Boost Mobile in association with Guerilla Union presents
2013 Rock The Bells Hip Hop Music Festival
Kid Cudi, J Cole, Girl Talk, Common, Tech N9ne, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Tyler The Creator, Wale, Rakim, Immortal Technique, Joey Bada$$, Pro Era, Logic, Mimosa, Slick Rick, Doug E. Fresh, Action Bronson, Brother Ali, Dom Kennedy, Big K.R.I.T., Dilated Peoples, Prof, Freeway, Danny Brown, Hopsin, Dizzy Wright, Ratking, Stalley
50 Rte 120
East Rutherford, NJ, 07073
Doors 12:00 PM (event ends at 11:00 PM)
2013 Rock The Bells Hip Hop Music Festival
"Kid Cudi is a Brooklyn-based rapper from Cleveland whose debut single, "Day 'n' Nite," became an online favorite in 2008. Born Scott Ramon Seguro Mescudi in suburban Cleveland, his career took off after he moved to Brooklyn and became affiliated with Fool's Gold, the label of DJs A-Trak and Nick Catchdubs. The label released the Day 'n' Nite EP in February 2008 and circulated a Crookers remix around the blogosphere, drumming up a good deal of buzz in the process. It didn't hurt that Kid Cudi began to receive increasing press attention, including a nod from Rolling Stone (which touted him among the magazine's Top Five best indie hip-hop artists of 2008). Not long after the release of "Day 'n' Nite," Kid Cudi began touring with the Fool's Gold collective, which performed at a South by Southwest showcase and subsequently joined forces with Steve Aoki and his Dim Mak collective for a North American tour. After the remixed version of "Day 'n' Nite" climbed the U.K. singles charts, Kid Cudi released his conceptual debut album Man on the Moon: The End of Day in the summer of 2009. A year later he returned with a sequel, Man on the Moon, Vol. 2: The Legend of Mr. Rager." - Jason Birchmeier, AllMusicGuide
Jermaine Lamarr Cole (born January 28, 1985 in Frankfurt, Germany), better known simply as J. Cole, is an American rapper and producer from Fayetteville, North Carolina. He is best known for being the first artist to be signed to JAY-Z's label Roc Nation after Jay heard his single Lights Please. He released his debut mixtape The Come Up in 2007 and followed this up with 2009's The Warm Up and 2010's Friday Night Lights. Songfacts reports that he dropped his first official single, Work Out on June 15, 2011, the two-year anniversary of The Warm Up. He is now working on his highly anticipated debut album "Cole World: The Sideline Story".
Cole has appeared on the cover of The Source and Beyond Race magazines, as well as being featured as one of XXL's 2010 Freshmen. Cole appeared on Jay-Z's 2009 album The Blueprint 3, on the track A Star is Born, and is also featured on labelmate Wale's debut album, Attention Deficit. Most recently, he was touring with Jay-Z, Young Jeezy, and Trey Songz on The Blueprint 3 tour. In January 2010, along with Jay Electronica and Mos Def, he appeared on the first single from the new Reflection Eternal album, Just Begun.
The rap world is at a crossroads. In the face of shrinking budgets, music executives, resting on their laurels, search out the next YouTube sensation with a catchy hook and dance move in order to amass digital single sales. While many artists have tried to break through despite an industry melt down, few have been met with critical praise. And the applause for those that have has not been loud enough to sway the course of the current rap market. Looking to excel where his contemporaries have failed, North Carolina native J. Cole (born Jermaine Cole) brings promise of a new day in hip hop music.Raised by his mother in North Carolina, J. Cole's hometown of Fayetteville would provide much of the sights and experiences that would come to shape his sound. Cole fell into rapping at the age of 12 when his cousin from Louisiana spent the summer in Fayetteville, showing him the basics of rhyming. He was instantly hooked. From there he delved deep into the music of hip hop luminaries including Tupac Shakur, Nas and Outkast, taking from them a love for telling stories with an unbridled rigor. Seizing every opportunity to write, at age 15 J. Cole found himself with composition notebooks full of rhymes but no beats of his own to lay them on. Determined to create original songs, he begged his mother for a beat machine so he could produce music solely for himself. She granted his wish and from there, a young Cole spent all his free time creating sounds and songs that would lay the foundation for what his style has evolved to today.
Feeling the need to be heard, J. Cole used college as a tool to chase his dreams. He attended St. John's University on an academic scholarship, choosing the school so that he could be in the heart of the music industry: New York City. After polishing his sound and graduating Magna Cum Laude, J. Cole is dropping his debut mixtape, properly titled "The Come Up" hosted by DJ On Point. A mash up of dusty, soul filled sound beds, raw, energetic drums and an endless range of topics everything from the carefree days of college to the seemingly endless plight of those have-nots scrapping for change. The Come Up puts J. Cole's broad palette of lyrical and production talents on display. "All a nigga wanna do is take his momma from that, but they rather lock us up and make sure we don't come back," he vehemently spits over the cascading keys and triumphant strings of the self produced "Lil' Ghetto Nigga."
With such a diverse display, J. Cole is poised to wake up a dormant industry and cement his name in this game. But more than that, with his debut studio album currently in production, he hopes to change the tide of current rap music, swaying it in a more insightful, meaningful and passionate direction."
Pittsburgh artist Gregg Gillis (aka Girl Talk) has scrupulously created music from samples for over eight years. His fourth album, Feed the Animals, continues his sonic evolution towards his party-infested live show. While his first album, Secret Diary (2002), was full of purposeful glitches and noise, his subsequent albums, Unstoppable (2004) and the groundbreaking Night Ripper (2006), moved closer and closer towards dance-able mixes of varying genres, often including dozens of audio sources in a stream of juxtaposed hooks. With the fourth Girl Talk album on the Illegal Art label, Gillis steps even closer towards a creation that is centered on pop musicality rather than attention-deficit sample splicing.
Girl Talk has been known to underground audiences for several years, but it wasn't until 2006 that Gillis crossed over and caught the attention of a larger audience. With Rolling Stone, SPIN, Blender, Pitchfork, and even Beck including Night Ripper in their _best albums of 2006_ lists, Girl Talk has gone on to be booked by major festivals (Coachella, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Virgin, All Points West, Pitchfork, DEMF, etc.), and solicited for remixes (Beck, Thrill Jockey, Tokyo Police Club, Grizzly Bear, Simian Mobile Disco, Peter Bjorn & John, TeddyBears, and Of Montreal). And with roughly 200 live shows over the last couple of years, Gillis has consistently played larger venues to capacity crowds (every date on his 2007 North American tour with Dan Deacon sold out).
