For 2016, I’m going to try to get at least 2 posts a week, hopefully more. That means more Shots of That 100 Proof vs lengthier pieces. Which makes sense given that I have a hard time writing long pieces for music about which I have little to say. And that’s what is most often released. Hopefully that plan agrees with you. I’m not trying to simply get more “content” online, I want to say what I think about as many things as possible, and not every release deserves 1000+ words.
Stalley is best when talking about cars and/or drinking lean. This has been documented on Honest Cowboy. His ability to do other things was documented on his disappointing album, Ohio, where he ignored his slowed-down roots for the sake of blasé-ass hip-hop. Where I once thought that Ohio was a creative blunder, I not think that label expectations inspired that poor direction, because Stalley is right back to his old tricks on this likely expectation-less mixtape, The Laughing Introvert.
What’s most impressive about The Laughing Introvert is its focus and execution. Stalley only rarely dips into other topical wells, and, sonically, none of these seven songs stand out greatly from the rest. That may sound like a recipe for boredom, but he picked beats that sound similar, not exactly alike, which allows the constant bragging and car talk to feel different enough to keep my interest.
That said, All I Know‘s singing and rhyming make the song very skippable. He’s trying to talk about what drives him to success, and the price he pays for that success, being as an introvert who’d rather not have the world’s eyes on him, but his writing and singing voice just aren’t good enough to keep my interest. And it doesn’t help that this song uses a pretty uninspired beat.
Elsewhere, he reflects on his and others bad decisions on Stop Signs, but other than that, Stalley is back on his smooth shit and I’m ecstatic! The rhymes aren’t spectacular, but no one should have expected them to be. Instead, everything serves the Houston vibe that seems to be Stalley’s passion. Glass Garages is clearly the best song of the tape, with a softly sung sample, a beat that bounces but still manages an easy-going mood, and Stalley waxing on his quietly fly life throughout:
20 acres of land/
one big brick mansion, backyard on sand/
the nerve of them, to ever ask me what I rap for/
I just smile and tell em, garages with the glass doors/
So I guess All I Know establishes Stalley’s introversion, and every other song besides Stop Signs is him laughing at doubters while he enjoys this life that’s he’s worked so hard for. It’s a simple concept that isn’t at all explored deeply, but it still works very well and made for a great listen.
- Glass Garages