Rap Map #8: Starlito

Welcome back to the Rap Map, where we speak with rappers about videogames. Today we’re talking with Starlito, whose Stepbrothers, a collaborative mixtape with the rapper Mr. Don Trip, won heavy acclaim throughout the rap world.

I was talking to Mr. Don Trip earlier, and he said that you guys met through playing video games?
At our first studio session together, we were playing NBA2k10 to kill some time, and I was on, like, a stupid winning streak. And he ended my winning streak, so that was a really bad first impression. We ended up on the road together. Tour bus life leads to a lot of time to play games, and I avenged my loss over and over on the way to the Super Bowl down in Miami. We actually had a little wager on NBA2k11 when we worked out Stepbrothers. Videogames are kind of the underlying reason for our friendship.

How would you define yours and Don’s relationship as rappers as opposed to your relationship as gamers?
I think we complement each other as rappers-that’s something we’ve worked towards, and I doubt we’ll ever play a videogame cooperatively. Actually, since that bet, we’ve been doing more music than gaming. I think he’s scared of me in NBA2k. We’re both competitive people, and I think that carries over, musically. But I don’t think we’re trying to outdo each other in the booth as much as we’re trying to push each other.

You were signed to Cash Money Records for a while. What led to the end of that relationship?
This is pure speculation, but I think it’s because Birdman never beat me in NBA Live. He ran up a tap of a couple thousand dollars over the years of us gambling on videogames, and maybe he was frustrated with having to put up a recording budget and also pay me on the side for kicking his ass in videogames. I think a mixture of the two created that separation. I’ve still got a little bit of bread, so I can keep playing him.

Do you have a gamertag that you’d like to share with our readers?
I’m on Xbox 360 as Starlito615.

Do you ever find games making their way into your lyrics?
Certainly. I actually have a track called “Videogame Flow” that was on a tape I did a year or two ago called Living in the Past, and the whole song was about video game content. I was actually more familiar with the beat because it was a Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth track that was on the soundtrack of NBA Street, Vol. 2. So when I heard that instrumental, it triggered my memories of that game. 

That’s interesting that you rapped over a Pete and C.L. beat, because they’re very New York and you’re from Nashville, TN. Where do you draw most of your inspiration?
I wouldn’t associate myself with a region. I like Southern stuff, because I’m from here. I grew up listening to a lot of West Coast music when Pac and them had it poppin’, and even before that with the old school stuff. So I’ve got an influence there, and by the time I was in high school and buying my own music, I had an open ear to East Coast music because it was more about what they were saying. The beats from the South have always stood out more, but that’s just a byproduct of me being from here. Where I come from, your stereo and your rims are a part of who you are, and so you are your soundtrack is, in a way.

Check back next week, when we chat with Starlito about his favorite games. You can download Stepbrothers here.

-Drew Millard