A year after the critically acclaimed Night Ripper release, Gillis quit his job as a biomedical engineer and now focuses on music full time. With his newly acquired lifestyle he can now work on music during the week and fly out to play shows on the weekend. With only a laptop in hand, the Girl Talk live show is more portable than a traditional band and has afforded Gillis the opportunity to travel the world with minimal overhead. A visceral culture of audience involvement has also become key to the live Girl Talk experience. Performances oftentimes feature the stage being mobbed with a sweaty mass of dancers who surround Gillis as he triggers samples and create mixes, new and old, out of loops from his hard drive. Such performances have quickly become one of the most entertaining and exhilarating live shows many have experienced as Girl Talk has the extraordinary ability to get the crowd ecstatic and keep the thrill going for the entire concert.
The new album, Feed the Animals, collects the material that was developed over the last two years as part of Gillis' ever-changing live show. With hours of material in hand, it still took months to meticulously edit together the seamless album that combines 300+ samples in 50 minutes. Such fastidious care is what separates Girl Talk from the dime-a-dozen remixes that are posted to the Internet daily. In comparison to the previous release, Gillis has described this new album as expanded, with a larger range of tempos and samples. Yet, at the same time the focus has shifted from technical prowess to the flow and balance of each segment in an effort to successful translate the over-the-top party feel of the Girl Talk live show into album form.
Before Girl Talk suddenly reached critical acclaim, a typical show would attract 15-30 people. During those initial years it was an extreme oddity for someone to show up with a laptop and play elaborately constructed mixes of pop samples. In the last couple of years, though, not only have Gillis' live shows exploded, but he is also being recognized for his innovations. From Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips nominating him for the Shortlist Music Prize to Representative Mike Doyle speaking about him to Congress (in relation to copyright laws), Gillis has quickly become a public figure. Emerging from his underground Pittsburgh roots, he is now being lauded as the future of electronic music by techno pioneer Richie Hawtin, while celebrities such as Paris Hilton are vying to dance onstage during a Girl Talk show. Gillis modestly takes it all in stride and has stated in interviews that he will eventually go back to a normal job, all the while reveling in the party while it lasts.
While Girl Talk's music is often categorized alongside mashups, or DJ mixes, it is critical to note how distinct his assemblages are from the conventional mixing of two simultaneous tracks. Gillis' roots lie more in the rich history of sample-based compostion as demonstrated by artists such as Dickie Goodman, Negativland, John Oswald, Steinski, Public Enemy (The Bomb Squad era), and countless others. Rather than taking mashups to an extreme, Girl Talk is more focused on the art of the sampling and developing new tracks that have their own character, and surpass the original elements. Such transformative work is what helps qualify his output as being protected by the _fair use_ principle of U.S. Copyright Law.
With his multi-Grammy Award winning music career, continued work in film and television, and multiple written works, Common has emerged as one of Hollywood's most sought after leading men.
His numerous previous accomplishments in film and music include starring on the silver screen in films such as SMOKIN ACES, AMERICAN GANGSTER, WANTED, TERMINATOR SALVATION, DATE NIGHT and JUST WRIGHT. In 2004,... he partnered with Chicago native and rap music mega-star Kanye West to produce the album BE, which went on to garner four Grammy Award nominations. In 2007 COMMON released his critically acclaimed seventh album Finding Forever where it debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart and it went on to earn a Grammy award. His eighth album, Universal Mind Control, was released in 2008 and was nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Rap Album.
COMMON will next be seen starring alongside Ashton Kutcher, Robert De Niro, Halle Berry, Jessica Biel and Hilary Swank in New Line's NEW YEAR'S EVE. Directed by Garry Marshall, this romantic comedy will premiere on December 9th, 2011. Also due out in 2011 is the much anticipated AMC series, "Hell on Wheels." COMMON plays the role of "Elam," a freed slave who comes west in post-Civil War America seeking work on the Transcontinental Railroad. COMMON has also recently finished filming the Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture fantasy film THE ODD LIFE OF TIMOTHY GREEN alongside Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton and Ron Livingston. Next up COMMON is set to start filming alongside Danny Glover and Michael Rainey Jr. in L.U.V. as "Uncle Vincent," a troubled ex-con who finds companionship with his shy 13-year-old nephew.
Prior to acting, COMMON rose to prominence as one of hip hop's most poetic and respected lyricists having recorded over eight albums and garnering multiple Grammy Awards. COMMON'S highly anticipated ninth album, The Believer, The Dreamer, will be released by Warner Bros. Records in November, 2011. The first single from the album, "Ghetto Dreams" featuring Nas, was recently released. The single artwork features a rare photo of Common and Nas from a video shoot in the mid 90's.
COMMON also offers an even younger generation a better understanding of self respect and love, by utilizing the cultural relevance of hip hop in the children's books he has written. His first book, entitled The MIRROR and ME, teaches lessons of life, the human spirit, and human nature. His follow-up book I Like You But I Love Me was nominated for an NAACP Image Award, and in 2008 he released his third book, M.E. (Mixed Emotions). COMMON will soon add to this list of accomplished written works with his revealing memoir, One Day It'll All Make Sense. Every aspect of his life's journey is unveiled in this deeply personal account of who COMMON is and the people, faith and events that have shaped and molded him into the award-winning, critically acclaimed conscious artist of today. This memoir will be on shelves beginning September 13, 2011 from Atria Books.
In addition to his music, film, and literary pursuits, COMMON has been the face, voice and inspiration behind some of the largest consumer brands in the country. COMMON was the voice of Gatorade's G Series Sports Drink commercial that was launched during Super Bowl 2010. In 2009, he was announced as the face of the new Diesel men's fragrance Only the Brave and he partnered with Microsoft as the inspiration and one of the designers to launch their Softwear clothing t-shirt line.
COMMON is a regularly requested guest speaker known to motivate and empower collegiate minds while speaking at prestigious universities across the country. In 2000, he launched the Common Ground Foundation, whose mission is dedicated to the empowerment and development of disadvantaged youth in urban communities by mentoring in three areas: character development, creative expression and healthy living.
Whether inspiring audiences through music, movies, television, books or his foundation, COMMON continues to break new ground, and remains to be one of hip-hop's most innovative, positive voices.
