From listening to your music, the first thing that really caught me was that most of your music has a message and a lot of depth to it. How important is that to you?
All of my songs, I really try to do that. When I get a beat, I really live with the beat for weeks and I ride around with it until I come up with the perfect idea or the perfect concept for the record. I don’t believe in doing a record just to do it or giving a 16 just because I can put together a 16. I really want it to have meaning for the fans because there are a lot of people out here who listen to music and they really listen to music. You have your people out here who listen to simple music and they like simplicity and sing-songy music but I get in-depth because I want to take the people places.
First impressions are very important in this game. Do you think you’re making a good first impression to the casual fan by coming with serious music right out the gate?
I don’t think that the people accept records that I do to be your first record in the game. Kanye was an exception with “Through the Wire.” But if you put your heart and your soul into a record, people can feel that immediately. Me, I always say that I want to go with my heart and with what I believe in and not what somebody else believed in.
What inspired you to write “CellMate”?
With “CellMate,” I had a lot of friends that were coming home and I have uncles who were locked up and they always had a situation with a female. They’d talk about the chick coming to see them but she would be off with another dude around the ‘hood. It would be one of his boys telling him that he saw her with such-and-such. It was just writing about that situation that actually happens. That’s what makes me write my records. With every record that I write, that’s how I get the record, just off of a situation that may have happened to me, you or somebody else.
How does Newark inspire the music you make?
It really inspires me to come out because we have never really had a voice besides Redman. After Redman we never really had a voice after that. We have a lot of talent but we haven’t gotten our chance and it’s like everybody tries to put every rapper from Newark in a box of being like Redman. Redman is a classic, man. Redman is a classic dude and he’s a pioneer and there’s nobody like him. The people don’t give you a chance to actually hear a different artist. When a lot of people hear me they don’t believe that that’s where I’m from. They say I don’t rap like people from Newark. How do people from Newark rap? I just want to be that voice for New Jersey. And I actually had the chance to speak to Jay-Z on the radio because I’m real, real tight with Ed Lover. He patched me through to speak to Jay and I told Jay that I would be the voice for New Jersey and for Newark. He told me that from what he’s heard and what Ed told me, it sounded like I had everything in order an d keep pushing and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since, man.
I’ve talked to a lot of great artists from Newark that never blew up. Do you think it has something to do with work ethic as well?
I think it has to do with artists uniting, man. I think if more artists unite, it’ll be different. You have a lot of people trying to climb up the ladder and other people knocking them down. I think if everybody unites the way that I know it can happen, we’ll have our chance. The South united and they all came in one by one. They just kept jumping in behind each other. I think the same kind of thinking can happen in Newark where the others unite and help each other instead of knocking each other down.
You grew up rhyming with Postaboy. What was it like rhyming with him back in the day?
We’ve had a relationship for 11 years, before “Jurassic Harlem” came out. He was from Harlem and I was from Newark and we had this management team that was working with us at the time that brought Postaboy over to Jersey and he came to the studio with us and out of everybody, me and him just meshed well. We just meshed real well and from that day forward it was just a genuine relationship, man. We just stayed true to each other and it’s been that way ever since, from me supporting him through the cancer shit and me supporting him through other shit and him supporting me through the things that I go through. We just have a real genuine relationship, which is something you don’t see every day in rap.
You signed with Jae Millz’ label Wanna Blow Entertainment. How did that deal come about?
I had this kid named Von who is still a good friend of mine. He took me around Nige and Tone and Wanna Blow. I spit for them and they heard the records that I had and they could see that I made real songs and real records. They embraced me, man. I’m not going to lie, the whole family over there embraces me, from Jae Millz to everybody. That’s kind of like my extended family. I have my own label Bottom Music and they’re my extended family. It was kind of different for me because I’m from Jersey and you, now there’s always been that New York-New Jersey thing going on. They took me in and they embraced me and it was no problem. It was kind of like the perfect marriage.
What made you want to sign to Wanna Blow?
They let me be my own man. That’s the whole thing right now. Right now I’m stepping in the forefront and being my own man and taking care of my own career because they have a lot on their plates as well. I stepped up and took my career in my own hands at this point. With Paolo at Wanna Blow overseas, my overseas market is really good right now. My market in Italy and other places is crazy. I really wanted to branch out and come to that market and then come back to the U.S. market and have the U.S. market accept what I’ve done already because it’s hard to go to Europe and get known and them come back to the U.S. and get known.
What kind of response do you get overseas?
Overseas it’s crazy, man. I got records with a lot of big artists over there like S.A.S. and the biggest artist in Italy. They just embrace me, man. From the time I jumped off the plane, it was just totally different, man. I had never experienced nothing like that in my life and I think that every artist should experience that.
You also have your own label Bottom Music. What are you doing with that?
With Bottom Music, that’s basically the flagship. That’s just my way of trying to get in the door first and kicking in the door first and that’s going to be my platform for bringing other artists through and letting them feel the game and seeing what it is and seeing everything happening. That’s what Bottom Music is. My motto is that in order to reach the top you must start from the bottom. It’s like, okay, if your right hand is winning, I want to be with the left because he hasn’t won a game yet. I want to get with him so he can win a game. That’s my whole thing right there. I like to start with things that people are not paying attention to or I can take something that’s old and rusty and make it shine. That’s why I came up with Bottom Music. I want to work with artists who haven’t had a chance to blow.
You released your first Bottom Music mixtape which has a lot of great songs on it. How are you going to make sure more people hear it?
We’re going to re-release it. I’m working with Paolo and the rest of the team overseas. We’re going to release it before we release the next project coming straight from me. We know the people didn’t get a taste of it the way we wanted them to and that a lot of songs probably went over their heads. For you to point out “CellMate” shows me that you’re a listener. We’re going to let the people hear that again and then we’re going to hit them with the new project so they’re going to have a two for one.
What should we expect from Starsky in ’09?
We’re really going to flood the web because everything has taken to the web. You guys have been on the web for a long time already so you’re already way ahead of the game. A lot of people didn’t see it coming but HipHopGame was there already and it’s one of those platforms that got a lot of people on already.
I’m a student of the game and I’m going to get in. I’m not going to act like I know everything. I’m watching how this internet game is moving and we’re definitely going to put 85-90% into the internet and still not forget about the streets because that’s where a lot of stuff starts. And Ed Lover believes in what I’m doing and he told me that whatever I needed, he’s got me. But I don’t go to him for everything. I try to be my own man and that’s what it’s about for me to get it started. But ’09, we definitely got the Bottom Music compilation coming out this summer and we’re working on the website right now and Bottom Music TV.