Photo by Methuzulah

The Rated Next Artist Spotlight is on “staHHr,” a true “star” in every sense of the word. Memphis-born and Atlanta-based, staHHr is skilled in the art of lyrical alchemy and has been perfecting her craft and sharpening her lyrical warrior skills since the latter part of hip hop’s “Golden Era.” Carving a niche for herself by interweaving intellect and social awareness with the essence of pure, unadulterated hip hop, she consistently provides a welcome breath of fresh air. Poised with mic in hand and an unending reservoir of lyrics, staHHr’s mission and focus is simple: preserve, innovate and bring balance to the culture of hip hop with her music. “Welcome to the Golden Era Future” she says.

This past Sunday I was given the honor of sitting down for a one-on-one interview with staHHr. First and foremost I wanted to know, in her own words, who staHHr is:

Who is staHHr?

staHHr is an amalgam; staHHr is multi-faceted, multi-talented, eccentric, unique. She’s a vanguard, she’s a trailblazer. She’s hip hop, she’s a teacher, she’s a student, she’s a mother, she’s a sister, she’s a daughter, she’s a leader and she can follow, when necessary. She’s Mother Ntr (Nature) with a Molotov. She’s Impress Official. She’s Golden Era Future. She is everything – everything and nothing simultaneously. (Laughs) All that is and all that ever will be…

Does the double capital H in your name have a meaning?

Hip Hop. To me that is what separates me from other people with the name “star.” At the core, I am hip hop so that’s why the other letters are lower case and the H’s are uppercase because that’s where the attention should be focused.

You consider yourself part of the “Golden Era” of hip-hop. For those that don’t know, what is the “Golden Era?”

I would say 1986 to about 1994, 95 – for me personally. But, I think, overall everyone would agree that it would be somewhere from the mid 80’s to mid 90’s. So it was a time when we had A Tribe Called Quest/Native Tongues, there was Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Run DMC, EPMD, MC Lyte, Slick Rick, KRS-One, Boogie Down Productions, etc. The Golden Era – when it was being done for the love more so than for compensation and there wasn’t as much division as there is now.

How would you describe your music for those who haven’t had a chance to hear you perform?

A pink machine gun. (Laughs) “Pink! – but still a machine gun.” (Laughs) My music is universal. It is Golden Era Future – you are going to get the essence of the Golden Era and also the present day which creates the future, so that’s how you get the “Golden Era Future.”

Tell me about “Mother NTR with a Molotov.”

It’s really a rebirth of the artist that everybody knows as “staHHr.” “Mother NTR with a Molotov” is bringing a side of me that really hasn’t been shared a lot within my music. So a lot of people think it doesn’t exist. “Almost Neva Was” was young – it was my first album, so it was where I was up to that point. I am a lot more comfortable now expressing other sides of my personality. In my music, I’m the navigator, the conductor so I’m very methodical about what I allow the people access to. I’m sharing my soul, my personal life, and that can put you in a very vulnerable position; some people feel as if they know you in totality just through your music. If you are going to share a lot, you have to be able to deal with all that entails. So, Mother NTR with a Molotov is just a balance. Mother NTR is what they already know. The Molotov is the surprise element like “oh I didn’t know she had that there.” So the Molotov is to keep them on their toes. That album willfully will be out the end of this year or the first quarter of 2012.

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