The Kansas City rap king has sold more than 500,000 albums independently, performed in front of more than half a million people in the last three years and established himself as one of underground rap's most respected artists. With the impending release of his third national album, the monumental Everready (The Religion), Tech N9ne is poised to graduate from one of rap's best-kept secrets to a major international superstar.
After experiencing a number of professional setbacks while promoting his critically acclaimed Anghellic and Absolute Power albums, Tech N9ne felt that Everready (The Religion) was an affirmation of his staying power. "I wanted to name it Everready because if you look at the old Eveready batteries, their logo included nine lives," Tech explains. "That album title symbolizes nine lives, another life after death. I've had a lot of deaths in the music industry and there's still life after all that. The Religion, the reason I subtitled it that is because I want this album to be something that's being studied or praised. It's like calling it a doctrine."
Such a mandate is a natural conclusion after listening to Everready (The Religion). The album teams with blockbuster songs and stellar production. "Jellysickle," for instance, features Bay Area rap legend E-40 and a thumping, addictive club-ready beat from superproducer Rick Rock (Jay-Z, Fabolous). Despite the track's freshness, it made Tech N9ne think back to his early material.
"It reminded me of an old Tech N9ne, like 'Mitch Bade,'" he reveals. "It's like a 2006 'Mitch Bade,' so I had to talk about the same thing: jealous people, stupid people. Kansas City is a place where hatred is at an all-time high. I thought it would capture that persona of the ghetto."
As Tech N9ne has emerged as one of rap's most innovative, creatively fearless artists, there has been a segment of his fans who feel that he's abandoned his hardcore background. Tech addresses the situation on the aggressive yet elegantly produced "Come Gangsta." "After all these years of people telling me that my music was for white people, that I needed to come with gangster stuff," Tech says. "Music is supposed to inspire and evolve. Andre 3000 isn't still doing 'Player's Ball.' He evolved. That was always on my mind, that people were always telling me to come gangster. When it comes to it, my one gangster song can demolish their whole CD. I was inspired to write about the type of people that were telling me to come gangster."
Tech N9ne delivers more high-energy heat on "Welcome To The Midwest" with Big Krizz Kaliko. He continues his harder edge on the macabre "My World," with Brotha Lynch Hung, and the warped "In My Head." On these two tunes he raps about mad and sad topics, things that pain him. He expresses a similar sentiment on "The Rain," a touching ode to his wife and children. Much like Tech N9ne's classic "This Ring," "The Rain" features Tech N9ne giving his fans an intimate look into his life and his career, a look made all the more personal because the song features his two daughters rapping about how much they miss their father.
"Any man with a kid that's on the road a lot can relate to that, whether you're a musician, a doctor, a director," Tech explains. "A lot of people are not to be there for their family in the flesh, and they're hurting because they miss their loved ones."
People of all backgrounds can also relate to friction in their relationships. Tech N9ne conceptualized the riveting "My Wife, My Bitch, My Girl" during a low point in his marriage. "At the time I wrote that song, me and my wife were doing really bad," he reveals. "I wrote that song in my bitter stage, when I was saying whatever I wanted to say. '(My wife) don't like me/(My bitch) gets hyphy/(My girl) might knife me twice just to spite me.' That's how I had the balls to write it. I didn't care anymore. I just wanted to release it."
Tech N9ne then talks about his breast fetish on the sinister "Flash" and about his crew's road adventures on the heavy "Groupie." But touring hasn't been all fun and games for Tech N9ne. On the rock-influenced "Riot Maker," he details some of the problems he's had while trying to perform for his fans. "At the time, we were going through a lot of things," Tech says. "I wasn't able to go to Hawaii because the promoters said my music incites riots. At the same time, this girl was trying to sue me for $100,000 for cracking her own skull at my show and I wasn't even in the building yet."
An explosive recording artist, Tech N9ne has long earned praise from his fans because of his ability to deliver mind-blowing raps about his struggle to navigate through life's pitfalls. His willingness to shed his ego and allow his followers to look at the high and low points of his experience has earned Tech N9ne a rabid, dedicated following.
"A lot of people when they come up to me, they say, 'The reason why I like you Tech is that you say what you feel and you're not afraid to say anything,'" Tech says. "That's so tight because so many use discretion. I think I've inspired people to say what they feel because I've opened my life up for people to see."
With such powerful music, it should come as no surprise that Tech N9ne's reach continues expanding. Several of his songs are featured in the forthcoming Alpha Dog film, which stars Justin Timberlake and Sharon Stone. His music also appears on the latest edition of the fan favorite Madden NFL video game series, as well as the action video game 25 to Life. He also appears as a playable character on the latter.
But for now, it is all about indoctrinating his fans to Everready (The Religion). "This is Anghellic, Absolute Power combined," Tech says. "If I could have titled this album One Big Clusterfuck, I would have because I think it has everything. It has the personal stuff Anghellic had or the party stuff that Absolute Power had. I think this is my best work." Believe it.
Bone Thugs-n-Harmony is an American hip hop group from the Glenville section of Cleveland, Ohio. They are best known for their fast-paced rapping style and harmonizing vocals. In 1997, the group was awarded the Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance with their song "Tha Crossroads". Since its conception in the early 1990s the group has been honored with numerous other awards. Bone Thugs are also the only artist to do acts with Eazy-E, 2Pac, Notorious B.I.G., and Big Pun. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony are also recognized as one of the most successful hip-hop groups selling 50 million records.
Tyler The Creator
At the tender age 20, Tyler, the Creator has already turned the music industry on its head, reignited the nation's hunger for hell-raising rap, directed a handful of widely acclaimed music videos, launched his own clothing line, and realized a childhood dream of starring in his own sketch comedy show on Adult Swim. And all this in the span of about 18 months. Growing up in South L.A., Tyler attended 12 different schools over the span of 12 years, his boundless charisma and creativity making him an odd fit for formal spaces. Along the way, he accrued a motley crew of tight-knit friends equally driven to forge their own path. With Tyler at their helm, they became Odd Future, an army of music misfits, skate rats, shutterbugs, and weirdos who've been dubbed their generation's Wu-Tang Clan. To give his friends something to call their own, Tyler founded a record label whose every move is followed by zealous fans, drooling critics, and muckraking media hungry for controversy. With a Best New Artist VMA freshly under his belt, his Loiter Squad show premiering in March, and a handful of eagerly anticipated albums on the horizon, the mischievous, affable auteur is posed to inherit the earth. Or quite possibly, destroy it while trying.
