Interview: Stalley Seizes His Moment With Debut Album 'Ohio'
October 28, 2014 - 6:29 pm
VIBE: When do you feel you elevated to the next level as an artist?
Stalley: Man, it was when I first let [Rick] Ross hear the first version of my album and he said it was complete. I knew it wasn’t and that I had room to do better, but that’s when I realized I could take that next step and really take my artistry to another level.
Has anyone heard the album in full so far?
My A&R has heard it and so have the producers. Honestly, not even all of my team has heard it yet. It’s been crazy because we’ve been so protective of it because of leaks. We kept it air tight. There’s really only a handful of people who’ve heard the whole album.
What’s something you hope listeners take from the album?
I hope they understand me as an artist and notice it’s a new sound, a new way of rhyming and a new sound for the Midwest. I want the audience to grasp the originality behind it, because that’s important to me. I titled the album OHIO not only because of where I’m from, but it’s also an acronym for "Over Here I’m Original." I was particular about this project. From the beat picking, the flow and the cadence I use in song. Everything now is the same and cookie cutter. I wanted to go in a different lane.
(Laughs) That’s amazing. I’ve never heard Ohio used that way. How’d you come up with that?
One day I was just thinking about it and I thought ‘Let me figure out an abbreviation for Ohio,’ and I came up with that.
Sick. Being that you’re from Ohio and are one of the few rappers that I know can ball, I have to ask you a few sports questions. Tell me how excited you are about not only having LeBron back but also a new Big 3 for the Cavaliers.
It’s looking quite easy out there for them right now, but I’m just praying for the health of the players. It’s a long season and they’re going to get banged up, but I think they can win a championship if they’re healthy.
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What’s the energy like right now in Cleveland? The sports teams have new life.
I think Quicken Loans arena might be the top energy level place in the league, even over Oklahoma City and other spots.
If we paired the best rappers and the best ball players from their respective home states and had a two-on-two contest, you and LeBron would have to be the favorites right?
(Laughs) I think we might win. Me and LeBron in a two-on-two? I think we’d win. I’m feeding him until someone can stop him. He’s getting the ball 90% of the time. If it wasn’t for the players' safety concerns, that would actually be a fun thing to do.
Between yourself and your album, LeBron coming home and the Browns drafting Johnny Manziel, Cleveland has become a hot topic in the sports and music world. That has to feel good, right?
It’s a beautiful thing. We’ve always had things to offer, but now we’ve got sports back, the music is exciting. What’s great is that we have two teams that are important to Ohio, but also to their respective leagues. Cavs now hold a spot in the East. The Browns have meant something to us for a long time, so it’s a thrill to see them to get back into the spotlight.
Can we expect you to perform at Quickens Loans Center any time soon? Would you feel like things had come full circle for you then?
Even if I was to make a theme song for the Cavs or to perform at halftime, it would be one of my most special moments as an artist. I threw out the first pitch at an Indians game and I just love representing Ohio so much, for me to have that and do that, it was amazing.