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Although the weather wasn’t the best in Lower East Side, New York, that didn’t deter fans from patiently waiting to see the newly reinvented man that goes by the name of Stalley at his album listening party. As soon as the Ohio native walked through the door, he was immediately in awe of the crowd standing in front of him. Before starting his listening party, the 37-year-old took a moment to acknowledge the energy in the room.

Prior to playing his new album, Reflection Of Self: The Head Trip, Stalley admitted that he has a completely different outlook on life. Part of that reason was credited toward his recent trip to Africa and the other half was due to becoming independent.

“I’ve always wanted to feel free and make music without the feeling of being judged,” the former MMG signee said during an interview with REVOLT TV. “Now, I can write a song, put it out and give it to my fans. Freedom equals a free pen.”

While his latest material blasted through the speakers, many fans acknowledged that the Blue Collar Gang artist spoke the truth on his LP. Although Stalley argued that he’s never had an issue with identity, he revealed that it took a while for him to openly share his story.

“It’s not that I didn’t know myself because I definitely know myself,” he began. “It was more of trying to write for a bigger audience instead of just talking to the people who have been there [from the start] and supported me. I learned from that and grew from that.”

The album, which features nine tracks, tackles topics of inner demons, everyday problems in the outside world and more. Although some might shy away from speaking on issues so close to home, Stalley is ready to have that conversation.

“When you grow up and you’re a person of color, you’re always taught to be tough, never show your weaknesses, men don’t cry and there are so many things. You bottle up those things for so long because you feel like you’re going to be judged,” he admitted.

Growing up in the streets of Ohio, Stalley found comfort in knowing that he had a story to share. When he’s not busy working on his music, the rapper is searching for inspiration whether it’s in the form of a book, a movie or a conversation.

Understandably, serving as an inspiration and putting on for his city has always been the main goal for Stalley, which is why he took his late friend Nipsey Hussle’s death to heart. Nipsey, a prominent member in his community, was known for giving back to his hood, but also staying true to who he was as a person.

When asked to describe some of their best moments together, Stalley relayed that there’s too many to box them in. “His spirit was what everybody said and what everybody sees,” he said with a smile while speaking on Neighborhood Nip. “He was a great human being and someone who was always uplifting and empowering. He was always himself no matter what. Every time you saw him, it was the same person. He never changed. I love him to death.”

Admirably, Stalley detailed a few of his last encounters with The Victory Lap spitter. “We have a record together called ‘What It Be Like’ and every time that I saw him, he would be like, ‘Yo, that’s my favorite record. We have to do part two.’ I would always say, ‘We’re going to do it.’ But, obviously, you know. There’s not a day that doesn’t go by that I don’t think about him. I always see him online. I just feel sorry for his family and children.”

Moving forward, Stalley wants to continue making music that is courageous, which is why it comes as no surprise that he cited Frank Ocean as his dream collaboration. “Frank Ocean, to me, is an incredible artist and I love his songs, songwriting, production and bravery. I don’t compare a lot of artists to the top tier artists like Marvin Gaye and others, but he’s that for our generation,” he said confidently.

For his next chapter, the artist is hopeful that he’ll continue to master peace. After recently celebrating another year of life, Stalley’s main goal is to grow closer to fans who have supported him along his unforgettable and rewarding journey.

“I hope my fans get closer to me. I hope they sit with the album and pay attention to what I’m saying. The second half of the title is called The Head Trip. It’s really taking you on a trip through my head from start to finish. It’s very present of Stalley right now and everything that I’m feeling. I’m hoping that I’m able to inspire them. I want them to strive to be better people because ultimately that’s what I’m reaching towards,” he closed.