Stevie Stone – “Black Lion” review

Stevie Stone is a 39 year old MC from Columbia, Missouri who first gained attention as one of the very last 2 artists to ever sign with Ruthless Records alongside Hopsin. Both of their full-length debuts New Kid Comin’ & Gazing at the Moonlight received little to no promotion, leading both artists to leave the crumbling label. Hopsin went on to form Funk Volume shortly after before closing shop in 2016 whereas Stevie signed to Strange Music in 2012. He eventually became one of the label’s biggest artists with albums like Rollin’ Stone, 2 Birds 1 Stone, Malta Bend & my personal favorite: Level Up. Then came the JL collab album Kontra-Band in 2018, which was really good too. But after Tech N9ne dropped his latest album ENTERFEAR this past spring, things over at Strange slowed down drastically due to the pandemic. However, Stevie is helping the Snake & Bat back in their groove by dropping Black Lion.

The album kicks off with “Set in Stone”, where Stevie talks about being unchangeable when it’s all said & done over an acoustic guitar. The next song “V.I.P.” serves as a club banger with a cavernous trap beat while the track “Type of Time” talks about being a threat over a 7 instrumental with a cool woodwind thrown in. The song “Underrated” vents about deserving more appreciation over a delicate instrumental while “The Worst for Me” details how this woman can’t leave him over a luxurious boom bap beat.

The track “Can’t Deny It” talks about a groupie wanting to chill with him over a smooth instrumental & while the song “Selfish” with Flawless Real Talk finds the 2 talking about why they’re so finicky over a vibrant beat with a woodwind sample. The track “No Permission” gives the listeners a proper clue of what his do’s & dont’s are over a druggy instrumental while the song “Teknique” with Tech N9ne gets sexual over an hyphy beat.

The track “Conquer” with Spaide R.I.P.P.E.R. is a decent mosh pit starter while the song “Jungle” with King Iso gets on the more braggadocious tip over a trap beat with a unique cricket loop throughout. The song “Dope Sick” talks about hard he be going over an intimidating instrumental from Wyshmaster while the track “Holiday” with Maez301 is an incredibly fun party anthem.

The song “Hennessy & Harmony” talks about being all in over a cloudy instrumental while the track “Vibe” with ¡MAYDAY! stoner’s tune backed by the reggae style production that Wrekonize, Bernz & NonMS dabbled in throughout the trio’s last album South of 5th. The song “Some Days” speaks on having all these emotions bottled up over a piano-inflicted trap beat while the penultimate track “Still Standing” with Rittz finds the 2 talking about how far they’ve come over a melancholic instrumental. The album ends with “Taste”, where Stevie opens about how much fame has changed him over a chill beat.

Like I said earlier: Stevie Stone is one of the most prominent acts on Strange Music & this album is a fine example as to why. There are a couple of features that don’t really land with me, but you’re gonna get a good look at how much he’s changed throughout the years & the artist/person that he has become today.

Score: 3.5/5