Spotlight

Star2: Rising Rap Star Talks Music & Journey from Thai Refugee Camp to streets of San Diego

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Star2

Meet the Rising R&B and Hip Hop Star

Born in Thailand, and eventually made his way to San Diego, Star2’s journey has been a path of many obstacles. With overcoming these obstacles Star2 has built a promising career in music. Originally born in a refugee camp in Thailand, his journey began walking hundreds of miles through the jungle to escape Burmese soldiers of the Myanmar government, who have been out to destroy Star2’s people, the Karen minority group.

From the jungles of Southeast Asia, after facing adversity and racial opposition, Star2 made his way into the heart of the trenches of San Diego. With no father or mother by his side, his grandmother was chosen in a lottery to be able to migrate to the United States, in which Star2 came with her at the age of 6. Unfortunately, it wasn’t easy for Star2 as a young kid living in the inner city, his family struggled financially and he lived with an uncle who was addicted to drugs.

star2

Despite of everything he had to overcome, Star2 would eventually find his way to a life of music. With his first official release being “Missin U,” Star2 has now emerged as one of the top rising Asian artists. A singer, songwriter, and rapper who blends pop, R&B and hip-hop has created his own unique sound that are influenced by his experiences and real life events.

Since 2020, Star2 has released a series of singles. “I Wanna Get F’d Up,” featuring Luh Kel, a song about heartbreak, abandonment, and disillusionment in a raw and authentic narrative of lost love. “December,” a romantic song about new love with a reggae feel to it. Star2’s latest release, “Real Life,” a hit song with top southern rapper Lil Poppa, from Jacksonville, Florida. Star2 and Lil Poppa bond through their experiences growing up in inner city poverty by singing, “I live in a place where you hear sirens all the time.”

Star2 – “Thinkin Bout YoU”

“Thinkin Bout U” is Star2’s next pop selection. In the music video for this catchy, acoustic-guitar-based love song, reminiscent of the Plain White T’s “Hey There Delilah”, our hero is depicted as an “everyday Joe”.  A Lyft-driver to be exact, who is taken with his beautiful fare from a chic Hollywood hotel. Star2, as fate would have it, unknowingly meets this very girl online.  Later in the song, as he has fantasies and hallucinations about her throughout his week, he discovers the girl he has been texting is the girl from the hotel!

Star2 – Thinkin Bout You (Official Music Video)

Meet and Get To Know Star2

Kulture Vulturez: Your journey is quite special, you were originally born in Thailand?

Star2: Originally, yeah, a Thai refugee camp.

Kulture Vulturez: Everything you had to overcome to get here. Does that give you extra motivation and make you believe that you have a bigger purpose?

Star2: Oh yeah, for sure. Because over there, where we were, there’s technology that we have here today in the U.S., but there’s none over there. My people are going through so much, they are running away from Burmese military. They have to be scared for their life every day, you know. While I’m over here, having fun, and chillin’, I was like, ‘Damn bro, I should do something to put my name out there, to put my people out there,’ and after that, if I make it, I could  go back and help my people.

Kulture Vulturez: Do you still have any memories of your journey coming here?

Star2: I do, a little bit, but not so much, because I came when I was a little kid. Yeah, I have memories. At night, it would be pitch dark. There’s no like street lights, because it’s a dirt road. So, I would walk into potholes and hit my leg, bump into a rock or a tree because basically we’re walking around with a lit up little one candle for each person. Food is hard to get, because the refugee camp is up in the mountains, so you have to go down sometimes. People have to go to Thai markets to transport food from here and there.

Star2 – Real Life feat. Lil Poppa (Official Music Video)

Kulture Vulturez: When you arrived here, did you have your share of struggles trying to adapt to the culture and environment?

Star2: When I arrived here it was pretty hard to adapt to it at first, but then it got easier as the years went by. When I first got here, I didn’t know English, so that was a big problem. You don’t understand what people are saying. And the food over here [in America] is different from the food over there [in Thailand]. A neighbor would welcome us and give us a box of pizza, and my grandma would throw it away because she doesn’t know what it was. I’m like, I was a little kid, ‘I’ll eat, I’ll eat it.’ But my grandma threw it away like, ‘Oh, it’s probably not good,’ stuff like that, ‘it’ll get us sick.’

It was pretty hard because we didn’t have a translator at the time. The translator will only come by check in every week or so. You just have to do it by yourself, you just have to learn. I learned to read and stuff [like that] by just doing it, bro, nobody’s going [to help you]. The teacher at school, they’d teach you,  but it was pretty difficult, because I didn’t even know ABCs and all that stuff.

It took me a while to learn, but then it became easier. When they brought us here, they straight put us in the middle of a bad neighborhood. The image we imagine, was like a beach scene by the beach, white people and suburbs. But they put us in the trenches. We all have to start from somewhere. It was better than being back in a refugee camp, for sure, though.

Kulture Vulturez: Do you feel like your journey, where you came from, prepared you for life as an artist?