Widely known for his critically acclaimed mixtapes, Wale fuses DC's homegrown go-go genre with a streetwise Northern hip-hop sensibility and his lyrical dexterity. Download his latest, Foloarin at www.walemusic.com. After signing with Rick Ross' Maybach Music Group, Wale released his sophomore album, "Ambition," which debuted at #1 on iTunes, #1 on the billboard hip-hop chart, and #2 on the pop charts. Wale wrapped up his Ambition Tour late 2011, selling out shows in over 40 cities nationwide. His new album on Warner/MMG is due this Spring 2013.
As a youngster, Brooklyn MC Joey BadA$$ was baffled by Nas' 1994 classic Illmatic. The iconic album cover featured a childhood photo of the then 20-year-old God's Son. "I seen him as a kid and I thought he was a kid rapping, I was just confused," Joey told Mixtape Daily. After all, how can a kid that young deliver such impactful and insightful records like "Life's a Bitch" and "The World Is Yours"?
Somewhere along the way, Joey's initial confusion must have led to some sort of inspiration, because at 17 years old, he has already delivered a single that seems to surpass the subject matter of other spitters in his age bracket. The militant-minded "Survival Tactics," borrows its instrumental from the 1998 Styles of Beyond song of the same name.
With his goal to be the "most versatile musician to ever do it" 22-year-old Maryland native Logic's meteoric rise is driven by a massive nationwide fan base. As a self-proclaimed "compulsive perfectionist," Logic has been honing his craft since the age of 16. Initially his career blossomed after releasing his first project "Young, Broke, and Infamous." Quickly gaining recognition in his local area he was able to grab the attention of a few tastemakers. Soon after Logic inked a deal with independent record label Visionary Music Group. With a strategic marketing plan in place Logic was able to reach a much broader audience with his second project, "Young Sinatra." Soon after its release Logic was able to gain respect nationally within the hip hop community as his memorizing lyrical ability demanded an audiences attention. In April 2012 Logic released "Young Sinatra: Undeniable" under VMG, his third project which amassed 60,000 downloads in the first 24 hours. To date the free album has well over 400,000 downloads. Undeniable, propelled the young artist into the spotlight breaking through with a massive online presence. His now worldwide fan base has pushed the young rapper into the forefront of hip hop. In July 2012 Logic was successfully able to headline a sold out 25 city national tour.
Mimosa has made a distinct mark on the west coast sound in the past two years and has become one of the top west coast exports. This young producers energy whilst performing is magnetic; the word has spread fast and Mimosa has recently shared the stage with the likes of Benga, Skream, Rusko, Datsik, Glitch Mob, Pretty Lights, Bassnectar and Flying Lotus, playing shows across the US and festivals like Coachella, Symbiosis Gathering, Burning Man and Decibel Festival. Fans know Mimosa as someone who brings a good-time energy that is as fierce as it is friendly, taking them on journeys through urban chaos and ecstasy.
Mimosa's production expertise has been in high demand and collaborations with Marines Parade's Panty Raid have been featured on Mary Anne Hobbs BBC radio show. His track "Lights In The Night" composed with Sleepyhead as 'Sexytime' was also featured on the Symbiosis Gathering 2009 Compilation along with artists like Eskmo and Beats Antique, among others. His past two releases "Flux For Life" & "Hostilis" have shown an ability to move effortlessly between Dubstep, Glitch Hop and Experimental Hip Hop.
Mimosa has been releasing on San Francisco's premiere dubstep and glitch centric label Muti Music for the past three years and will be touring extensively throughout the fall with MartyParty and Two Fresh to promote his forthcoming release "Silver Lining".
Doug E. Fresh
Douglas E. Davis, better known by the stage name Doug E. Fresh, is an American rapper, record producer, and beat boxer, also known as "the Human Beat Box". One of the early pioneers of beatboxing, Fresh is able to accurately imitate drum machines and various special effects using only his mouth, throat and a microphone.
Arian Asllani (born 2 December 1984), better known by his stage name Action Bronson, is an American rapper from Flushing, Queens, New York.
Before entering the rap scene he was a respected fire-flame gourmet chef in New York City, and frequently raps about food in his songs. He hosts his own online cooking show entitled "Action in the Kitchen". He has gained notoriety for lyrically and stylistically resembling rapper Ghostface Killah (with whom he collaborated, along with friend and fellow rapper Termanology, on a song called "Meteor Hammer" from the 2011 compilation album Legendary Weapons). In an interview with HipHopDX, he was asked about how it was to sound like him, and he responded with,
"Yeah, I mean at the end of the day, it's all good because Ghostface Killah is one of the best rappers alive, so if I sound similar to the best rapper alive then that is fine. To me there is no comparison; he is a legend and I am a newcomer. If I would try and emulate with anyone it would be Kool G Rap, he is the person I look up to the most. I am not upset but at the end of the day I am my own person and no one can take that away from me."
He released his debut studio album Dr. Lecter in 2011, which is available in digital download and also in CD-R on his official website. Action Bronson is an atheist, which he revealed in the song "Not Enough Words" (lyrics: "ask to swear to God, but in that I don't believe though"), from Action Bronson's collaboration album with Statik Selektah, Well Done.
He was recently featured twice on Domo Genesis's & The Alchemist's debut collaboration album No Idols on tracks "Elimination Chamber (also featuring Earl Sweatshirt & Vince Staples) & "Daily News" (also featuring SpaceGhostPurrp & Earl Sweatshirt).
Dominic Hunn (born August 22, 1984), better known by his stage name Dom Kennedy, is an American rapper from Leimert Park, Los Angeles, California. Since 2008, Kennedy has released 5 Independent record label mixtapes, most notably his 2010 "critically acclaimed mixtape" From the Westside with Love. His first commercial studio album From the Westside with Love II was released on iTunes June 28, 2011. Despite it being his iTunes debut, FTWSWL2 received "a top 10 spot on Hip Hop/Rap albums chart during its release week" and was Kennedy's first album associated with The OpM Company, Kennedy's self established record label.
Imagine Kanye West being born and raised in Meridian, Mississippi. Now imagine him being produced by Organized Noize. That imagery would create music almost identical to the Crooked Letter state’s next hip-hop heavyweight, Big K.R.IT (King remembered in time). The 24-year-old rapper slash producer defied the odds of both his personal life and hip-hop’s current landscape to be the most in-demand and respected rookie on the Cinematic Music Group/Def Jam Records roster.
