Ajax Stacks
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Ajax Stacks

Austin, TX | Established. Jan 01, 2011

Austin, TX
Established on Jan, 2011
Solo Hip Hop R&B




"Stacked Lineup: Stack Rapids Mixtape Spotlights GR Talent"

After 28 years of life in Grand Rapids, hip-hop artist Ajax Stacks, aka Avery Jackson, has developed a fierce pride for the city and its culture.

That loyalty was the impetus for Stack Rapids, a free 20-song mixtape featuring 30 of the city’s busiest lyricists — from the up-and-comers to established GR names, like AB and Fable the Poet. The freshly released compilation features executive producer Stacks on every track, alongside a diverse cast of distinctive area talents.

“You’re a product of your environment, and this is my environment,” he said. “Especially with Chicago and Detroit being so close, it’s easy to lose track of who we are, rather than trying to find our own sound. Grand Rapids is an upcoming underdog and I want to represent that.”

And while there’s a lot of positive vibes on the track list, it also addresses the rap scene’s complicated relationship with its home city.

On the opening track, local spoken-word artist Fable The Poet (real name Marcel Price) jumps into a no-holds-barred critique of the city and its music scene, setting the tone for the mixtape’s patent veracity.
Stack Rapids CD Release Party
Billy’s Lounge, 1437 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids
Aug. 6, 9:30 p.m.
$10 cover includes one CD, 21+
(616) 459-5757

“I have this undying love for Grand Rapids, but Grand Rapids doesn’t necessarily love black folks,” Fable said. “With the intro track, it’s very much rooted in community awareness and activism. It’s talking about gentrification and the way our city is changing. It’s talking about the marginalization of people of color — which is very much poetic to me.”

Fable moved to the city years ago from the state’s east side. Inspired by Ann Arbor Poetry & Slam, he brought a love for spoken word and poetry to the Hookah Lounge in Eastown before founding The Drunken Retort, a weekly open-mic geared towards spoken word and slam poetry. He also works closely with Mental Health America, traveling the country and talking to youth about mental illnesses and encouraging them to use poetry as an outlet. He keeps busy spreading positive vibes — but Fable says that love is not always reciprocated by certain figures in the local music scene. He says some local businesses simply don’t respect hip-hop artists or fans, especially when it comes to dress codes.

“Lord knows there are venues that clearly aren’t people-of-color friendly,” he said. “From the signs on their doors that say: ‘No do-rags, no bandanas, no fitted caps’ — we can see who you don’t want there.”

At the same time, he believes local rappers need to do their part in demanding that respect. Fable says area artists should demand the same guarantees from venues as the out-of-town headliners who draw comparable crowds, proclaiming in the intro track: “As the city grows, make sure you get what’s owed.”

On the other hand, he is proud some venues show plenty of respect, namely The Pyramid Scheme, Founder’s Brewing Co. and Stella’s Lounge. He said Stella’s pays him and the other organizers to put on The Drunken Retort even though it’s a free show.

After the intro, the mood of Stack Rapids lightens up a bit. The mixtape accelerates quickly into “GR Drive,” a play on words for the city’s basketball team, via Ajax Stacks, who establishes the pace with a catchy, pitch-altered chorus before Steven Malcolm unleashes his verses in a steadfast torrent.

The mixtape also ventures beyond local themes. “Tender Loving Cheater” is a playful take on likely-unfaithful lovers featuring guest rapper K Veen, with a flow and beat straight out of the 1990s. And “Count On You,” featuring Jous 83 and Rick Chyme, is a classic slow jam. There are also a handful of solid hip-hop bangers. Stack Rapids runs the gamut.

Some of the tracks are just unmistakably Grand Rapids, though. “Downtown,” featuring Venson Dix, was basically a chance for the two of them to come up with as much GR-centric wordplay as possible, Stacks said. For example: “Little apple bottom, no Robinette’s. I tried to kick it on the side, but she hurt my pride when she told me I ain’t robbin’ yet,” and “Stay on point with the scheme like a pyramid,” as well as “I’m a Tip Top edition.”

