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Next Up: Astro


New artists and styles come and go with each passing year. That new wave you thought was poppin’ just six months ago has already been replaced by a new sound (or something rehashed). Producers have become the hit-makers and rarely does an act or group claim the attention of hip-hop’s audience for very long. It’s the reality of the music business these days and in the age of the Internet rapper there’s so much to pay attention to.

It ain’t like it used to be. And at least one rapper kind of wishes it was. Actually, we know thousands of rappers and fans who wish hip-hop would go back to the good ol’ days but we typically think of those people as old. Well, here’s a twist. What if one of those people was born after hip-hop’s Golden Age? That’s Astro.

The 18-year-old Brooklyn native wasn’t even alive before some of his favorite albums were released but that isn’t stopping him from finding what he likes. That same Internet that has clouded the airwaves of hip-hop is simultaneously responsible for educating younger fans who thirst for that old fashioned quality. It’s evident in his music too. Dissatisfied with what was available to him during the time he became a rapper, Astro went back in time and found something he loved.

“I wanted to be a change in hip-hop and I want to be the change I want to see. When you have a lot of music that you don’t like–that you know is not lyrical–you go back and discover lyrical music. People were saying Illmatic is a classic so I listened to see why it was a classic and that’s how I became a fan.”

Releasing his most recent project, Computer Era toward the tail end of 2014, Astro gave fans a taste of what he’s on as of late. And it isn’t what’s being played on his hometown radio. New York radio, he believes is generally not giving it’s own city’s artists a shot. It’s something he hopes will change.

“New York is really lost right now to keep it 100. Not as far as the artists, we’re doing what we can. We’re doing what we can to keep that New York energy within the music but as far as the motherfuckers that are supposed to be OGs out here like the radio DJs, the radio personalities, everybody, they lost. They’re cosigning the garbage because I guess that’s networking because you know somebody who know somebody it’s easy to get a record put on New York radio… I’m not rapping to be the best out of New York. I’m rapping to be the best. I’m from New York. I am New York. My music is New York. That’s all it is.”

Astro has plenty of time and understands he has growing to do. And he definitely doesn’t want to be grouped in with the 90s and be labeled a “nostalgia rapper.” He just makes the music that speaks to him. It’s all organic and certainly homegrown.

“I’m an old soul just by the things I gravitate toward. I don’t just listen to old rap. I listen to like 80s pop–different types of music so I don’t think I can really move away from that even if I wanted to. It’s just who I am.

“I’m a product and a prodigy, meaning as much love as I get from different people, I get that love because of guys like Nas and guys like Raekwon because of what they created. I’m in line with their styles so I’m a product of my environment. I’m trying to change the world for music. I think like after people like [Tupac] got on the mic there’s no way you can just rap anymore… I make records but still be lyrical in a way and still maintain that emcee level of spitting. I think when a good amount of people hear it, that’s when it’s going to get the due amount of respect it deserves.”

– Paul Meara (@PaulMeara)

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Banner photo via TeenNick

Related: Astro – Computer Era (Album Stream) | Video: Astro ft. Spade – Champion

Previously: Next Up: Dave EastNext Up: Cozz | Next Up: DeJ Loaf | Interview: John Buccigross is ESPN’s Biggest Hip-Hop Nerd | Next Up: Rome Fortune | Interview: Prodigy & Boogz Boogetz’ Young Rollin’ Stoners Album showcases two Generations of Queens Hip-Hop

View all Next Up features HERE.

Catch up on all NahRight interviews and features HERE.

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