Rapping since twelve-years-old and producing from age 14, KRIT personifies the term Student of the Game. Being a product of one of the smallest cities below the Mason Dixon line the young MC didn’t have the financial means required to purchase tracks and studio time. So K.R.I.T took a much more economical approach and began mastering the MTV Music Generator on his Playstation. Wanting to elevate his sonic craft he then studied local friends who were a bit more advanced in certain areas of production, or sit for hours and watch an engineer homie mix a song.
On the lyrical side, Big K.R.I.T kept an ear bent to the cadence and profound pronunciation of great orators like the Notorious B.I.G, Tupac and Pimp C. The Mississippi eagle also bathed in the classic compositions of legendary teams like OutKast and 8ball and MJG. “These guys influenced me because they rapped about what they knew about and they kept it 100,” says K.R.I.T. “Even like an Organized Noize––they stayed true to what they did and branded a sound. So they influenced me to stay true to myself and rap about what I know about.”
Instead of making the mistake many a young artist in search of an identity commit––becoming a Xerox copy of their influences–– K.R.I.T developed his own sound. That he was raised on his parents’ soul music (Bobby Womack, Willie Hutch) explains why his production comes rich with rolling percussion, smooth yet potent baselines and keys that are sugar cane sweet. It’s homemade molasses in stereo.
With a perfect self-produced score as the backdrop, K.R.I.T uses a fluid and personable flow to captivatingly give his own Merridian, Mississippi narrative, complete with entertaining quips, steely confidence and food for thought. During a time when southern MCs succeed by hanging their hat on their drug dealing history or street lord affiliation, whether authentic or fictitious, K.R.I.T.’s true-to-self approach is a courageous one. “People wanna hear relatable music––something not so far from their every day,” he says, before adding. “A lot of times people get caught up in making a hit and it isn’t timeless because it doesn’t serve a purpose. If I have a voice and the opportunity to speak to millions of people I at least have to say something important.”
The Big K.R.I.T. formula was not only pure it was undeniable. His underground ascendance began in 2005 when an Atlanta DJ placed his song “We Gon’ Hate” on their mixtape without request. Feeling validated K.R.I.T decided to put 100% into upgrading his music dreams to reality. The next year he would drop out of Meridian Community College and move to Atlanta. In the peach state, K.R.I.T. would get a crash course in industry biz. Whether it was selling discounted beats to local artists, engineering their sessions and/or mixing their songs–––being that he was talented at more than just beat making––K.R.I.T did it to make ends meet.
After a few years of releasing underground music K.R.I.T.’s music started to catch peoples attention, allowing him to entertain the countless music execs and managers who expressed interest in him throughout his years in Atlanta’s underground. One of those interested was Jon “Shipes” Shapiro, head of Cinematic Music Group (Sean Kingston, Nipsey Hussle). The two agreed on a deal in January 2010 and set forth to turn B.K into the next hip-hop superstar. According to Shipes K.R.I.T.’s palpability makes his market potential a no-brainer: “In real life he’s just a kid from a small town whose music is phenomenal.”
K.R.I.T. then went to work on his Cinematic Music Group debut, the street album K.R.I.T. Wuz Here. The underground opus that birthed gems like the trunk rattler “Country Shit,” poignant “Children of The World” and irresistible Devin The Dude assisted “Moon & Stars” snatched the attention of many hip-hop heads; none more important than former 50 Cent manager and G-Unit Records President Sha Money XL. Upon receiving an early preview of K.R.I.T. Wuz Here, Sha was “blown away.” So once the veteran exec landed a position at Def Jam as Senior VP of A&R last April he made sure his first signee was K.R.I.T. Though at the time the Mississippi gem’s John Hancock was also being sought aggressively by other labels, K.R.I.T. chose the exec with the most enthusiasm for his music. “Sha just kept saying ‘I love this! I believe in it,’” tells K.R.I.T. “He was just so adamant about it.”
Now, the rap game has received a breath of country fresh air: an artist that insists on remaining an individual and feeding his growing audience with feel-good rhythms and “rhymes with morals.” Big K.R.I.T. is in fact The Truth. Within a month of acquiring his deal he was not only critically acclaimed and courted for interviews by media giants like XXL, The Source, Rapradar.com and MTV.com, he gained fans in his own peer group––from buzzing newbies (Wiz Khalifa, Currensy and Smoke Dza) to living legends (Ludacris, Bun B). Today whether its hip-hop lovers in the skyscraping offices of Def Jam or those in the small town of Meridian, MS, they’re all feeling the synergy being churned by the birth of rap’s next royalty. So until Mr. King Remembered In Time releases his 2011 Def Jam debut all hip-hop can do is witness a reign on the rise.
As hip-hop culture (DJing, MCing, b-boying, graffiti art and beatboxing) evolved in the late 1970s and early 1980s, two things were hallmarks of the movement: DJing and lyrical excellence. In the last several years, no rap group has done more to champion those elements than Dilated Peoples. The Los Angeles-based trio of Rakaa, Evidence and DJ Babu inject their music with humor, insight and social commentary, and DJ Babu's cuts add an additional layer of excitement and complexity to the group's material.
The trio's first three albums -- 2000's The Platform, 2001's Expansion Team and 2004's Neighborhood Watch -- are hailed as exemplary examples of quality hip-hop. So after enjoying the biggest radio and television exposure of its career with the 2004 hit "This Way", produced by and featuring Kanye West, Dilated Peoples wanted to make a point that they had a clear vision for their music, hence the 20/20 title for their new album.
"We've done a lot of experimentation, worked with a lot of different people and tried a lot of different things", Rakaa explains. "With this record, we wanted to really get back to a real, uncut pure vision and get back to the pure, boom-bap sound that really made us all get together as people and want to make music together."
Lead single "Back Again" perfectly illustrates this point. With DJ Babu (also a member of the World Famous Beat Junkies) accenting the thumping cut with his precision scratching, Evidence and Rakaa update their fans on their musical agenda and highlight their dedication to the art of rhyme. "Don't worry if I write checks, I write rhymes", Evidence says on the cut, playing off a famous line from Diddy. Evidence felt it was important to draw attention to lyricism with the group's first single. "In today's rap game, people are worried about whether or not I'm making money, but its not glorified that I'm writing my own rhymes or making my vision clear, he explains. I just felt it was a bold statement and needed to be said."
On "Alarm Clock Music", the crew gets off equally thought-provoking rhymes over a powerful, keyboard and scratch-propelled beat. "We named the song ‘Alarm Clock Music' because it is supposed to wake people up", Rakaa says. "We wanted the beat and those cuts to come across like that. Lyrically, the third verse in particular had to do with conflict, whether it's on the block or nation to nation. It doesn't matter if it's across the street or across the world because they're very closely related. The song itself is a wake-up call.".
