New rapper Stalley may've just hit the mainstream's radar but his roots reach back into the 1990s.
The Ohio native says one half of the hip-hop duo Black Star kept him inspired as a kid.
"The people I looked up to growing up was Nas, Mos Def, Common, 50, Ice Cube, Scarface, Outkast, Snoop," said Stalley, born Kyle Myricks, during an interview with website This Is 50. "I admired a lot of those guys."
And on an idle day in the Big Apple, the young MC got a chance to meet his idol.
"I recorded six tracks and took the CD to a store in New York called Prohibit," recalled Stalley. "We played it and it just so happened that Mos Def walked into the store. He asked about the music and the guys told him it was me. He took a genuine liking to the music and me and asked 'What do you plan on doing with this?' I said 'I just got this a half an hour ago and I brought it here. I don't know, but any advice you could give me would be great.' "
"He gave me his info and we kept in touch," Stalley continued. "Then I bumped into him at Dame Dash's spot DD172 and we got to do a couple tracks together. He's definitely someone who's been a big part of my career and making me stay doing music."
Stalley recently released his "Lincoln Way Nights" mixture via the independent label Intelligent Trunk Music. His single "Slapp" has received quite a bit of attention, and he's also performed on BET's Music Matters.
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