Music has always been there for the conscious rapper Star2, who fled a Thai refugee camp as a child and navigated his youth in San Diego. Now, the singer-songwriter raises awareness for the world's many struggles in his latest single and music video, 'Run Away."
There's something about music with intention and purpose that never fails to grab the attention of any listener, and young rapper Star2 has mastered this through each release. The San Diego artist creates honest tracks that cover love, identity, and real-world issues that anyone can relate to.
Flowing his poetry through our speakers with the new single, "Run Away," Star2 uses this track to shed light on the many tragic and horrific events taking place throughout the globe. Star2's lyrical honesty and relatable phrases are bound to resonate with listeners worldwide, as he takes time to touch on war, homelessness, Black Lives Matter, and much more.
Peaking at the music video for "Run Away," the experience opens with Star2 strolling into a TV-screen-packed room displaying the many tragedies roaming the earth. What's just as compelling is Star2's passionate and emotional performance that sees him opening his heart out of respect for the lives lost, suffering, and confused as to what might strike next.
Star2's bars hit us with a powerful concept that discusses how we often worry about wealth when there are people who struggle to survive, have serious health complications, and suffer under the deadly weight of tyranny. The many reflective scenes in the song's music video bring a sharp sense of urgency to lend a helping hand however we can.
Face the music and don't "Run Away" from experiencing such a needed visual and lyrical concept within Star2's latest single and music video, now available on YouTube and all digital streaming platforms.
Welcome to Buzz Music, Star2. We genuinely appreciate the sense of urgency you’ve brought to your recent single and music video for “Run Away.” What inspired you to put everything else aside and write a song about the world’s ongoing tragic events?
Thank you for interviewing me! “Run Away” happened after I spent many weeks up in LA writing music. It was during the pandemic and specifically during the Black Lives Matter protests where the song took root. The hook just poured out. At critical times in my life, I literally have wanted to “run away” to safety; I have also felt “fuck the world” – both part of the hook. I was born in a refugee camp, Mae La, in Thailand on the border with Myanmar. My people, the Ka-ren people of Burma have experienced genocide. My family walked 500 miles through the jungle to reach our camp…one of nine, with 55,000 people…after soldiers attacked their village, killed people, and burned it to the ground. The camp is surrounded by barbed wire, guards, and guard dogs. There are land mines outside the camp in the jungle. There is very little food. We receive rice and fish paste once a month. We go into the jungle to kill small animals and birds with slingshots, pick fruit and dig up roots for more food. We fetch water every day. There is no electricity, bathrooms, or paved roads. At age six, my grandma was chosen by lottery to go to the United States with her four kids. My mom abandoned me in the camp as a baby and my grandma took care of me; I went with my grandma to the U.S. We arrived in City Heights, San Diego – a place where Vietnamese refugees settled in the 1970s. It’s in Southeast, San Diego, (“Daygo”) a poor area with poverty, crime, drugs, and gangs. My grandma’s oldest son, my uncle, got addicted to drugs and went to jail. My grandma left before sunrise to pick mushrooms to support us. I was left in charge of her three youngest children and began fighting in the neighborhood streets and getting in trouble. My life has been one of continuous upheaval and danger since I was born. I wanted to share my own history and the story of other people all over the world who have to run for their lives from violence. I wanted to share the feeling that the world is against you. I also wanted to address homelessness, and the environmental destruction we have caused our world. At some point, we have to rise up and demand that our society changes. We saw this with the Black Lives Matter marches. We see it with the incredibly brave people in Ukraine.
How did you come up with the conceptual scenes in the music video for “Run Away?" Did you have anyone help you out during this process?
I laid out the scenes for the music video after scouting locations where we could project news images. Initially, my producer, Chico Bennett, and I thought about using a white screen…but we found an interesting LED warehouse in Compton, California. They manufacture LED panels that project moving images on the outside of high-rise buildings, restaurants, and high-end stores. In New York City, they show images of surfing and the beach in larger-than-life dimensions that literally stop people on the street. They have a showroom in the warehouse to show customers their panels in action – we took a tour and had the idea of throwing up the insane images of everything we had been experiencing – the border patrol agents whipping Haitian immigrants; the Black Lives Matter protestors getting beaten with batons; the tornadoes in Kentucky that wiped out entire neighborhoods because of climate change; the seas of homeless people in LA in other parts of the US – and using it for the video. We created a reel of these images in a loop and set them to the song track. When we filmed the video in the warehouse and saw the images projected onto the LED panels, larger than life, we all froze. Several on our team started to cry. It was incredibly powerful and very sad too.
What did you want the viewer to take away from the music video “Run Away?" What impact did you want the video to have on your audience?
I made the video as a tribute to all those experiencing injustice in the world. I wanted the audience to react to the injustice, inhumanity, and the fucked-up state of the world. I wanted to explore what we witnessed, experienced, and felt emotional -- and to ask everyone to consider how it could be different and how we could fix it. At the end of the video, I ask everyone to pray for peace in our world. I wear a sweatshirt in the video with a peace sign. I am the narrator who watches society’s horrors on an old tv set. There are scenes of my Ka-ren people fighting back against the Burmese Army who massacred them. I wanted to include this footage in solidarity with them and acknowledge their continued struggle. I also wanted to be filmed in my traditional Ka-ren shirt in the video and on the thumbnail advertising it. We added footage of Putin and Russia’s horrifying bombing and shelling of civilian neighborhoods in Ukraine just before we finished production.
What does ‘conscious rap’ mean to you? Why do you feel it’s important to raise awareness and shed light on worldwide issues within your music?
Conscious rap is music that sheds light on social issues. I think most of Tupac and his music but also Ice Cube. It brings awareness to what’s happening and what’s wrong in the world. We have experienced shared trauma with the pandemic and the fucked-up state of the world over the past few years. Depression and anxiety have skyrocketed, especially with kids my age, and people just can’t take any more. I think everyone relates to the images of injustice, the revolting effects of our greed and waste ruining the planet, and our inhumanity that shows up in wars, poverty, homelessness, and police brutality. At some point, we have to rise up and stop tolerating injustice. It’s in our power to change the world if we do it together.
What’s next for you?
My six-track EP, Real Life, which includes the song “Run Away” drops on May 13th. It includes features with Luh Kel, Lil Poppa, and $tupid Young, the Asian rapper from Long Beach. My song with $tupid Young, Big Bands, includes a dope animated video by Serbian animator Lubomir Atan. I began making animated videos during the pandemic when it was difficult to film and really like the videos for some of the tracks. I have another EP already finished, New Me, with features with Soulja Boy, and more songs with Lil Poppa, and $tupid Young. We are filming the music videos over the next few months. There are some dance and club bangers on that EP also. I am performing this summer to support my Ka-ren people in benefit performances in the Midwest where there are large Ka-ren refugee populations. We are donating the money we make to the refugee camps. I am finishing up my next EP/album to drop in early 2023. Lots of great music coming!