Then, on the soulful "You Cant Hide, You Cant Run", the group raps about making the best of a bad situation. "Life is going to come at you regardless", Rakaa says. "It doesn't mean you can't flip lemons to lemonade and lemonade to Minute Made. You can make the best of a bad situation and I think its more necessary than ever. There's no shortage of nonsense coming at you because it's a crazy world right now."
Dilated Peoples then gets aggressive on the confrontational "Kindness For Weakness" and then team with reggae king Capleton on the pounding, politically charged "Firepower (The Tables Have To Turn)". "Firepower…" is especially important to the group because of reggaes link to hip-hop. "I've always got to give respect to Jamaica and to reggae music for creating Kool Herc and ultimately creating hip-hop", Rakaa says. "Without reggae music, there is no hip-hop." Elsewhere, Evidence highlights his lyrical acuity on the lyrically intense "Another Sound Mission" and DJ Babu showcases his superior turntable and production skills on the scratch-heavy "The One And Only".
Like the rest of the album, the music on "The One And Only" explodes out of the speakers. The beats from Alchemist (Mobb Deep), Evidence (Beastie Boys, Linkin Park), Joey Chavez and Bravo, and DJ Babu (Dilated Junkies) are among the most forceful of Dilated Peoples career. The group made a point to feature intense production on 20/20, something that makes the album an exciting aural experience that will translate well to the groups highly regarded stage shows. "We said to ourselves, the energy levels have to be up", DJ Babu explains. "A big part of our group is performance. Another way of looking at the songs that we make for the record is things that were adding to our live show. That's another side of us that fans really love us for, having music that translates well onto stage. Rakaa put it well when said, a lot times when were in the studio we try to capture the energy that happens on stage."
Indeed, Capitol Records signed Dilated Peoples in part because of their live show, which is among the best in hip-hop. After the success of the 1997 single "Third Degree" b/w "Confidence" and "Global Dynamics" and the addition of DJ Babu to the fold a year later, Dilated became a fixture on the tour circuit. Their shows, typified by brilliant tag-team rhyming between Rakaa and Evidence and turntable supremacy from DJ Babu, demonstrated that hip-hop shows could be entertaining and prominently feature a DJ.
"We're one of the groups responsible for helping correct one of the most serious rap wrongs, which is the DJ being regulated to a stage prop", Rakaa says. "We make sure that Babu is up there with us and gets the equal shine because the DJ is the backbone of the culture and he's the backbone of our group, too."
Once signed to Capitol Records, Dilated Peoples built upon their momentum by delivering stellar hip-hop music, including the meditative "Worst Comes To Worst" from 2001's Expansion Team and the inspirational "This Way" from 2004's Neighborhood Watch. Cognizant that their music should stand the test of time as individual songs as well as when put together for an album, Dilated Peoples returned to their roots to make 20/20, their most focused work to date.
"20/20, the whole album was made on a 12 mentality", Evidence says. "We weren't worried about the whole album, how it was going to connect and if we had two love songs and one party song. We just banged it out. We put the record together two or three days before the end of it. We didn't sit and ride with it. We had it and knew where we were going, but it was more about the individual tunes. There was no questioning ourselves. It was just about making music."
Music with a 20/20 vision.
Forged from a history of hardship and partying, Prof's music and career reflect the dichotomy that his life has been. His music chronicles everything he has experienced; from adversities as a child, like his father setting fire to their home or sleeping on a bean bag growing up, to his adult diversions, like his love affair with whiskey and women (in that order). Much the same, his career has also seen this duality. After grinding on the Minneapolis hip-hop scene for over ten years with little to show besides a ravenous fan base, Prof has recently begun to make serious national traction on the back of his unique recordings, video content and must see live shows.
Frequently billed with rap mainstays like Atmosphere, Yelawolf, Tech N9ne, POS, Brother Ali, Doomtree and Killer Mike, Prof has shown his talent can hang with the best. This talent has been well documented by his critically acclaimed Kaiser Von Powderhorn mixtape series, three full length albums, recordings with Brother Ali, Slug and Yelawolf, and a guest appearance on the Atmosphere track "Minnesota Nice".
Prof's most 2011 LP King Gampo is proof that he's only getting better. Thanks to help from friends like Brother Ali, Ant of Atmosphere, and MTV Riff Raff (SODMG), King Gampo expands upon Prof's previous works detailing his worst memories and best parties, making sure the listener bobs their head and shakes their ass the entire time. To support the record, Prof joined Atmosphere and Grieves on national tours in fall of 2011, headlined sold-out King Gampo Tour dates in February 2012, and was Andre Nickatina's direct supporting artist during his national tour in the Spring of 2012.
Currently, Prof is set to release new Kaiser Von Powderhorn 3, the third volume of his widely popular, Kaiser Von Powderhorn mixtape series with features by Yelawolf, Slug and guest production from Doomtree's, Lazerbeak out September 25, 2012.
Rappers have been rhyming about hustling, living in the ghetto and the perils of street life since the dawn of Hip Hop. But what distinguishes Freeway, is his unique approach to tackling these subjects. Freeway neither boastfully brags about his days hustling on the crime-ridden street corners of North Philly, nor does he dogmatically preach at his listeners while lecturing them to live righteously. Instead, his lyrics are laced with ghetto-weary "been there, done that" sentiment that implies there is life beyond the block.
After a pact made with fellow Philly native Beanie Sigel,Freeway was brought to Roc-A-Fella records where he made his recording debut on "1-900-Hustler" from Jay-Z's multi-platinum The Dynasty: Roc La Familia CD. Shortly after its release, Freeway's North Philly ways caught up with him and he found himself serving a six-month jail sentence for possession of illegal narcotics with intent to deliver. Faced with the realities of street life,Freeway thankfully opted to put all his efforts into his music.
In 2003 Freeway released his debut album Philadelphia Freeway, solidifying him as a force to be reckoned with amongst the other stars of the Roc. After achieving gold status (selling over 500,000 units),Freeway played an instrumental role in establishing he and Beans' Philly crew State Property. It seemed as though Freeway was on an unstoppable roll. But as life teaches us all good things must come to an end...and the next four years found State Property head Beanie Sigel convicted of federal weapons charges, group turmoil and most importantly the historic breakup of the Roc-A-Fella dynasty of Jay-Z and Dame Dash.
