Liz Barclay

Stalley Continues To Rep His Home State In Upcoming New Era Collaboration

Stalley puts his "blue collar" touch on forthcoming collaboration with New Era.

Besides his smooth rap cuts, Ohio rapper Stalley is known for three things: his affinity for classic cars, a stealthy sneaker game and rocking the Cleveland Indians' Crooked C hat like a uniform.

Fresh from releasing a new mixtape dubbed The Laughing Introvert, the Blue Collar Gang leader is already onto his next project: an upcoming hat collaboration with international lifestyle and sports brand, New Era.

On a sunny Monday afternoon in New York City (Aug. 24), an Indians jersey-clad Stalley strolled into New Era's New York City office and let VIBE sit in on a private design session where the rapper put his skilled sartorial eye to use. Here, the bearded MC shares the details on his New Era collaboration, throwing a pitch at an Indians game as a kid and his latest tape.—Ashley Monaé

VIBE: How did the idea of this collaboration with New Era come about?
Stalley: I’m a big fan of New Era. Always have been since I was a child. We’ve built a relationship over the years so the idea of the collaboration was a mutual thing.

Can you recall the first New Era hat you copped as a kid?
Wow, that’s a good question. It probably wasn’t an Indians hat, which is funny. [Laughs.] It might have been a Cavaliers hat. Nope, I’m lying actually. It was an Indians hat. I remember it was either third or fourth grade, and I got to throw out the first pitch at the game. It’s really a crazy story. My elementary teacher's husband worked with the minor league team, the Akron Arrows. I did well in school and her, her husband and two daughters took me to the game. They surprised me with throwing out the first pitch. Sandy Alomar was the catcher at the time. And that’s when I got my first hat, an Indians hat.

Welcome to the big leagues. #FirstPitchStalley

A photo posted by stalley (@stalley) on

Wow, that's funny because you're always rocking the Crooked C hat.
I like to take responsibility for making the Crooked C hat popular actually. [Laughs.] I remember looking for a different Indians hat because I always wore the Ohio Crown or something repping the state, and I wanted something other than those traditional styles. I think I found it in, like, Cooperstown. I remember telling my manager to order every single one they had on the site. I wore them a lot, and fans used to always ask me where I got them but I couldn’t tell them because I got them off the site. I didn’t know of any actual stores that sold them. But after a while, I started seeing them in a few different places, and people would come to my shows and ask me to sign them, so it’s a really cool thing.

Aside from this collaboration, you have your own clothing line with your brand Blue Collar Gang, too. Are you just as hands-on in the designing process?
Definitely. Outside of music, people know me for cars, fashion and sneakers. I’m definitely hands-on with everything because I’m real big on the particulars. I want everything to look right. I want everything to be a direct reflection of something I would actually wear, and not just making something for the consumer. I myself want to be able to wear the things I’m putting my brand on and feel confident and comfortable selling it myself. It’s hard to sell something if you wouldn’t sell it yourself, you know.

READ: Stalley Seizes His Moment With Debut Album ‘Ohio’

So how would you describe your personal style since it's a direct reflection of your brand?
Just like my cars, man. Clean and classic. [Laughs.] I come from the Midwest and everyone was hardworking and real blue collar, so that’s where Blue Collar Gang comes from. Massillon is as blue collar as it gets. There are 32,000 people and a lot of them wore uniforms, whether they were cops, firemen, mechanics, or working at steel factories. That type of industry is heavy so growing up, I always saw people dressed up, whether it was a suit or Dickies or Carhart. That’s really where my style comes from so it's always been simplistic, clean and to the point. I wanted the collaboration with New Era to have the same feel—something clean that you could wear everyday. It's not loud and you could throw it on with anything.

A photo posted by stalley (@stalley) on

What can fans expect from the upcoming collaboration?
Tradition and pride. Where I’m from, New Era definitely represents tradition, so in a sense, sports memorabilia is equivalent to a collector’s items or even a trophy. For a lot of people, this is as close that we can get to being a part of the team, you know [Laughs.] This is how we show our pride so I definitely wanted to bring that feeling to Ohio and stamp it with my brand, as well as give back to the city and state, and give them something that can be proud to wear. I want them to be able to go to the games, to school and even to work with this hat on and feel proud that someone from this state is representing their home team at the same time.

