- It’s a long time in the making
Believe it or not, this is A Star’s debut album. You may think of him as a long time major player in the UK scene but A Star has never released an album. Until now. Sure, he released Revolutionary in 2015 that featured anthems such as DFMB and Take Over, but at only 7 tracks, it isn’t regarded as a full fat LP. Here’s another unbelievable fact, A Star first announced his intention to release an album in 2017. It was meant to come out in 2018. It’s a good job the bible teaches about patience!
- It features grime royalty
A Star grew up listening to grime music and was always a fan of one of the scene’s legends D Double E. The impossible happened when D Double E performed at A Star’s wedding and from there the two struck up a relationship. It culminated in creating the title track Born & Raised. It’s a track we already heard when it was released in 2018 but it’s great that it’s featured here. We asked A Star whether he was concerned about a potential backlash from working with an artist from outside of the Christian scene. He said he didn’t care. So there.
- It’s Rago!
We have to talk about Rago because it’s unskippable. It jumps out from the album, slaps you across the face and makes you pay attention. Produced by Rude Kid, the beat is hard and the bars are harder. It’s the lead single for the album for good reason. Just when you think you’ve got your head around the riddim, the switch on the hook brings a whole new energy that you will go crazy to. You have our guarantee.
- It has a sense of place
The pride A Star has in his native Leytonstone is no secret. This East London guy makes music that sounds like it was made in East London, which makes it authentic and true to itself. The grime beats that recur throughout ground the project to its birthplace as does its reference points. E11 Kid, Waltham Forrest and Born & Raised all make reference to A Star’s roots, his ends and his experiences linked to these places. And if you can believe in this geographical concept, you will also believe in the lyrics and stories he tells, which can sometimes be hard-hitting.
- It’s an inconvenient listen
If you want an album that views the world with glasses so rose-tinted that it’s saccharine, Born & Raised isn’t for you. A Star tackles issues that make you think, and make you remember it’s a human being behind the mic. Doubt, pornography and sickle cell are issues that would be very easy to sweep under the carpet. Someone’s confiscated A Star’s broom – and his carpet for that matter. They’re discussed frankly but from a perspective that shows there’s hope, forgiveness and a Saviour that cares.
Born & Raised by A Star is released on 6th March.