With all the chaos, Freeway, a devout Muslim, accepted an opportunity to travel to the holy city of Mecca on Hajj (a journey required by every Muslim at least once in his or her lifetime if he or she is able to). Upon his return,Freeway recorded his long-awaited sophomore release, Free at Last. Uncertain about his standing amongst all the label drama, Freeway found a new ally with Hip Hop heavyweight 50 Cent and a deal was brokered to have Jay-Z and 50 Cent co-executive produce the album. While both were featured on the record, the project ended up solely a Roc-A-Fella release, with 50 giving up his co-executive producer's role. Released in 2007, Free at Last was a moderate success but unfortunately lacked the label focus and attention of his debut release.
In 2008, Freeway would reconnect with producer Jake One (who produced on his sophomore outing, Free at Last) to record two tracks for his Rhymesayers debut, White Van Music. The sessions not only resulted in two of the album's highlights, including the classic collaboration with Brother Ali called "The Truth", but numerous additional songs that showed a real connection between the G-Unit beatsmith and Freeway. This chemistry between Freeway and Jake One would birth Freeway latest sonic release,The Stimulus Package which released February, 2010 on Rhymesayers Entertainment. Freeway's latest project Freedom of Speech is on the way.
Born Daniel Sewell on March 16, 1981, Danny Brown is a hip hop artist from the Dexter-Linwood area of Detroit, Michigan.
Danny is an unconventional hip hop artist employing multiple flows and cadences thus the moniker of "The Hybrid". His style varies from low pitched gravely tones to a manic, high pitched, squawk.
His lyrics, often dealing with the truth of living in Detroit; poverty, drug abuse, desperate circumstances, etc and his own experiences in the motor city, from selling drugs to underground parties in Detroit's rave scene juxtaposing those topics with a humorous narrative told ferociously over avant guarde production choices.
Danny has released many free projects over the web with the most popular being 2010's "The Hybrid,".Brown has also released an album, "Hawaiian Snow", with G-Unit's Tony Yayo, and several mixtapes (Detroit State of Mind 1-4, Browntown, It's A Art (With producer Mainframe) and Hot Soup). Brown has found much success on the internet through the support of the music blogs and social media and the decision to release "The Hybrid" online for free download.
Danny has worked with many artists in the Detroit hip hop community such as the late J Dilla, Black Milk, Elzhi, Guilty Simpson, Trick Trick, and T3. Also known as a champion of up and coming artits, Danny has worked with lesser known acts such as Oakland, California's Main Attraktionz and promoting these types of underground acts via his twitter.
Brown spent most of the summer of 2010 touring with G-Unit, and a few months later released "Hawaiian Snow" with Tony Yayo. Due to lack of promotion the sales were disappointing, however through the G-Unit connection Brown was able to experience firsthand the rigors of touring and the workings of the music industry as a whole. The experience served to jade Danny to the concepts of being on a major label and committing himself to appealing to an urban audience who he felt rejected him because of his look and style of dress which consisted of skinny jeans and vintage tees as 50 Cent refused to sign Danny Brown to G-Unit because he didn't approve of his distaste for baggy denim. No longer concentrating on appealing to any particular audience, With this new found freedom, Danny delved into making more experimental music based on influences like UK Grime and Progressive Rock.
His experimental sound melded with traditional street narrative has brought about attention from progressive press such as Pitchfork.com, Fader Magazine, Spin Magazine and the like but no press more satisfying than making the cover of the Detroit Metro Times, his hometown's alternative art's and culture magazine.
Danny's music later found a home on Fool's Gold Records, the independent label helmed by internationally heralded DJ A-Trak and his partner Nick Catchdubs. The label and the artist having the same mindset, the two parties are now focused on releasing his upcoming projects, a free album coming Summer 2011 entitled "XXX" and his untitled Fool's Gold records debut coming subsequently after.
It would probably be easier if we told you what Hopsin doesn't do, but Hop is an MC, producer, director, actor, and editor. And his journey has been anything but painless.
Like many kids, Hopsin wanted to be "cool". But as hard as he tried, he never graduated past being that "weird black kid" that rode around on a skateboard. He tried to get attention by making people laugh, but he always ended up being the butt of the joke. He wrote songs for girls to get them to like him, but got no love.
Stuck in special education classes, Hopsin did not see much of a future. His teachers did nothing but reinforce the feelings that he wouldn't amount to anything; especially if he continued to waste his time attending classes where nothing was actually being taught. So with no money and only a few real friends, Hopsin dropped out of school in 2004.
Despite the lack of support from anyone but himself, Hopsin knew that his raw talent to rhyme would one day allow him to spit in the face of all of his critics. In the meantime, however, he had to find a way to make money. He thought his goofiness would translate to an acting career so he auditioned for several roles. The only role that he was ever able to obtain was as a "day player" on Disney's That's So Raven. He thought things were looking up from there, but nothing seemed to come through after that.
Still determined to be one of Southern Cali's premier MCs he bought an $8 microphone from Wal-Mart, installed Fruity Loops on his computer, and locked himself in the basement. Not only did he spend countless hours perfecting his own craft, he also studied the careers of artists to better understand what has made them successful. As time went by he knew that his lyrics and production had surpassed what he was hearing on the radio. He combined his skills with a new image [often seen wearing white contacts] and emerged from the basement as a complete artist. In 2007, Hopsin signed a major record deal with Ruthless Records.
Hopsin gets his inspiration from all types of music, from 50 Cent & Alicia Keyes to the All American Rejects. His creativity and raw energy come from all the people in his life that have told him that he didn't have a future. At times his lyrics can be dark and grimy, but they only reflect all of the negativity that he has had to endure in order to get to where he is today.
Hopsin founded Funk Volume to share his story, spread his message, and display his many talents. He has been on a long journey to hone his skills, and to get comfortable being who he is. Now that he has the confidence there is no one and nothing that can stop him. He has come too far and been through too much. Funk Volume represents what has made Hopsin successful...real pain, real passion, real music.
"You just don't become a leader in one year. You're prepped for it. When you're at your lowest—but you got that faith—that gives you motivation. And when you have that motivation, that's what makes you a leader," says Las Vegas native Dizzy Wright. Beyond his years at 22, Dizzy has been one of the first Sin City rappers to grab the spotlight and carry it across the globe.
