Ever since releasing his debut mixtape, Wonderland Volume 1, this summer, Italo-Albanian local trap princeling STR’s been high-up on the office radar. Indeed, with his uncanny mix of bass-heavy productions and offbeat delivery, the fuzzy-haired Brussels-based rapper-producer brings a much-needed dose of fresh air to the scene’s stale state. And, to mark the release of our November-December edition (out Monday 2nd November) which features an interview with the yungun – also know as Sami Tha Ripou – we’ve tasked him with recording an exclusive mix for us. Asked to describe it, here’s what he had to say: “Join us in the depths of Bxhell Phonk, for an exclusive bassy mix full of 808, cowbells and codeine. 100% trill pimp$hit.” Voila.
Can you describe yourself in a few words? Your sound, approach to making music, your influences, how it all started, etc…
I’m trying to bring back the 90s dirty south 808 sound by merging it with a modern wavey touch. I have large influences from swedish death metal to japanese disco
How did you first start making music? How does it fit into your life?
I started playing bass guitar when I was 12 – I used to play in punk bands then when I turned 18 and started living on my own, I started making beats on fruity loops and it took a big part of my time really quickly.
Is music a full-time thing for you at the moment? If not, what are your other occupations?
Music was always and will always be a full-time thing for me and luckily I don’t have any other occupations for now
Can you describe the mix in a few words? What is its overriding influence, where would it best be enjoyed, what makes it special?
Let’s say it’s wavey, phonky at some points and also full of bangers. I tried to bring all of my influences in one mix so there are many different vibes to it.
Can you tell us about the exclusive track on the mix?
To be honest, I usually compose beats and don’t mix, but because you guys asked me, I wanted to be professional so composed the 2 first tracks exclusively for this mix. To me they sum up all the other tracks I included in the mix.
When and where did you record it? Describe the room, the furniture, the walls, the view from the room, the neighbourhood, the weather at the time, etc…
I don’t really remember man, it was probably rainy outside and I was behind my computer in a smoky cloud of weed.
What’s your favourite track on the mix?
I really can’t answer that question – I like all of the tracks for many different reasons.
What are your top 3 albums of the year so far and why?
Travis Scott – Rodeo. This one was dope, they invited the best ATL producers but at the same time they recorded real instruments for some tracks, each instrumental shows a different universe and that guy Travis can rap but also sing, use different types of pitch and autotune.
A$AP Rocky – At.Long.Last.A$AP. I’ve been following Rocky since the beginning, I don’t think it’s the best project he delivered but it’s still a great album, way better than the first one and one of the finest 2015 rap releases, far ahead of Dr Dre’s “Compton” and Kendrick’s “Butterfly” if you ask me.
Jay Rock – 90059. That guy is really underrated, to me he’s one of the best of TDE with Ab-Soul, you should listen to that album for sure.
What do you have coming up in the next few weeks?
I’m working everyday on my second mixtape, it’s gonna be released this winter, and there will be many videos coming with it.
Download STR’s Wonderland Volume 1 mixtape here.
Watch STR’s latest video for GiveMeFive here.
Photography CARAMEL DUR.