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Akron's Very Own | Phokis Hip Hop

Updated: Mar 20, 2023

“Only Wallace” is one of the very few to go against the grain to make waves in the music industry wearing Akron on his back. When you think of Akron, a city in northern Ohio, the first thing that usually comes to mind is basketball legend Lebron James. Besides that, there isn’t much to remember about this small industrial town known primarily for its rubber tire plants. The music scene is virtually non-existent with many artists migrating to nearby music hubs like Chicago and St.Louis for more opportunities. Only Wallace is looking to show everybody who exactly is the music world’s “Akron’s Very Own”.

Coming from a small town as well as a turbulent upbringing, Only Wallace (born Ishmael Haslam) faced much adversity along his trek toward musical eminence. He was raised by his mother who had him at the tender age of 13. He spent most of his life estranged from his father who is currently serving a 20 year prison sentence for murder. Growing up, Only Wallace was subject to a substantial amount of verbal and physical abuse from multiple members of his family. These conditions worsened to the point where he ended up homeless desperate for a way out. He needed a healthy outlet for all the mixed emotions and skewed perspectives he subconsciously formed due to his childhood. Music was the method of catharsis that he chose.

In the mid 2000’s, he began recording raps and within a few years started a series of freestyle battles and cyphers to challenge other MC’s while building his own audience. It wasn't until about a year ago that Only Wallace decided to go full throttle with his music career. Now, he drops new verses on a weekly basis following inspiration he received from freestyle superstars “Lil Wayne” and “Currensy”. The raw authenticity that comes from fresh material that is performed live on camera always resonated more deeply to him than regular songs because it provides more insight to the artist’s creative process. Only Wallace demonstrates his own raw authenticity to a tee on his blazing hot single “Slept On”. In this track he talks about the struggles of a small town artist trying to ‘make it big in the music industry. He considers himself an underdog in this game and embraces that title to the fullest. Although his talent has often been overlooked by “family” and “friends” along the way, he continued to develop and evolve musically. . The progress and momentum he has gained due to his consistency has definitely awakened those who had previously “slept on” Only Wallace to what “Akron’s Very Own” has to offer. As he says in the track, the success he has achieved so far in his career is “some s**t that his Grandma would pray about”.

Be on the lookout for new projects from Only Wallace as he is frequently releasing new material. He has an ongoing series of tracks called “Six Degrees of Separation” that can be found on Soundcloud. Currently, he is open for collaborations with artists that can challenge his lyrical and creative ingenuity. One day, he hopes to work with creative greats such as 50 Cent, Timbaland, The Weeknd and many others. Overall, Only Wallace hopes his music can be a message to people that no matter where you come or what you’ve been through as long as you believe and stay consistent you too can be your own town’s “Very Own”.

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