Before the days of compasses, Google MapQuest and Al Rocker, the Ancients would search for direction through evaluating luminous balls of plasma. The Greeks would predict the weather by analyzing the setting of fixed stars. In the late 1800s it was the Big Dipper and the North Star that brought hundreds of American slaves to freedom. In modern society, we constantly keep an eye on “superstars” to discover what’s next on the pop-culture horizon. Nowadays, we follow personality and fame, in hopes of a blueprint to create a brighter day.
In February 1983, in New York City’s Beth Israel Hospital, a star was born and he would soon create forms of audio freedom while changing the direction of music, sound and film.
Donnell Michael Jones didn’t realize his power until he heard a beat that he could walk to and a drum pattern that inspired him to make his sunny-day forecast, a reality. Spike Lee movies, Sun-Ra, De La Soul, Bootsie Collins, Jimi Hendrix, Madlib and comic books became his seven stars, aligned to guide him into his lifelong passion.
Jones better known as “DistantStarr” grew up in the Big Apple, surrounded by technology, track and art. The alto saxophone was his “weapon of choice” while hip-hop culture surrounded him like mother bears to their cubs. With a father who connected with the intention of the culture and its creative approach and a mother who couldn’t stand the sound, Starr was exposed to hip-hop and R&B, soul and jazz, traditional and non-traditional art – which became in retrospect, a blessing and an artistic advantage.
“My father once tested my seriousness about music by daring me to memorize Slick Rick's ‘Mona Lisa’ while he got two slices of pizza in the Bronx,” laughs Starr. “He always made sure I was up on hip-hop.”
With an upbringing in New York City, time spent in Camden, NJ and a recent move to Philadelphia, PA, Starr decided to start recording music five years ago, after getting married at 19. Music has been his full-time career since 2006. Starr lost his marriage after six years and has used the lost time with his children as motivation to create a better reality.
“It drained all energy and added a ton of stress,” says Starr in regards to his separation. “Not having my kids around sucks. Music has kept me going, though.”
He admits that times get tough - but his dreams of being like his uncle, David Allen Jones (Eddie Murphy Raw, 1987), landing sound scores for films and making music with progressive people, keeps him steered in the right direction. With a resume that includes collaborations with Blu (of Blu & Exile) and future hip hop icons, Jneiro Jarel's imprint (who now has an album out with Khujo from legendary Atlanta group, Goodie Mobb) and recent work with international artist Jay Scarlett of Germany. The Manhattan native is also one half of StarrSkream, a team duo that includes Le N?ko of France. They’ve already fused cultures with various sounds to create a 20-minute mix, which is available for download. He also has an upcoming project with Kissey Asplund of Sweden with two singles available entitled, "Car Ride" and "Tokyo". Starr is 1/5 of the Rap Pack, one half of rap group MAGr and has even worked on the Reebok Future Generation album with Reggie B of Kansas City.
At 26-years-old, the full-time musician is currently residing in Philadelphia, PA, producing and rapping, making his way through the galaxy, leaving a visible path in the atmosphere. Starr continues to use the entire universe to project his light, while making his mark in the limitless sky.
Written by: Dominque “AHLOT” Howse, Altering Popular Perception est. 1985