Posts tagged Gabriel Stark
[Watch] Gabriel Stark - "CAKE" (Official Video)

Calmly reading a newspaper in a café, Gabriel Stark evokes his early hip-hop career as a college student with big goals, and as the video for "CAKE" progresses it's pretty evident that Stark means business. And that's what his whole career has been like, with every moment spent building towards a bigger purpose. Stark's ambitious attitude is almost as intense as the killer beat that backs up his lyrics.

"CAKE" is part of Stark's latest and greatest release GATSBY, which dropped on October 30th. Head here to read our full review of the album, and make sure to pick it up if you enjoyed it as much as we did.

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[SKOA Exclusive Album Review] Gabriel Stark - 'GATSBY'

It has been almost exactly one year since I first met Gabriel Stark in person, the fresh-faced Bronx native with an eager attitude and subtle humbleness. We met in John Paul Jones Park in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn during CMJ Music Marathon, a calm day that perfectly emulated Stark’s relaxed demeanor, the same demeanor he carries through to his music. It was this first meeting that clarified how I would translate Stark’s music, as I fully understood the mentality of him as a musician, his striving passion to push forward without losing humility. He never misses an opportunity to progress, consistently experimenting and releasing new material, even recently wrapping up his first headlining tour throughout the East Coast of the States. Stark brings this passion and drive to his latest album, GATSBY, his second album of the year following January’s Starky F. Kennedy. The 10 tracks he delivers here draw from throughout hip-hop’s existence, blending old styles and new, nostalgic cuts followed by more electronic-focused tracks; Stark manages to juxtapose varying styles through consistent, socially conscious lyrics and top-notch production.

Lyricism has always been an important aspect of Gabriel Stark’s approach to music, with an intense focus on conscious lyrics that blend seamlessly with “dope ass beats”. As soon as GATSBY begins, our ears are met with a sound clip from 2004’s Daniel Craig-starring Layer Cake, the beginning of album opener “CAKE”. The clip instills a sense that Stark won’t be slowed down by the shit that life throws his way, instead delivering pulsating beats and slick verses. Right from the onset, “CAKE” hits hard. A raucous combination of pounding drums and brash horns, the song keeps your heart racing from start to finish. Following “CAKE” is the aptly named “Icing”, which ironically goes in a vastly different direction from the former. Sampling the Chordettes’ 1958 hit “Lollipop”, Stark’s interpretation is actually pretty damn good, a chill take on the upbeat original.

Great (individual) song pacing and solid production are skills that Stark continues to impress with, but GATSBY does pose one issue, that being the rapper’s juggling of influences and styles throughout the entire album. Each song embodies various aspects of hip-hop, past and present, such as “Melrose and Courtlandt”, which draws on West Coast hip-hop of the early-to-mid ‘90s, or the College Dropout era Kanye West-inspired “Danielle’s Song”. Next to that, though, are more electronic-leaning tracks, with “Lemonade Stand” being a fitting example. The song has a grimy, synthesizer-heavy production throughout, with an eerie atmosphere and sparkling notes dotting the soundscape. While each of the album’s ten songs are impressive on their own merit, the overall pace of the album is thrown off by the ever-changing style from song to song.

Despite the pace of GATSBY as a whole being off-kilter, Stark’s lyrics and the quality of his production make each song impressive in themselves. This is where his progression as a musician—in his lyrical style and production techniques—has paid off, as his passion truly comes out here. “Rumble Young Man Rumble”, for example, has Stark delivering heavy-hitting verses, one after the other, amidst a slick, New Orleans-inspired beat, carried along by rhythmic guitar riffs and an underlying, funk-laden bassline. “Kiddie Pool” is another moment where Stark’s production shines, sampling Cold War Kids’ chilling “Hospital Beds”. Stark uses the song to incredible advantage, grafting Nathan Willett’s vocals and piano keys seamlessly into this mellow, hip-hop soundscape. More than that, though, the lyrics evoke a sense of a more mature Stark, who is further learning from and examining the world—“I made a promise to my momma how I’d find a way one day”—and still learning from it.

This learning is what the whole album, inconsistent overall pacing aside, exemplifies, and what Stark continues to impress with. He is learning, every day, but what sets him apart is his insistence on utilizing what he learns. With every release, his production improves, as do his lyrics, yet he does so without an arrogant attitude found in many rappers. He strives to improve, all the while with a refreshing passion and reserve, pushing forward but capitalizing on the lessons learned from every previous experience. GATSBY represents the progression of Gabriel Stark as a person and a musician, his desire to take every opportunity and grow while understanding and respecting the past. From start to finish, the album is, through his lyrics and the influences present in each individual song, Stark’s way of exploring the history of hip-hop, a means of understanding how the genre is influenced by itself and other genres. GATSBY is a history lesson in itself, and Stark is your teacher.