Star2: Sometime I forget about the place [I come] from, and I forget about the struggle I went through, because I have so much going on right now, I am just enjoying life. Sometimes I get a little petty, you know. But, when I am down, when I am sad, I remember about the place I am from. I am like, ‘Damn man, I can’t be [feeling down and sad].’ I just straighten myself out, and say let’s start working again.

So, it motivates me just to keep working, keep going. There are other artists out there, rappers, they are rocking big chains, diamonds, and designer clothes, I have that too, but I really don’t care about that. I’m really trying to stack up my bread, make bread and stack it up. Just trying to be happy and give back to the community. Always. That’s just me, man. I want to give it back and stay humble. You know, just want to be humble forever.

Star2 – December (Official Music Video)

Kulture Vulturez: So, where did your love for music come from?

Star2: My love for music comes from, man, I have no idea. It just came out of nowhere. When I was a kid, when I first got here, I started listening to Justin Bieber, you know, that type of stuff. I would go to school, and at that time kids would make fun of you if you are a boy listening to Justin Bieber. I was like a low key fan, but not a huge fan, but I didn’t want to let anybody know.

I was listening to Justin Bieber and my uncle. My uncle would always go to church, and he played like guitars, drums, and all that stuff. That motivated me. He was a singer and songwriter also in the Karen culture. That motivated me to start doing my own thing and start practicing on my own. I just started singing at night when I was alone, I was just like vibin’ out by myself.

Kulture Vulturez: What is the special meaning behind your name, Star2

Star2: Honestly. Well, my last name is like H-t-o-o, Htoo, [which means gold]. I met this American lady, and her name is Star. She kind of straightened me out into a different path. She showed me the bigger picture of the world. She showed me that anything is possible if you put your mind to it, [along with putting] hard work and sweat and tears into it. So, I was like I’m gonna keep my last name and then take her first name. I’m going to make some history out of that nightmare, to try to make something happen. I’ve always wanted to be a superstar. So, I’m like, star and two is the perfect name for me as an artist. And nobody has it.

Kulture Vulturez: Do you remember your first official release?

Star2: My first official release was Missin U.

Kulture Vulturez: You have a few bangers like “Real Life”, “I Wanna Get F’d Up,” “December” and your recent release of “Thinkin Bout U”, does that give you inspiration and make you feel like it’s only up from here?

Star2: Yeah, bro. It’s only up from here. I know sometimes I be like, I’m not where [I want to be at yet]. I feel like quitting sometimes, [but] I’m like I can’t do that. I have put in so much, so many years, so much time, and people invested in me. So, I’m like, damn bro, I can’t give up yet. I would even die trying, just to make it at this moment. I just can’t give up, but it’s only up from here. I got a lot of awesome things happening to me at the moment. Things are starting to work out, starting to kick off.

Kulture Vulturez: Breakdown your latest single “Thinkin Bout You.” What’s the story behind it?

Star2: My latest single Thinkin Bout You, it was about, you know, I wrote it about a chick, a girl I met online. First, we just talk and stuff, and then it became a little serious after a few weeks. She lives like 1600 miles away. So, I’m like damn, sometimes I’d be in the studio and I don’t know what to write about. My producer put up a few beats, I’m like ‘next, next, this one here.’  The hook came out of nowhere. It’s like 1am in the studio, and I’m like that’s a good hook. I laid it down [on the track], and it became the hook and I the put the verses in. It was about a girl that I liked. All my music is about my life or it’s about somebody close to me.

Star2 ft. Luh Kel – I Wanna Get F’D Up (Official Music Video)

Kulture Vulturez: With everything you have been through, do you feel like your music can possibly make a difference in someone else’s life?

Star2: I think so, bro. I have fans hitting me up saying, I want to be like you, and hitting me up like ‘Damn bro, I could relate to that song.’ Some be like, I love your love songs. My fans love my love songs, even though they’re guys. They’d be like, you should make more of that. Even though some guys be like, I want to be hard or be like hardcore gangster, but every man cries. We all be in our feelings sometimes. If it’s the right female, trust me, any guy will simp. (LOL)

Kulture Vulturez: So, what is next for you?

Star2: What’s next for me? I need to shoot a music video with an artist named $tupid Young because the fans been wanting me to do some rap stuff. So, I got surprises, like some dope rap songs. They never heard me rap before, they only heard me sing. The thing is, I started off by rapping, bro. I used to write poems like rhymes and stuff. I used to write in my notebooks. That’s where I started off from before I started to sing.

As a kid, I couldn’t sing. I never took singing classes. So, I started off with rapping and then I met my producer. She’s like, ‘Oh, have you tried to sing?’ [I started only singing] for a while, but then the fans started to kick in like, we want you to do a collab with this Asian artist named $tupid Young. He’s hella hot right now in Long Beach. I’m like, for sure.

So, I reach out to big bro, and [now I have] two songs coming out with [$tupid Young]. One is called “Big Bands,” coming out, probably in April, and I got another one. We have to shoot the music video for it. I also have a feature with Draco, [also known as] Soulja Boy. That’s on the way. So, a lot of big things happening.

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