Stalley – Savage Journey To The American Dream | Mixtape Review

The American Dream has long been something referred to. Whether it’s been theorised, personified or declared as something unachievable, the maxim has become something which will forever remain in America’s society. Whilst the common Hip Hop image of wealth, possessions and women has often been described as “living the American Dream,” Ohio native and Maybach Music-signed rapper Stalley looks beyond that culture to acquire a meaning of the dream.

A thought provoking emcee with somewhat spiritual riches as his desire, Stalley’s climb from unsigned phenomena to the surprise signing of Rick Ross‘ machismo powered group, the rapper has nourished ears with thoughtful verses which were more than prominent on his much praised Lincoln Way Nights project. Savage Journey To The American Dream goes in search of the holy grail for Americans, whilst aiming to maintain the high musical standards which have already been set by his MMG brethren.

For many, Stalley’s affiliation with the Warner Music stable is an ill fit to his socially aware lyrics and from the intro, such questions are justified. “Savage Journey” opens up the mixtape to a collation of soundbytes of different people describing their definition of the American Dream. Stalley then goes into his now lauded trademark of tranquil verses, lyrically declaring his quest to find his own dream.

An ominous opener, the tone of inner frustrations and toils continues on; “Petrin Hill Peonies” paints a picture of the long, winding road to success, with its soulful backdrop adding to the Ohio wordsmith’s tale. The concept of searching for the American Dream follows throughout Savage Journey… as numerous, satirical interludes narrating an actual pursuit of “the dream” follow each track, providing light hearted moments to the sometimes heavy material.

Although ‘conscious’ for the most part, Stalley finds time to indulge in the more simpler aspects of the rap life, toasting to the finer benefits of becoming a recognised name alongside J.E.T.S frontman Curren$y on “Hammers and Vogues” and enjoying the V.I.P lifestyle on “Party Heart” featuring Rick Ross and 2 Chainz.

The ever complicated love life of a rapper/hustler is told on “Love Lane” in a cool, chilled manner with singer Anthony Flammia adding a sublime touch with his silky vocals. Flammia returns for more of the same on “Home To You,” which also features Wale.

Stalley’s easing, controlled flow not only allows him to tell stories but provides him with the suitable tones when rhyming to boast of his credentials. Borrowing a few bars from OutKast‘s Big Boi on “Cold,” the MMG representative proves to be “cooler than a polar bear’s toenails” with some effortless verses; when bouncing along to the Chad Hugo-produced “Everything New” the rapper’s subtle stunting is punctuated with a vibrant bass and sinister piano keys.

Whilst Stalley’s chronicles are the more appealing aspect of Savage Journey… a whole heap of praise has to go to production outfit The Block Beattaz, who provides the score for the majority of the mixtape. Creating wide, atmospheric productions and integrating soul, Hip Hop and even funk to the mix, Stalley’s stories are brought to life.

For many who look to Stalley as an authoritative figure with something to say, his finer material comes when speaking on pressing matters and this is proven correct to some extent. Working alongside Lupe Fiasco‘s long term producer Soundtrakk, “Seen It All” takes a more composed stance to talk about the darker sides of the “appeal” and glamour of the industry.

The intriguing concept and Stalley’s solo performances are so rich and engaging that they somewhat overshadow the anticipation for his collaboration alongside Maybach’s bawse Rick Ross on “Hells Angels (American Heathens).” With the patented Maybach Music signature and heavy bass, the pair trade rhymes of being ready to take on all pretenders to their throne – but it sounds like a track which could have been put on the collaborative Maybach project instead.

Whilst the pursuit of the American Dream remains inconclusive by the end of the mixtape, Stalley’s 2012 release displays the quest for the said goal in numerous passionate, aggressive and philosophical performances throughout 14 tracks. Stalley also shows his relevance and justified reasoning for signing for the Maybach blueprint, riding comfortably on the champagne-like productions and relentlessly tearing into tracks which carry a sharper edge.

Far away from the more shallow offerings of other rhymers, Stalley’s audio questioning of the pursuit of happiness is a well played out experience, playing not only the role of teacher to listeners but also adopting the student position, acknowledging mistakes, turning points and more – which will undoubtedly put Ohio’s emerging talent on the road to greater success.

DOWNLOAD: Stalley – Savage Journey To The American Dream

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