Stro is far from a rookie, but the Brooklyn rapper just dropped his debut album Grade A Frequencies in April. During the press run for the project, the Astronomical Kid stopped by the HipHopDX office to talk to Editor-in-Chief Trent Clark about a variety of topics.
The 20-year-old MC delved into his latest creation and touched on his acting ventures, but also shared his unfiltered thoughts on everything from New York radio to misguided fans promoting wack artists. Check out highlights of the conversation below and view the entire interview above. Make sure to watch until the end to hear Stro kick a dope freestyle too.
On Being Lyrical In The Current Rap Landscape
“It’s always a good time to be a lyrical rapper. I think it’s very risky now ’cause once you come on the track with bars, you automatically … like it’s harder for you to get radio play. It’s harder for you to get those looks ’cause you actually making sense and not mumbling and doing what everybody else doing. It’s very risky but I think it means more for the culture in the long run.”
On What He Hopes To Accomplish With Grade A Frequencies
“I hope it just puts me in the conversation. I feel like this game is very weird as far as just like … especially the journalism. It’s like people, it seems like they purposely leave me out of the conversation. It has a lot to do with me going away, like I said, doing the acting for long periods of time. I could drop something extremely dope and people will feel like, ‘Yeah, but he an actor. We don’t wanna talk about him.’ Now it’s like with this project, I wanna force people to put me in the conversation. And I feel that. Like the feedback I’m getting is different people talking about it, different people reviewing it. People from different walks of life like bad girls hitting me up from overseas like, ‘Yo, you did a great job.’ So, I appreciate that. I want this project to do that for me, to get me in the conversation. So when you talking about up-and-coming MCs, especially from New York, it’s like you gotta talk about Stro.”
On The State Of The New York Rap Industry
“I ain’t trying to bring nothing back, and I think that’s the problem with New York, man. We keep trying to bring stuff back. That’s wack to me. That’s really … I’m tryna branch out of that. I feel like you listen to my older music, I sound like some depressed ass kid who listens to boom bap all day and that’s not who I am. But that was me at a point in my career where I was trying to do stuff to make New York happy. But then I realized New York don’t know what the hell we want. I know DJs in New York. My homies is DJs, rappers, and it’s getting to a point where we so desperate to be on the map that we take anything we can get. It could be the dumbest song in the world, [but] if the dude is from New York and he from the streets and he’s viral online, DJs will know the record is stupid, but it’s like, ‘Damn, we ain’t got nothing else? Alright, let’s play it. This the hottest thing in New York!’ You’ll hear DJs on the radio [say], ‘Hottest record in New York!’ They don’t know what the hell they want, so I’m not gonna be the guy tryna satisfy New York DJs, New York journalists ’cause they all over the place right now. As far as the consumers in New York and the people, I represent them. But as far as the industry in New York, y’all a lil’ [all] over the place and I’m not doing it for y’all anymore.”
On Fans Focusing On Polarizing New Artists Instead Of Looking For Alternatives
“[Lil] Yachty’s actually a genius because people are so stupid. They don’t understand how he’s using you to promote his music. If you love Biggie, you know who Lil Yachty is and he don’t even care about Biggie. But you know who Lil Yachty is because all the older heads’ll get on they page and promote. ‘Yo, I hate this new generation. I’m gonna put this guy’s video on my Instagram and show you who he is.’ But they don’t put an artist like myself on who’s paying homage to the OGs. They put an artist who ain’t really on that wavelength on. And I feel like we gotta get back to controlling what we promote and what we love and what we like. And when we get there, it’ll be easier to say Hip Hop is alive.”