Star2 is only getting started, and he already has a feature from one of the most influential artists in the rap game: Soulja Boy. Most recently, the Asian-American recording artist tapped frequent collaborator Luh Kel along with Big Draco to shoot a music video for their newest collaborative single “New Me”, taking over a beautiful house in Tarzana, California. The vibes were immaculate, and AllHipHop had the pleasure of pulling up to partake in the festivities.
Born in a refugee camp in Thailand to then moving to San DIego, Star2’s story is one to be remembered by. His rough upbringing would result in the discovery of his love for music, quickly finding solace in writing his own songs, fine-tuning his voice, and of course, working with undeniable passion. With the ability to both sing and rap, Star 2 is ready to do whatever it takes to become one of the greats.
AllHipHop: How’d you get your name?
Star2: My name is Star, my last name is Htoo (with a silent ‘h’). The meaning of “Htoo” in my language is gold, like a star. As a kid, I’ve always wanted to be a star. My mom-a-ger (manager), this white American lady, her name is Star also. When I met her, I’m like damn. When I got my U.S. citizenship, I formally changed my name to Star. I kept my foreign last name, just to keep that heritage
AllHipHop: How would you describe your sound?
Star 2: I listened to Luh Kel (we have two music videos together now). He has a dope ass voice. I’ve listened to every rapper, to be honest. I don’t like to discriminate, I give every artist a chance. Every artist can make a #1 hit if they keep working at it. (Hopefully me too).
My sound is R&B, Hip Hop, rap— I try to pull from all of them. I try to sound different, not the same as every other artist. I try to mix singing and rap together. It’s hard for an Asian artist to enter the rap game, but I’m trying to break through. I believe I can do it and have something to contribute.
AllHipHop: I hear you, do you ever feel like it’s difficult being Asian in Hip Hop?
Star2: To be honest, it is. People discriminate a lot, but there’s always going to be haters no matter what. Even your own people are going to hate sometimes. Your whole community’s not going to support you, so what do you do? Give up? Chase your dreams and move away from the community that pulls you down. Once you’re good, they’re gonna be like “oh, I’ve always been a fan” type thing. Every one of them!
AllHipHop: When did you first fall in love with music?
Star2: I was 5 or 6 when I flew into the US, then in California. I started listening to Justin Bieber first, Bruno Mars, Tupac, Biggie. All those from rap to singing, everything. That’s when I started falling in love with it. Going to school, when I was a little boy, I loved girls but couldn’t date, of course. I was hella shy but full of emotion. I’d come home and sing about them. [laughs] It was embarrassing, but that’s how it all started. Then I took it seriously when I turned 16.
AllHipHop: Were you working anywhere before? What were you doing beforehand?
Star2: Well, I was in school. I went to college for a while, but I stopped. I didn’t even have a major then, I just got in and got out because I was doing music full time. Before that, when I had gotten out of high school, I was working chopping meat at the Asian market. You know the meat people at the meat section, where the Asian people be chopping the meat all the time? Asian food is the best to me. That’s what I did before. I graduated from high school a year early so I could focus more on music. Ever since then, I’ve given music my all. I’ve given my time, my energy, my heart, my everything.
AllHipHop: How’d you link with Luh Kel originally?
Star2: It was through a member of our team from Ohio, Kris. He knows Big Heff from Cleveland. My mom-a-ger’s assistant manager, Kris, has got connections with Big Heff who knows Kel. We saw that Luh Kel was doing features. We hit him up and he loved our song, “I Wanna Get F’d Up”, we finished the song and did a video together. It was a dope music video, it was a movie!. Green screen, CGI, it was pretty dope.
Ever since then, we stayed locked in. I followed him, he followed me back. First, I invited him for this shoot with Soulja Boy. Big Draco. I just invited him. He wanted to come too, he said “yeah I’m down. Let me know.” My mom-a-ger was asking if Luh Kel wanted to hop on the song, because I had two verses. So I had to take out my second verse, which I was fine with. I sent the blank second verse, after Draco’s, and he sent it back that same day. It was fire! Everyone wants to go up so we’re all going to take each other up. It’s all love.
