Massillion? Where, who, what the heck is that? I had to Google that one. Turns out it’s a small city in Ohio, USA – a place with a strict work ethic. It’s also the place where up and coming rapper, Kyle Myricks, better known by his stage name, Stalley, was born and raised. Lincoln Way Nights (Intelligent Trunk Music) is Stalley’s third mixtape and pays homage to this blue collar town filled with steel factories. He left Massillion- he calls it the Milq – for New York City (the Honey) to give his music career an added push after plans to play college basketball failed, a decision he recounts on the “The Milq and Honey” featuring clips of random people talking about leaving Massillion over top of its old-school vibe.
Throughout the mixtape’s 16-tracks the sound of horns is made apparent. That, along with a voice imbued with passion, allows for a rugged vibe that I can get used to. I love that Stalley can rhyme without making references to women as b-words and such. I instantly fell in love with “Slapp” because it samples Wiz Khalifa’s underground track “Spotlight,” a beat that bring chills down my spine. One thing I absolutely enjoy hearing is the fierceness of bass, and “Pound” and “She Hates Bass” (contrary to my feelings) kills it! The sound of the 808s pumping through my headphones is hypnotic and heartfelt.
“Tell Montez I Love Her” is my favourite and the most real song on Lincoln Ways Nights. In the first verse Stalley talks about his situation with his mother, who calls and tells him that she’s struggling financially back home. He feels horrible because he just spent money at the mall on unnecessary things. In an interview with The 330, Stalley says, “My mom is 60 years old and she just recently stopped working and not by choice, so it’s some hard times. Meanwhile, I’m here in New York and I’m living the dream. But when I go to stores and I shop, it’s hard for me . . . and it sucks that I can’t help.” While everything is going wrong, his mother is still proud of him, as a mother should, but he think otherwise. In the second verse, he sends a message out to his sister, who’s been absent in his life for three years now. He reminisces about their lives as children and congratulates her on her successes. He encourages also her to visit him and his children and ends it off by sending his love.
Stalley’s latest is the perfect marriage between old and new school that will officially put Massillion on the map. The fact that he’s not a rookie coming from a hip hop epicentre like Atlanta or Chicago makes him unique and quickly draws hip hop heads to him. With appearances on MTV’s Sucker Free and MTV Jams’ Mixtape Daily, Stalley is accumulating national status. If you want a free ride to Massillion, hop on the next thing smoking, and that is Lincoln Way Nights. – Irene Boateng
“Slapp” ft. Rashad