Riley "Special" Wallace
Riley Wallace, known by the stage name Special, is a Canadian music artist from Toronto, Ontario. Most notably, he reached 2 million hits on YouTube with his Jersey Shore-influenced song "T-Shirt Time". The thriving success of this old school lyricist has garnered critical acclaim across the globe, releasing commercial projects in Germany and Italy. His diverse body of music includes works with hip-hop vets like Craig G (Juice Crew), El Da Sensei (The Artifacts) and Sadat X (Brand Nubian) and others.
|Birth name||Riley Wallace|
|Born||January 20, 1983|
|Labels||Jersey Sound Lab, Universal/EMI, Above Average Hip Hop|
|Associated acts||El Da Sensei, Sadat X, Craig G, Internal Quest|
In, Special wrote the song "Get Ready To Strike" which was originally intended to inspire the Communications Workers (CWA) Union members during a Local 6222 rally, but word of it spread to other chapters, who shared it on the internet. The song garnered thousands of spins/downloads and was featured in the Wall Street Journal. The CWA boasts some 111,000 members, and the song's release coincided with the expiry of a contract between the union and mobile phone giant AT&T.
As a music artist, Special released two official music videos as part of the E-Team. One, "The Bar Ain't Far Away", which he is featured on, was in rotation on Much Music. The other, "A Rapper's Motivation", was being highly praised by industry insiders and urban bloggers. He, along with his crew, the E-Team, released two mixtapes (BAFA: The Art of The Remix and Art is Life: The Mixtape) and an album (Art is Life: The Album), before they signed a major label deal with Universal/EMI Canada. They released the song "T-Shirt Time" in 2011, which racked up over two million plays and made the duo a hot ticket on the club circuit. Their subsequent release, Get Right, featuring Tasha The Amazon, was released later that same year.
As a solo artist, Special has since numerous projects and has worked with artists like Sadat X, Craig G, Money B (Digital Underground), El Da Sensei and more. He is also closely affiliated with Jersey Sound Lab and has released a collaborative project with Internal Quest. He currently works with a live band called The Boom Bap Trio, and an LP is due out late 2015.
T-Shirt Time (2011)
Get Right feat Tasha The Amazon (2012)
Never Know Me feat. Lilly Mason (2014)
Special and Internal Quest — Engineered To Win (2012)
Special and Tony Blount — Special & Tony Blount EP (2014)
Mind's Eye (2013)
Oakland Masters (2014)
- "Get Ready to Strike". Labor Notes. July 15, 2009.
- Mohny, Doug (April 10, 2009). "CWA "Ready to Strike" ringtone ready for action". Fierce Telecom.
- LaVallee, Andrew (April 10, 2009). "AT&T Workers Create "Ready to Strike" Ringtone". The Wall Street Journal.
- "Bar Ain't Far Away Video". Much Music.
- "Special - A Rapper's Motivation". Peace Magazine.
- Wall Street Journal Story
- Collection of Press Clipping about the song "Get Ready To Strike"
- Story about 'Get Ready To Strike' ringtone (All things Digital)
- Article mentioning the "Get Ready to Strike' ringtone (Network Trends Now)
- Article "Get Ready to Strike' ringtone (Beta News)
- "Get Ready to Strike' ringtone (DSL Reports)