The Smoking Section (Masthead) Respect Our Fresh!
-P aka Pauwee > you...seriously

Words by Drew Ricketts

Today I saw a commercial for Busta Rhymes' new album. In it, he donned furious chain action, of the ten or twelvefold. One onlooker described his neck as "lifting weights." Usually, I'd find this kind of thing obscene, borderline superfluous -- but this time I was gratified. I was reminded of the reason why hip-hop retains its relevance through time and through trend. The emcees that we remember have the nerve to do what they please and for whatever reason. This is not smart or contrived; it's natural. Aside from the copycats, biters, wannabe, herbs, color-of rappers ('my seats is the color of' et al. or 'my watch is the color of' et al.), there exists a core of driven individualists bent on proving themselves the best.

Cue StarPower: gritty uptown rapper whose rhymes bear the weight of casual intellect and arduous advancement. His power, I esteem, comes from his proposed sense of confidence.
"I demand attention. I don't have the best voice or try to be the most lyrical but niggas listen when I spit because I force them to," Starpower offers. "I feel like 'starpower' is what I have. You know the
it quality people talk about? I feel like that's what I have."

His declaration reads more like gravitas than it does arrogance. Instead of becoming the self-fellating, blindly shifting hustler searching for a record deal, StarPower's songs represent the strong intentions of someone constantly earning cred. On his latest "Death Circus" mixtape, he displays an unguarded collage of rhymes like 'power corrupts -- the talented tenth/the Malcolm in us' and then to 'met a friend on myspace/turned out to be a fatty with a fine face' sparing no candor on either song. When asked if this kind of unusual variety represented the contradiction so heralded in rap, Starpower scoffs "I think that shit is condescending...when people say hip hop is contradictory. I feel just as strongly talking that pro-black shit and if I wanna talk about a dumb ho, I'll talk about a dumb ho."

In this I find the healthy nuance of a true rap athlete. Whether he overpowers you with monstrous flow patterns or insinuates foul humor, StarPower comes across as a genuine aficionado. "I'm a writer's writer so when people hear me I want them to think that." He will bear the legacy of his idea of hip hop's model citizen, B.I.G. The Bronx resident's bouncy cadence channels some Wallace, some Daddy Kane and informs me of how much the music form has come to signify creative expression and ghetto tradition. Even when we are talking about our most heartfelt concerns (like the 'Unforgivable Blackness' tattoo decorating SP's forearm) we can use rap to articulate it. Although "being lyrical is not [his] thing anymore," claims the young braggart, his emphasis is to say more with less. Known to audiences as The Other One and Caligula, he has used a vaudevillian stage presence to identify with common fans and true-school heads alike.

His current premiere single "Clockwork" explains his stance on being overwhelming but underappreciated and the video has circulated steadily since the spring release. If charisma is any indicator of star potential, StarPower has the mark of more than a catchy eponym.

Fireside Tracks by StarPower: "Clockwork," "Sweet Sadie" feat. The Dugout, "Power Corrupts" feat. The Dugout, "Dreams" Download Here To Listen

Drew Ricketts aka DrewBreez


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