AllHipHop: What can we expect from this video shoot? I know you’re about to do a strip club scene.
Star2: Yes. [whistles] There’s going to be a pool scene where all the females are going to be in bikinis, everyone’s in the water playing. There’s going to be a strip club scene with me and Big Draco throwing the money. It’s my money. Have you heard about the Usher money? What he did in the strip club, where he didn’t pay them money? Usher went to a strip club, he shot a music video too but he didn’t throw real money. So he got sued for that, because it was his face at the end of the day on the money bills. All the money he threw, it was his face, not real money.
AllHipHop: That’s crazy!
Star2: So it’s my money, like $10K. We know it’s fake. They know it’s fake too, because we pay them to act.
AllHipHop: Soulja boy is a legend, how does it feel doing a song and video with one of the biggest artists?
Star2: It’s crazy, it feels crazy. It feels unbelievable and I’m grateful for everything. Man, it’s gon’ be history fasho. With you here too!
AllHipHop: Talk about linking with $tupid Young on “Big Bands,” that’s my guy.
Star2: Me and $tupid Young did “Big Bands” when I was 16-17 years old. I wasn’t even 18 yet, I was pretty young. I was nervous, we recorded that. He drove down to San Diego…
AllHipHop: From Long Beach?
Star2: Yeah, he came with a whole lot of people. We rented a studio for hours. We did that and never dropped it. It’s been a couple years and we hadn’t dropped it. It’s been from me being 16-17 years to I’m 20 now, so it’s been a long time. We’re about to drop it in a week or two. I have another song with him, it’s called “6 Feet Away.” That one goes even harder. We’re both on the hook, we’re both spitting verses. That one’s gonna go hard fasho!
AllHipHop: 3 things you need in the studio at all times?
Star2: I have to be honest, I need Fiji water, my phone to write my lyrics, and the producer and the engineer. Then we let it… you know. The homies wanna pop in, they can come in, but I’m chillin’ alone too.
AllHipHop: What do you want fans to get from your story?
Star2: I want them to see how far I’ve come. I want fans to do research on artists before they judge them, because words hurt and they be hurting some people too. Some artists give up, it’s a lot of artists who be giving up when they’re on the verge of ‘about to make it’ type thing. I’ve seen that happen and it’s crazy. So you know $tupid Young, you know Heartbreaka? He’s a San Diego artist too. See, you probably don’t know. He’s got a couple millions too, he did a couple songs with $tupid Young but he stopped and had kids. I don’t want to do that, I’m trying to make it first before anything.
AllHipHop: Are you still independent?
Star2: Yes. [laughs] It’s dope because I get to do what I want to do, and people can’t tell me what to do. I get to be me, most of all. I don’t get a label telling me I gotta do that, I gotta do this. Independent is pretty good for now, but I don’t mind getting a cosign.
AllHipHop: What are you most excited for next?
Star2: To be honest, when I go on tour and start touring. But I’m hella excited for this music video too, with Big Draco and Luh Kel. I know it’s gonna be fire, because we spent hella loot on this. It’s gonna be fire.
AllHipHop: Anything else fans should know about you?
Star2: I’m a refugee, I come from a refugee camp called Mae La. I came here when I was 5 or 6. I told you that. When I was a little boy, my mom abandoned me. My mom and dad split. My grandma took care of me and ever since then, she’s been my mom. I want them to know that there’s a lot of struggle behind my story, so to know me and give me a chance in this game. I’m about to change this whole industry.
Luh Kel spoke on what it meant to collab again, while unveiling he’s working on his new album.
Luh Kel: Man, it means everything man. Man we live, we lit. This is what Life is for. This is the lifestyle man. Especially me and Star2 on a track together with Soulja Boy? Just make it perfect!
The first collaboration was amazing, so the second one is always a double threat man. Just going crazy in this hoe!
Soulja Boy had nothing but positive words as well, plugging the second season of his TV show, The Life of Draco, on REVOLT TV.
Soulja Boy: We outside, we working. The video shoot’s always lit, because we in LA.
We in Cali, the weather back right and it ain’t cold. Bikinis is out, cars is out. The Lambos, the top down. The video gon’ be hard fasho.