really let go and focus on the music.’ I was hoping that the beard would keep the women away ’cause sometimes they can be a distraction when you’re trying to concentrate and work towards something and I had decided that I wanted to take the whole Rap thing serious. It’s so funny because now women like me more than ever.”
The Next Movement: “Look out for [Ski Beatz’] 24 Hour Karate School mixtape.” I have like four songs on there. I’m also working on my own solo album wit Ski Beatz. We’re already half way along with that and it’s already sounding really classic and amazing. And people should stay on the look out for all of the new video I have coming out on The Milq. Check me out at MySpace.com/madstalley and Stalley330.Bandcamp.com.