NBC New York recently caught up with recent Maybach Music Group singee Stalley to promote his upcoming performance at the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival. During the interview, Stalley broke down the political inklings behind his lyrics and why he sampled famed political columnist and Rolling Stone journalist Hunter S. Thompson in his song “Pound,” off his mixtape Lincoln Way Nights.

“[To be a political rapper,] I just think it takes being active in the community,” he said. “[Artists need to be] active in their surroundings and knowing what’s going on in [their] surroundings. [You have to be] conscious of the news…and things are going on in the world – and not just in your community, but [also] across the seas.”

He also added, “That [sample is] just me being a fan of Hunter S. Thompson and everything that he really represented. I think that we all are on this…savage journey for the American dream, and it’s important that we kind of sit back and look at our lives and focus on…what we presume to be the American dream.”

Stalley also discussed his impressive and iconic growth of facial hair. The Ohio rapper explained that he’s been growing his beard for nearly three years, and that once he had committed to music as his career, there was no going back from beyond the beard.

“It took three years [to grow],” he admitted. “It’s been a lot of maintenance and training…some days, it’s longer, some days it’s shorter, depending on how I feel…I consciously decided to grow it once I started doing music.”

The full interview can be seen below.

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