Blending rap, pop, hip hop and R&B, Asian-American rapper Star2 uses this collision of sound as the backdrop for lyrics that blur the line between reality and art. Coming from a refugee camp in Thailand, and having grown up in an inner-city neighborhood after immigrating to the United States, the young artist distills his experiences and struggles to make music with hard beats and a raw honesty.
His latest single, “Big Bands” featuring $tupid Young, chronicles Star2’s coming-of-age in the streets of City Heights, San Diego and breaking into the rap scene.
“Look I came from the bottom, now I’m riding to the top…growing up on the block, I been hearing lots of shots. Pop after pop, all we hear is body drop…I gotta watch how they talk, ain’t nothin less than a boss,” Star2 raps.
Underneath the artists’ rapping, dramatic staccato strings and a series of mysterious minor-chord notes repeat and trail off at the end making for a bombastic barrage of beats and lyrics.
The music video for ”Big Bands” features a Grand Theft Auto-like animation starting off with $tupid Young pulling up to a bank, robbing the teller and jumping in with Star2 in their getaway car. The two then drive off to a strip club to spend their loot.
”Big Bands” along with several other singles released by Star2 in the last year, are featured in his Real Life EP, available now on YouTube and soon on other streaming platforms. The EP features a mix of guest collaborators including Luh Kel and Lil Poppa.
Star2 came to the United States after his grandmother was selected from a lottery at a refugee camp to migrate to the U.S., taking with her six-year-old Star2, who at that point had fled 500 miles with his family after their village was burned to the ground and attacked by soldiers.
Part of the Ka-ren people from Burma, who have suffered genocide by the Burmese military and Myanmar government, Star2 channeled these harrowing and heartbreaking experiences into making something of himself and found a space to be free and express himself through music.
Having collaborated with many artists and racking up fan and critical acclaim, Star2 continues to make new music and has upcoming singles and music videos completed and due for release with Soulja Boy, $tupid Young, and two more with Lil Poppa.
Words: Patti Sanchez