We can't forget to mention the latest mixtape you put out titled The Laughing Introvert. You just dropped your debut album, Ohio, in late October of last year and you're already back. What prompted this release?
I’m always working and I'm always in the studio creating, so really I wanted to give the fans something. I know a lot of them supported me with the album and came out to the tour stops I've had here in the States and overseas, so I felt like it was time to give them something. My music is naturally for the summer and warmer months too, so I had to give them something they could ride to and enjoy. The project is short with only seven tracks, but it definitely captures a certain vibe I wanted to give off. I feel like there’s no fun or feeling in the music anymore so I wanted to give the people a project that they could enjoy and really create a sound that people would forever remember where they were when they first heard it.

Unlike Ohio, The Laughing Introvert doesn't have big name features. Was that a conscious effort on your part?
Yeah, I just wanted it to not be so feature-heavy and just put together good music on my own. It was a conscious decision, but at the same time it wasn’t because I was just working and vibing. It’s funny actually because the few guys that are featured just happened to stop by the studio and we’d work. It just happened to be the right situation at the right time, and everything came together perfect.

Stream Stalley's The Laughing Introvert here.


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He Won: Lil Nas X Teams Up With Wrangler for Capsule Collection

Lil Nas X's clever Wrangler name drop on his No. 1 hit "Old Town Road" has resulted in a limited edition capsule collection with the denim retailer.

Announced Monday (May 20), the Wrangler Lil Nas X Collection comes in conjunction with Columbia Records and features behind the scenes gems from his cameo-heavy "Old Town Road (Remix)" music video. Importantly, the pieces are actually stylish with tees baring his name in various styles and shorts with Wrangler written on the booty.

Wrangler's site notes the capsule is inspired by the hit song and "offers fresh remixes of classic Wrangler styles for the kind of modern cowboy that can’t be put in a box."

"As an iconic brand in fashion, we have shown up in music, film, and popular culture for decades, but this is the first time our jeans are actually the key to unlocking a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a chart-topping hit,” Jenni Broyles, VP/GM of Wrangler North America, said in a statement to Complex. “We’re incredibly excited about the success of ‘Old Town Road’ and our partnership with Lil Nas X. It is another great example of the power music – and in our case, fashion – has to unite and inspire us all.”

The collection is also fairly priced with items ranging from $39 to $139. It's easy to applaud the 20-year-old as he's beat the genre odds with "Old Town Road." The song, which was originally removed from the Country Billboard charts, has been the No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks.

The Georgia rapper recently announced on Saturday (May 18) that his first EP, 7, will arrive in June. Lil Nas X didn't share much about what his "stans" and other listeners could expect from his upcoming project, but assumptions can be made from his Instagram posts featuring fellow artists like country singer Austin Michaels, Noah Cyrus and Kelly Rowland.

See pieces from the collection below.

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Yumm: Chick-fil-A Considers Adding Vegan Options To Menu

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Speaking with Business Insider Tuesday (May 14), Senior Director of Menu Development Amanda Norris has looked into the idea of more meat-free options for several years. The only meat-free options on the current menu are their fruit cups and signature waffle fries.

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Rihanna To Collaborate With LVMH For Fenty Luxury Line

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Per a press release from LVMH, the Maison–called Fenty– will be created with Rihanna's vision in mind, and will release "ready to wear, shoes and accessories" in the Spring of 2019. She will be the first woman of color to head an LVMH Maison, and Fenty is the first new fashion house for the group since 1987.

“Designing a line like this with LVMH is an incredibly special moment for us," Rih said in a statement. "Mr. Arnault has given me a unique opportunity to develop a fashion house in the luxury sector, with no artistic limits. I couldn’t imagine a better partner both creatively and business-wise, and I’m ready for the world to see what we have built together.”

“Everybody knows Rihanna as a wonderful singer, but through our partnership at Fenty Beauty, I discovered a true entrepreneur, a real CEO and a terrific leader," Bernard Arnault, Chairman and CEO of LVMH, added. "She naturally finds her full place within LVMH. To support Rihanna to start up the Fenty Maison, we have built a talented and multicultural team supported by the Group resources. I am proud that LVMH is leading this venture and wish it will be a great success.”

Rihanna took to Instagram to confirm the news, writing that it was a "big day for the culture."


View this post on Instagram


big day for the culture. thank you Mr.Arnault for believing in this little girl from the left side of an island, and for giving me the opportunity to grow with you at @LVMH . This is proof that nothing is impossible. Glory be to God. 🙏🏿

A post shared by badgalriri (@badgalriri) on May 10, 2019 at 6:22am PDT

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