A collaboration with J Rob and Lady Ace Boogie, “Rap In The Rap,” is clearly referencing the city from the get-go. The line, “That’s the Rap in my rap, can’t stop ‘til the city on the map,” drives the track. Closing the cut is Lady Ace Boogie’s proud declaration: “No, this ain’t Detroit, mother****er, it’s GR.”

Stacks worked previously with Lady Ace Boogie in founding Love GR Day, initially a campaign to counteract the homophobic billboard that popped up in the city last summer. Now, the day has transformed into “a way to build awareness for being proud of both who you are and what you’re doing here in Grand Rapids,” he said. The mixtape dropped on this year’s Love GR Day, June 16.

While currently only available online, Stacks ran an Indiegogo campaign to press Stack Rapids on CD and will be partnering with local businesses like Screaming Needle to establish pick-up points. Tickets for the physical release party, Aug. 6 at Billy’s Lounge, will also include a free copy.

The mixtape ends with “Next Up” (not counting bonus track “One Two”), featuring Nate Paulson, AB and Chan The Man. Backed by a soothing, downtempo piano-driven beat, each emcee takes turns delivering earnest, reflective verses looking both backward and forward.

At its close, after the beat has faded out, the track finishes with Nate Paulson’s auto-tuned hook embodying the driven spirit of the Stack Rapids roster: “When you think next up, think us.” - Revue Magazine

"Album Reviews: Ajax Stacks and more"

Lean back on that couch and relax because Grand Rapids-based hip-hop artist Avery Jackson, aka Ajax Stacks, delivers relaxing beats and nice flows on his latest album, “Stacktober.” Stacks has always brought high-energy and hard beats in the past, but this time around he brings in a new sound, experimenting with lo-fi and jazz-hop. “Stacktober” delivers its high intensity in a subtle way. On the opening track, “If I Lived on Mars,” Stacks creates a hauntingly calm beat, but when he brings in his technical rap and layers it, everything shifts, creating a pleasurable wave of energy that doesn’t disrupt the flow of the chill beat. The closing track, “Low, Low,” is dense with drowsy, but hypnotic vocal delivery that entraps the senses in a pure state of bliss. With this short six-track EP, Stacks manages to show off his versatile and diversified lyrics and leaves the listener wanting more. – Matthew Tep - Local Spins

"SXSW Official Artist"

Ajax Stacks at The Main II
Mar 14, 2019
8:45pm — 8:55pm - South By South West


Ajax Stacks Albums

2018, EP

Stack Rapids
2016, Mixtape

Fruits Of Labor
2014, Album

Flyer Than Before
2013, Album

Heartaches & Hangovers
2012, Album



From his lyrics, to his career, to the ink on his skin, every part of Ajax Stacks is strategic and methodical. His work ethic is something that he takes very seriously and anyone who listens to the rapper knows this just by listening to his work. From “American Muscle,” to “I gotchu,” or his most recently released “Mind my Business,” making moves is something that is top of mind.

Born July 23 in the West Michigan city of Grand Rapids, Stacks represented a unique sound that was being developed in a city that was not traditionally known for having one of its own. The artist’s sound is built off of a variety of influences is his life including his upbringing. Stacks was raised by his mother a caucasian, hipster, Woodstock attendee from upstate New York and his African-American, traditional, stickler-for-the-rules father from the soulful city of Pittsburgh, PA. Growing up, he was an avid listener of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Rage Against the Machine. During the start of his career he recalls listening to Busta Rhymes, Big Sean and Wiz Khalifa when his mixtapes first came out and it’s in those beginning stages of every big name rapper’s career that Stacks derives even his most current influences. His influences coupled with a full arsenal of skills ranging from witty word play to in your face punch lines, you'll find yourself dancing in the club to one song and pondering life's hardships in the next.

Band Members