To some people, hip-hop is just a genre of good music to listen to, to others it’s a style that inspired them and influenced them to rap. But to Stro, it’s a culture that’s a part of his upbringing that affected him in a way so profound that it carved him into an MC.
Is there a difference between a rapper and an MC? According to this Brooklyn breed artist, there is a distinct line between being a part of the culture of hip-hop, and making the culture work for you. Stro feels that everyone has a right to rap if that’s what the music inspires you to do, but being an MC is greater than that.
“That’s what the situation is with a lot of the rappers in the game now, they heard a rap song, they got inspired by it and they decided to be a part of it, and it works for them but, they aren’t really meant to be a part of the culture, they don’t serve a greater purpose…”
Stro continues to explain the heaviness an MC holds to help people, in some shape or form, with their words, and initially change the world through the art. Still, he describes the balance between keeping people aware and interested, and still dropping knowledge.
The MC touches on this idea of “conscious rap”. He agrees that it’s increasing in popularity, but hesitates on the notion of everyone understanding it. He doesn’t like to “put a term” on his sound, however with his music he stresses the awareness of his listeners understanding what he is talking about.
“I don’t want to make my music seem like a class or a history lesson... I feel like a lot of the conscious rap today is so smart that it’s stupid, it just gets boring… I don’t think everybody listens to it and understands it, but I think people like the idea of listening to something real.”
In hip-hop history New York has birthed not only “conscious rappers” and dope lyricist, but also artists with a balance of what people want to hear, and messages they should know. At one point, New York was running the game, but today Stro feels that’s no longer the case.
“Everybody got a big head out here including me, everybody is a star in their own way… The south is doing their thing because they’re unified. We don’t have that in New York, that’s why it’s hard for us to take the title, but we coming back though.”
In talking about his recently released mixtape Best by Far, the music he listens to really inspired how this album played out. He points out New York legends like Jay Z as an influence in his music, as well as 80’s pop. He admits to not listening to a lot of trap music, but not being against it.
“I just feel everybody in the game doesn’t need to be making the same type of music.”
He explains this album was really for his supporters, and him just putting on the tracks whatever he felt at the time.
“I recorded the whole mixtape in 10 days… Wanted it to be an in the moment type thing, because I was so hungry to drop something.”
Stro’s upcoming plans include an EP that he’s about to drop, as well as more visuals from his mixtape. His visual for “Live at BBQ” is currently on YouTube, and he encourages everyone to check out his mixtape, which he defines as just the appetizer for what is to come.