Courtesy of Sterling Green
Sterl The Moor isn’t rapping just to rap; he wants his music to be a conversation piece for his listeners.
Inspired by the intellectual and artistic achievements of the Moors of the ancient world, UTSA student Sterling Green — “Sterl The Moor” — wants to give meaning back to hip-hop music.
Green, an information systems major, has been doing more than studying. “I have been working for two years on my most recent CD. It is my first batch of original music,“ said Green proudly, referring to his first EP, “The Awakening,” that dropped Dec. 7.
Green views mainstream hip-hop as repetitive, watered down and meaningless; instead, he finds inspiration from old school rappers like NAS and alternative artists like J.Cole.
“NAS definitely inspired me a lot because when I look at hip-hop, I look at it as more than a genre,” said Green. “I feel like it’s a lifestyle. I feel like NAS kept it real because he didn’t really try to have a certain sound to fit popular demand. He was really just talking about what was going on in a unique and original way,” continued Green.
For Green — a natural born innovator who dislikes following the status quo — originality is a big concern. Through his music, he tries to convey originality to all of his listeners and fans.
“What I really want for people to take away from my music is to know that they can be themselves and that they don’t have to try and fit into the mainstream,” explained Green. Along with making his songs unique, Green tries to fill his songs with meaningful content.
“NAS’s content is really what made me feel like he is the best because anybody can rap, but it’s about what it is you are trying to say with it,” Green said.
Rather than aiming for the lavish lifestyle that normally accompanies making it big, Sterl The Moor is all about the art of making music. He views a lust for fame and fortune as detrimental to hip-hop music. “One of the biggest problems we are having today,” said Green, “is people are worrying about the business rather than worrying about the music.”
A lack of quality among mainstream hip-hop motivated Green to pursue a career dedicated to creating meaningful, original art. For Green, “The Awakening” is only the first chapter of his music. “’The Awakening’ is like I am being born into the music,” emphasized Green. “(‘The Awakening’) is what it sounds like when I am just getting my feet wet.”
After listening to a few tracks from “The Awakening,” you really start to understand who Sterl The Moor is and what message he is trying to send. The nostalgic vibe of “Stuck In The Past” and the political undertones of “Lean” exemplify Green’s ability to craft original, significant content.
Just like the Moors who came before him, Sterl The Moor identifies the transmission of art and knowledge to others as his calling. Through his slow, laid-back rap, Green spreads ideas one lyric at a time.
“This is what I feel I am supposed to do,“ said Green. “I definitely have plans for further albums and tapes,” continued the artist, whose first album chronologically narrates his life. “But I want to go in order. I want to tell it like a story — because this is my life.”
Driven to change the face of hip-hop and enlighten his listeners, Green strives to continue creating fresh and original music.
“A lot of the beats that are on this CD are some of my first beats I made two years ago when I was first getting started,” said Green. “I wanted to start from the beginning so I could show my progression as I go on.
“I don’t look at it like I’m just somebody coming out with a CD,” he continued. “I really feel like I have really made a contribution to hip-hop.”