MMG is a powerhouse in hip-hop right now, with Wale’s The Gifted topping the Billboard charts and Meek Mill & Rick Ross shelling out bangers all summer. However, one particular Maybach Music Group member has been waiting in the wings for his opportunity to shine. Stalley signed with MMG back in 2011 when he was known for his beard and a pair of early mixtapes, and the signing was received with mixed emotions from fans; here was another talented artist and another win for the roster, but an uncertain fit with what Ross was building with the Maybach brand.

The Blue Collar Gang head honcho already established a name for himself before MMG, creating a niche for his “Intelligent Trunk Music” and building a following. Since the signing the Ohio native has appeared on Self Made Vols. 1 & 2 and dropped another mixtape, Savage Journey To The American Dream, but things have been relatively quiet for the past two years. That's not to say any time has been wasted—Stalley has his mixtape Honest Cowboy slated to drop on August 8th, with his debut album on deck and an appearance on MMG’s Self Made Vol. 3 set for September. Stalley swung by the XXL offices this week to speak about the impact of his father on his projects, why he signed to MMG and his quest for knowledge. —Emmanuel C.M. (@ECM_LP)