Back in 2007, Blaqstarr broke out as one of Baltimore’s hottest new MCs with his Supastarr EP, an awesomely frenetic seven-song set that featured trunk-rattling bangers and an early cameo from up-and-comer Rye Rye on tracks like “Shake It to the Ground.”
It’s no wonder M.I.A. has become a big fan of his homespun, skeletal brand of hip-hop. The Sri Lankan MC teamed up with the DJ-Producer for tracks on her recently released Vicki Leakx mixtape and will put out Blaqstarr’s second release, The Divine EP, through her N.E.E.T. label on January 25. SPIN has an exclusive stream of the lead-off track “Rider Girl.” Check it out below.
On the song, Blaqstarr builds his lo-fi hip-hop sound by adding in touches of R&B (glossy piano cadences; soulful, melismatic vocals) – imagine Prince re-making Sign ‘O’ the Times as a banging, Baltimore Club record on a beat-up four track recorder.
Blaq’s R&B influence is genuine: “I was born in the ’80s and being an 80’s baby, it’s just in my soul,” he tells SPIN. “My soul just absorbed those vibrations.”
So what’s a “Rider Girl” anyway? “It’s a type of girl that always believes – she never deceives,” he explains. “She’s the type of girl that just has your back. When you see negativity? She clears that and she fills it with positivity. A rider girl always thinks with positivity.”
With his second EP wrapped, Blaqstarr is finally focusing on his first full-length album, which he hopes to release later this year. But he’s got a surprise release in the works first. “Something else has come to mind for me to put out in March,” he says. “It’s a cosmic secret, divinely sent from God, the Mack Daddy of the universe.”
WATCH: Blaqstarr, “Rider Girl”