Coming out of St. Louis, in the geographic middle of the country between the various rap scenes that exist along the coasts, rapper Stevie Stone grinds the best parts of the East, West, and Dirty South styles into his own signature blend on Rollin' Stone. With a blend of New York hype, California swagger, and Southern drawl, the MC strikes a nice balance between all three styles to create a flow that, while brushing up against the touchstones of the coastal scenes, remains refreshingly different. Rollin' Stone also finds the rapper taking a more personal approach to songwriting than he has in the past. His first album for Tech N9ne's Strange Music, a label well known for its penchant for reaching out to and connecting with its rabid fan base, Stone seizes on the opportunity to reach a whole new group of listeners with an album that plays out like a meeting between new friends at a party. Early in the album, listeners get to see Stone's rowdy side on tracks like "808 Bendin'" and "Keep My Name Out Your Mouth," which feature guest spots by labelmates Tech N9ne and Kutt Calhoun, respectively, before getting personal deeper into the album, opening up on more plaintive, reflective tracks like "My Life" and "The Road." Even though Stone had been kicking around on Ruthless Records for a while, Rollin' Stone feels like a chance for Stone to reintroduce himself to the rap world, and with the production talent, care, and personal touch of Strange behind him, it's an opportunity he takes full advantage of.
AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney