Stephen ‘Stevie Stone‘ Williams hits Australia for Malta Bend, the name of his latest album and the town where his parents met. “Without that itty-bitty segregated town there really wouldn’t be no me,” he tells Rip Nicholson.
STEVIE STONE interviewed October 29, 2016
For Street Press Australia [VIEW HERE]
Midwest rapper Stevie Stone was born in Columbia, Missouri, the geographic centre of various hip hop style dialects. His start in the rap game, however, was with the linchpin of west coast gangsta rap – Ruthless Records. Signed in 2007 to the same LA-based label that brought out NWA and Eazy-E, it was here Williams released his debut LP New Kid Coming(2009) and had a serendipitous meeting with fellow Missourian Tech N9ne, co-owner of Strange Music Records.
“I did have a deal [at Ruthless] and it was good for exactly what it was,” explains Williams, taking the glass-half-full approach to his tenure with the famous rap imprint. “During that time I ended up going on tour with Tech N9ne, promoting that CD and I got his fans a chance to see me, which ultimately led to me signing with Strange Music.”
“When we go out and perform we do it with a lot of conviction, a lot of passion and that bleeds over and it’s contagious.”
It was here he released his second album Rollin’ Stone – striking an even balance across the map of varied rap scenes from his east coast hype to a west coast swagger, blended with a definite dirty south drawl. The MC went all-out, with as many producers as tracks peppering the LP. It resulted in widespread recognition and a place in the top half of the Billboard 200. From there, it seemed, he was free to fully spread his wings with his records, sparing no creative expense.
“Yeah, exactly,” says Williams. “That was my first album since leaving Ruthless. We had something brand new with a vision, so we’re rollin’, goin’ non-stop.”
His latest album Malta Bend, released midway through last year, explores his beginnings stretching back to where his parents met. “My mother was born and raised in Malta Bend,” he divulges. “That’s where my mother went to grade school and church where she played with my father – where they actually met at. In the little town called Malta Bend.”
A product of this environment, Williams documents this farming town outside Kansas City as a major influence. “I’ve come up a product of this so that’s why I say it begins now,” he says of the intro and outro tracks bookending his album. “That was me going to my roots of my legacy on certain records like the actual title song. That’s my motivation, getting people really intimate with my story.”
Returning to the present, Stone is currently on Tech N9ne’s Australian tour alongside his boss and his label-mate Krizz Kaliko. When asked if performing with these exhilarating live artists lifts his game, Williams’ enthusiasm shines. “Yessir! When we go out and perform we do it with a lot of conviction, a lot of passion and that bleeds over and it’s contagious.”