Live Review: Stalley – Fitzgerald’s (1/17)
Much has been made about Stalley’s career arc in the past 12 months. At the close of 2011 he still held on to Lincoln Way Nights, one of the year’s best mixtapes thanks to its varied personalities production wise and Stalley’s anecdotal calm over everything. Then Rick Ross snatched him up for an MMG spot, Savage Journey To The American Dream was released and although the Ohio rapper came with a lot more polish and gloss, something was amiss.
Those sentiments didn’t play out last night as the MMG rapper clad in a BAPE hoodie and matching sweats took the stage at Fitzgerald’s after numerous openers including Boss Hogg’s own Le$ who waltzed through a five-song jaunt before exiting. With his blue collar DJ shouting instructions, Stalley took requests from fans, dictated movement by the fan’s energy and mixed in posse cut “Clique” over his tried and true breakthrough single “Slapp” to more than worthy results.
Whether you angle a few things to say towards his career choice, his state presence is there for all to see. He could whip around moments that made LWN‘s “Hercules” seem like superhero theme music and his initial introduction to most on Curren$y & Ski Beatz laid back “Address” smooth. The beard has cosmic powers, some would say – especially considering the special guests he brought through.
Did we expect Scarface in all of his hometown cool to merely grace the stage and feel love so lethargic he couldn’t even rap after hearing “My Block” overhead? Nope. Did we expect Mannie goddamn Fresh to jump on stage and have a quick 10-minute set running through all of his classic laureate moments on wax? Not at all. But that’s the sneaky thing about Stalley, the least publicized member of MMG but possibly one of its gems when you think about it. He closed with arguably his strongest verse of the past year, the Biggie referencing “Ten Jesus Pieces”, thanking us before retreating backstage.
Where Yasiin Bey and Mannie Fresh couldn’t help but congratulate him.
Personal Bias: Lincoln Way Nights was stronger than Savage Journey but the latter must exist to appreciate the former, if that makes any sense.
The Crowd: Thicker than expected.
Random Notebook Dump: Geo Digital Shows are known for their appreciation of underground artists. Diverse as can be but it can be a gift and a curse. The curse? Draining the stamina of fans by having so many.
The gift? We knew Milli Royale after a chance meeting at SF2 and his Diamond In The Rough tape. The second oen was this, a scrawny guy who looked a bit like Lupe Fiasco, rapped with the ferocity of Meek Mill and made those eye bugging facial tics that T.I. is known for absolutely slaughtered a final freestyle paying tribute to the Sandy Hook victims. Sadly, the host for the evening couldn’t give his Twitter handle proper justice.