Brooklyn rapper Stro, whose LP ‘Grade A Frequencies’ is an OKP premiere.
Brooklyn rapper Stro has been getting lots of attention and recognition in recent years, but he doesn’t enjoy it the way others would – because that attention isn’t from doing what he loves the most. But with his new album Grade A Frequencies, the 20-year-old aims to change that.
“More people come up to me and say, ‘good job on the movie.’ They’re fans of what you do, but they think I’m an actor. They don’t even know I rap,” Stro said while visiting the Okayplayer office. “I’ll put out a video and they’ll say, ‘this is the kid from that movie.’ That gets on my nerves sometimes. I appreciate it, but I’m a rapper. That’s my roots.”
Stro has gotten much of his money in recent years from acting, appearing in films like Earth To Echo, A Walk Among The Tombstones and Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. But rap fans know him as Astro or Stro, the young’n who destroyed the “Five Fingers of Death” freestyle on Sway In The Morning while he was just a teenager. He tried out TV and film because his talent agency had the resources, and he landed the first role that he auditioned for. But despite his enjoyment of performing in front of the camera, his passion was in music – and he realized he was only acting for the paycheck.
“Any time you do something where money is the moral of the story, it’s never good, even when it’s fun. There was never a depressing moment. But it’s definitely disappointing when you come home and more people are mentioning you for acting than for rap,” Stro said. “I’ve never had dreams about acting, but I’ve had dreams about performing at the Grammys and at different shows. These are dreams I’m trying to bring to reality. Leaving the game for a long period of time, people forget about you. I’m not trying to do that no more.”
Stro released the B.E.S.T B.Y F.A.R mixtape in February 2016, and leaked multiple songs this year with his The Flood series. Now, his new LP Grade A Frequencies shows him taking on a new level of conviction. He said he feels more of a responsibility after seeing his younger sister only listen to what he calls “yah rap.”
“I see the way it influences her decisions: the way she talks, the slang she uses. For a long time I was ignorant to that effect. The music really affects these kids,” he said. “I am who I am because of the music I came up on, so I understand the effect music has on a subconscious level. It really shapes the kind of person you become.”
Listen to Grade A Frequencies below. It’s available on iTunes, and all streaming services.
is a journalist who covers music, pop culture, film/TV, race, culture and social justice. He is an editor at Okayplayer, and his work has appeared in Complex, Billboard, Guardian, NPR, MTV, Ebony, HipHopDX, The Flint Journal-MLive, and other publications.