"My mom kicked me out when I was 17," Dizzy reveals of the woman who both raised him and managed his career since childhood, "I was thrown out into the world." With a similar story to his inspiration, Tupac Shakur, he took to local clubs to build a network and fan-base by being both skilled and flashy. "I was all about getting people to know my name. I knew the vision, but I didn't know the gesture. You've got to live through this to get an understanding of it." Along the way, Wright says that life taught him to keep a tight circle and to be concerned with how his music sounded in venues just as much as the writing. That dichotomy of substance and swagger has made Dizzy Wright an independent charting sensation with three 2012 releases, SmokeOut Conversations (along with the 200,000 times downloaded promotional mixtape), as well as a follow-up EP, The First Agreement. In turn, the youngest member of Funk Volume has been one of the most active.
Although SmokeOut Conversations could be dismissed as just marijuana music, the inspiration behind the concept is deeply personal to Dizzy. The rapper asserts, "I didn't want people to perceive me as this weed rapper with a weed album." Instead, he admits that a key moment in creating the album came from his first encounter with his father. "I did a show in Detroit with Hopsin, and I got to meet my father for the first time. I was trying to figure out what he was gonna be like. He went to jail a couple months before I was born, and then he got out 20 years later." To buffer the circumstances, Dizzy and his Pops eased tensions with some help. "When I finally met him, all we did was smoke and talk." "We just got to do a lot of catchin' up, lotta talkin', and lotta smokin'." After his father traveled to several dates with the Funk Volume family, Dizzy left the experience with a title and theme for his debut album.
The independent album produced two multimillion-view videos on YouTube, "Solo Dolo" and "Can't Trust Em." Dizzy was specific in giving his expanding base both sides of his repertoire. The first was Dizzy's most personal record, while the second had, what he calls "that now-sound." Both resonated, and the rapper was able to go from "doing shows to doing concerts" in his relentless touring with label-mates. Reflecting, he notes, "I was just testing the waters." Ready to fully jump in, Wright promises of his forthcoming work, "My next album will be the biggest one to date. It'll be the perfect material for the fans, 'cause I understand everything a lot more."
Like his idol, Dizzy Wright embodies a do-for-self journey that's magnetized listeners with his natural charisma. Perhaps with a cloudy chorus or a bassline to make it digestible, he's leading a new charge. "'Pac's passion gives me passion. I don't wanna be just one of these niggas just talkin'." In life and in music, already he's saying much more.
Much is often made of the relationship between artist and place. A common consideration for sure, yet it seems foolish to appraise any artist without considering the effect of his location on everything from his unique worldview to his understanding and use of the various elements that make up his musical vision.
Consider then what it means to make music in the following landscape: a city famed for its fearlessness and endeavor, struck by despair and shuttered. A city in which delicate, perfumed beauty sits aside rancid, mangled poverty. A city wide eyed and weary, at all times both monument and bulldozer, remaining itself through constant "de" and "re"construction.
That city is New York and the band is RATKING. Wiki, Hak and Sporting Life. While many of their peers seem too content to inhabit the safety of mimicry and pastiche, RATKING's music is best understood as neither reenactment nor recreation, but reaction.
To what, one might ask?
Well, a clip from any one of their frenetic live shows provides an immediate answer: you hear the fallout of a bloated and self satisfied hip hop, the nihilist refrain of dead end punk and the prickly reach for connection that befits their noise and experimental influences. Left with the various remaining bits of all these traditions and the bum-rush scramble of modern
life, RATKING are creating a new reality in every moment, just like every other inhabitant of New York City. While Sporting Life weaves a teeming Big Apple backdrop, Wiki and Hak act not only as our mischievous tour guides but dual ends of our own conscious: one sharp witted, vulnerable and seemingly anti-social, the other feral, poetic and almost philosophical. Call it 'no wave' rap. Call it 'no school' hip hop. Call it RATKING.
In 2008, Stalley made his mixtape debut, Goin Ape, with fellow Ohio-native Terry Urban; 2009 followed with the release of the new mixtape MadStalley: The Autobiography, and a newfound reputation as a force on stage. Stalley attended the 2010 Iron Mic Competition in Beijing as the featured MC. He has headlined shows domestically in
Birmingham, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, College Station, Tempe, Oklahoma City, St. Louis, Lowell, Lexington, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Portland, Seattle, Providence, Boston, Chicago, Nashua, Bloomington, Cincinnati, Youngstown, Cleveland, Joliet, Akron, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Baltimore, DC, Greensboro, Winston Salem, Columbus, Rochester, New York City, Miami, and New Orleans, and internationally in Paris, Antwerp, Lisbon, London, Warsaw, Calgary, Ottawa, and London (Canada). He has performed alongside hip hop
heavyweights such as Rick Ross, Drake, Meek Mill, Kendrick Lamar, Big K.R.I.T., Bun B, Curren$y, The Cool Kids, KRS-One,Ghostface Killah, Styles P., Method Man & Redman, Freeway, Camp Lo, Jay Electronica, and Mos Def, and has performed at events such as Rock The Bells, SXSW,
Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival, Montreal Jazzfest, and select dates on the 2011 I Am Still Music Tour.
Stalley has worked with producers Ski Beatz on tracks "Address", "S.T.A.L.L.E.Y.", "Do It Big", "Harsh Ave", Rashad Thomas on album Lincoln Way Nights, and J. Rawls on track "Babblin". He is featured on Curren$y's Universal/Def Jam album Pilot Talk ("Address"), released in June 2010, as well as Ski Beatz's Universal/Def Jam projects 24 Hour Karate School and 24 Hour Karate School, Pt. 2. Stalley is also
featured on the Warner Bros./Maybach Music Group albums MMG Presents: Self Made, Vol 1 and Self Made Vol. 2, Rick Ross's Rich Forever mixtape, and Rick Ross's full length album God Forgives, I Don't. Stalley completed a sports-themed music project commissioned by ESPN in February 2011, for future use in television and online programming.
Stalley's Lincoln Way Nights (February 2011) received 130K+ downloads and reigned at #2 for Bandcamp hip hop releases. Lincoln Way Nights [Re- mastered] (November 2011) debuted #18 on the iTunes Hip Hop Charts and sold 9K+ copies. Savage Journey To The American Dream
(March 2012) reached 100K downloads in the first week, and was featured as the Stereogum Mixtape of the Week and the Spin Rap Release of the Week (7 out of 10). It was graded an XL by XXL Magazine, and HipHopDX awarded it 4 out of 5. The album release party sold out at SOB's in NYC. Stalley is currently recording for his Warner Bros./Maybach Music Group debut solo album.