GATSBY drops on October 31st, and below you can stream the lead single "Danielle's Song".

Recommended Tracks: "Melrose and Courtlandt", "Kiddie Pool", "Danielle's Song"

SCORE: 4.0 out of 5

[Listen] Gabriel Stark - "VII"

A mere ten days after the release of his Starky F. Kennedy mixtape, which included "Jackie Onassis" and "Rolling Through Dallas," Gabriel Stark has been back in the studio to record and release a brand new track titled "VII." Produced by Dr. Jaymo, the track sees Starky getting serious and personal for an atmospheric and dark 3-minute cut. You can listen to and download the song below, and head here to download all of Stark's mixtapes for free.

VII by Gabriel Stark

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[Listen] Gabriel Stark - "Rolling Through Dallas"

In a mere few weeks, Gabriel Stark will be dropping his latest album Starky F. Kennedy. The album delves into the life of former U.S. president John F. Kennedy, and the latest song to be let loose, "Rolling Through Dallas," is a stark (no pun intended) reminder of how important politically conscious hip hop can be. Dealing with the assassination of President Kennedy, "Rolling Through Dallas" gives us what could have been Kennedy's own perception of the events that took place on November 22, 1963. Through the powerful lyrics of Gabriel Stark, the song offers up an enticing taste of Starky F. Kennedy, an album that not only displays Stark's talent as a producer and musician, but also his want and desire to make hip hop that makes you think. For those lovers out there of thought provoking hip hop, "Rolling Through Dallas" is available for stream and download below, courtesy of Earmilk.

Starky F. Kennedy is out on January 7th, so expect more coverage of Gabriel Stark in the coming weeks.

Gabriel Stark - "Rolling Through Dallas" by Some Kind of Awesome

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[Listen] Gabriel Stark - "Jackie Onassis"

On January 7th, Bronx-based hip hop artist Gabriel Stark will be releasing Starky F. Kennedy, his first album of the 2012 season. Following the same mentality he's had all year, he has constantly been in the studio, working on new material, and keeping the fans busy with awesome new music. Today, Starky let loose the first track from the upcoming album. Titled "Jackie Onassis" after John F. Kennedy's wife, the song is a "letter to all of the women who stick by their significant others as they pursue their dreams." Take a listen to the song below.

As well, if you haven't heard my CMJ interview with Gabriel Stark, head here to give it a listen. Starky F. Kennedy is out on January 7th via Stark's own Dorm Room 313 label.

Jackie Onassis by Gabriel Stark

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[CMJ 2011 x Interview] Gabriel Stark

Over the past year, Bronx-based musician/producer Gabriel Stark has gone from a well known New York producer to a fully fledged artist in his own right. With six releases being put out in one year, Mr. Stark has one clear goal, and that is to consistently hit the studio and improve during every second of studio time. His motivation hasn't gone to waste, though, with each new release improving on the last. With his latest album Thank You Starky, which you can listen to here, Stark has improved his lyrical abilities, production techniques, and, above all, his confidence. It's perfectly that he's going to keep working hard, and won't stop anytime soon.

During CMJ Music Marathon, Gabriel and I met up to talk about all things Starky, going a little more in-depth into his everyday life, his constant improvement, and what the future holds. You can listen to the interview below, and make sure to follow him on Twitter, as well as add him as a friend on Facebook. Also, you can download all of Stark's albums and mixtapes at his official website.

Gabriel Stark Interview by Some Kind of Awesome

[SKoA Premiere] Gabriel Stark - 'Thank You Starky' (Full Album Stream)

Since the age of 14, Bronx-native Gabriel Stark has been rapping and making beats, even going so far as to produce for his classmates throughout high school. Making a name for himself through producing, he began applying those skills to his own recordings at the age of 18. His first studio project, Thank God It's Starky, reached 5,000 downloads in its first month, while his second release, Starky Hendrix, reached 16,000 downloads in its first two weeks. Since then, Gabriel Stark has been expanding greatly, taking himself from a locally known producer to a household name in the East Coast hip-hop scene.

On October 20th, the twenty-one year old will be releasing his new album Thank You Starky via Dorm Room 313, and Some Kind of Awesome is proud to premiere the full album stream of his upcoming release. You can listen to the entirety of the album in the player below, and make sure to pick up both Thank God It's Starky and Starky Hendrix over at Gabriel Stark's official website. As well, make sure to follow Stark on Twitter and add him as a friend on Facebook (don't worry, he approves of adding him as a friend instead of liking a fan page).

Gabriel Stark - 'Thank You Starky' by Some Kind of Awesome