By Jack Barnes
A mob music master with a slick sense of street lyricism, J. Stalin is West Oakland’s favorite son. A respected businessman and a prolific rapper, J. Stalin exemplifies the Bay Area hustle. Riding roughshod over a slap-heavy mob instrumental, J. Stalin gives a glimpse into his life on “Reality,” his new video premiered by Mass Appeal. “Reality” finds Stalin ruminating on his drug-dealing past, thinking about the immense work it took for him to get out of the hood. In the video, Stalin celebrates his new reality, rocking gold chains, lamping with his friends, and throwing parties in his beautiful house. “Reality” follows the video “Play Me,” a June-featuring slapper, which has earned more than 47,000 YouTube views since its release last week. Enjoy this video stream below after the jump.
“Reality” is the latest video from Gas Nation 2, Stalin’s 18th studio album, released last month. With features from Berner, Philthy Rich, Lil Blood, Shady Nate, Lazy Boy, Joseph Kay, JuneOnnaBeat, KD, and AK-47, Gas Nation 2 is an intensely personal work, packed speaker-knocking, sparkling mob instrumentals and some of Stalin’s best ever bars
Repping his West Oakland neighborhood and providing his own take on hyphy and mob music with his unique wordplay, J. Stalin is one of the Bay Area’s most respected emcees. Released in 2008, the first Gas Nation found J. Stalin in a vastly different stage in life–hustling on the streets to make ends meet, packing a gun (or “gas” in Oakland slang) every day, and caring for his 12-year-old sister after his mom moved to Las Vegas. Fast-forward 10 year later, J. Stalin is now an established rapper and a legitimate business owner, managing the catalogs of 10 artists on his Livewire label, and opening two profitable barber shops. For J. Stalin, the original Gas Nation was the beginning of his evolution into a unique artist and the start of his transformation from a lawbreaker to an upstanding member of his community. With Gas Nation 2, Stalin revisits the mindset of his younger self with the wisdom and perspective of his current self, creating a moody and thought-provoking collection of well-crafted rap songs.
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Previously: J Stalin – Still in it [Video]