My Town My Music’s Local Artist Spotlight: Sly

“Hip-hop” and “Rochester, MN” aren’t terms we typically hear coupled together. But, there exists a local music scene that loves and embraces the genre, and My Town My Music is excited to feature one of those artists, Dallas Mckern, who has just recently released a new EP, The Arsonist. Stream it for free below with a break down about each track from Sly! The EP is also available for purchase at:

Mckern—otherwise known by his emcee name “Sly”—is a hip-hop artist with local conglomerate The Bando Bunch, which consists of multiple recording artists, three DJs, a photographer, and videographers.

Hip-hop got its hooks in Mckern at a very early age. In his elementary days, his sister would drive him to school and play “Remix to Ignition” every morning. His brother would fuel the fire by burning him CDs with artists like Young Jeezy, 50 Cent, Eminem, and many others. The beats, rhythmic vocals, and culture pulled him in and claimed him, setting him on a path that lead to the life he lives today.

Mckern credits music with giving him the chance to make “some of the dopest, most down-to-earth friends I’ve ever had.” It also was his outlet for self-expression, which kept him out of trouble. “In high school,” he says, “when a lot of my peers were out…making decisions that have forever negatively impacted their lives, I was in the studio, creating. Music has given me the opportunity to express my life experiences and feelings without exposing myself to vulnerability.”

What particular experiences have shaped you as a musician/performer?
The ability to get into the studio and collab with the artists that I have has driven me to build with every project. With hip-hop being probably the most competitive genre, I am constantly looking to polish my craft. Since joining Bando Bunch, I’ve been inspired to grow into the artist I am today, and I don’t believe I’ll be done growing anytime soon.

Do you enjoy performing live, or do you prefer the studio?
Both appeal to me in different ways. They’re two completely different environments. In the studio, I’m on a different wavelength, creating something that I can’t wait to share with the world. When I’m on stage, it’s almost an intoxicating, euphoric experience.

Sly of The Bando Bunch
Sly of The Bando Bunch – Photo by Tyler J. Aug

What is your favorite performing experience?
Elysium III was nuts. Mac Irv came in and switched sets with us, so The Bando Bunch was headlining the show. We went on stage and didn’t waste any time; the first song that played was one of my previously unreleased tracks, and Mac Irv and his fans were still in the crowd. I got to hear hundreds of people chanting MY lyrics that they’d never even heard before. The vibe that night was unreal.

What’s the funniest/strangest thing that’s happened to you while performing?
It was one of my first concerts in Rochester at C4. There was an issue with my instrumental CD, and I was left on stage with no music. My partner in rhyme and I just stared at each other and cracked a couple jokes while the engineer tried to figure out the issue. Our CD was done for, just two songs into our setlist. We ended up gripping the mics a little tighter and finished our setlist a cappella. The crowd actually seemed to enjoy it, and we earned a lot of respect from the other artists in the show that night.

Meeting which artist would be most intimidating?
I’m not sure if “intimidating” is the word I would use, but I would say the artist I would be most excited to meet would probably be Eminem. After all, he is the G.O.A.T right now.

Tell us a bit about your EP:
It is a 6 track project featuring my Bando brother Treezy, Cyphor, Ike G, and NiccoDaKid. I did my best to step out of my comfort zone and try new things, and I must say it is, by far, my best work to date.

What kind of feeling or message are you trying to convey?

The title “The Arsonist” was my way of painting a picture of myself starting a fire within the music scene.

Track 1: “I Ain’t Friendly” is an aggressive lyrical assault filled with subliminal shots.

Track 2: “Nobody Cares” is basically me calling bullshit on today’s rap game; not everybody can be the plug.

Track 3: “Out My Face” is directed to the ”haters” who are always talking but never have anything of value to say.

Track 4: “Let’s Get It” is more of a turn up track, but even though you might be out for a good time there’s always somebody that might want to start a problem.

Track 5: “My Flame” illustrates my realization that I am finally getting some of the respect and exposure that I feel I’ve worked hard for, and I have no intention of letting my lime light fade.

Final track: “Feel Right” is inspired by past, turbulent relationships. This is probably one of the more emotion-filled tracks that I’ve released. Treezy jumped in the studio and took the idea that I had and ran with it on the chorus. I have to give major thanks to him for helping that song reach its full potential.

How long did this project take?
Between writing, recording, re-recording certain tracks, and recording music videos, I’d say it took around three months.

Where did you record?
I recorded at a local studio in Winona with Andrew Berhow of Instigator Recordings, who has, hands down, produced the best quality project I’ve ever released.

Do you have a favorite track?
It’s difficult for me to pick a favorite, but it’s definitely between “Let’s Get It” and “Feel Right”. They’re both dope tracks in their own right, but they’re completely different. The features on both of these songs really came through and helped to make the songs what they are. “Let’s Get It” is more of a party, let’s-turn-up type of track, while “Feel Right” is more emotional and raw.

Can we expect to see you perform any of this new material live?
Yes, I’ll definitely be working these tracks into future set lists.

Sly Rapping in Rochester MN
Sly performing with The Bando Bunch at Rochester’s Local Music Showdown.

What do you see as strengths of the Rochester music scene?
There are a lot of fans who love to promote and support the local scene, not to mention all of the artists who call the Rochester area home. Then, there are the people who are major assets to the Rochester music scene, like Sunny P., everybody at My Town My Music, and the guys with John Gavin Boss at the Apollo Music Group.

What aspects of the local scene do you feel could use improvement/more attention?
Venues. We need more venues that are willing to work with artists that can undoubtedly bring them business through admission and drink sales.

What is your idea of a perfect venue, as a performer and/or fan?
Somewhere with a big stage, good lighting, too many speakers, and a full bar.

What is the best concert you’ve seen in Rochester?
The craziest concert I’ve been to in Rochester would have to be at the C4 Creative Salon. Before I joined The Bando Bunch, they were still known as The Flight Club, and they threw a couple of shows that would’ve really blown most local artists out of the water.

What artist(s) would you love to see come to Rochester?
Number one, hands down, I’d love to see Post Malone in Rochester. That’s the kind of dude that I’d love to see perform—then party with afterwards. I’d also like to see MGK, Chance the Rapper, and Hopsin come through.

Let’s Get It!

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