Dru Blu formally known as Don Strapzy is the rapper hailing from Lewisham, South London, who has steadily over years been making a name for himself in the UK rap game. The want to turn his life around is what made him get into music and take it seriously, becoming an inspiration to others. His debut album ‘Fingers Crossed’, is set to be released later this year with features from Young Mad B, King Zion, Professor Green, Davinche and The Thundacatz to name a few. Shireen Fenner talks to Dru Blue about his name, being from South London the message behind certain songs, the UK rap game and more.
Where did the name Dru Blue come from?
My names Andrew and I’m from Lewisham, which is also blue borough. It’s quite simple, that’s it.
Why did you change the name from Don Strapzy to Dru Blu?
I changed my name because it was holding me back, there were to many political problems with that name. I couldn’t get certain shows, and DJ’s weren’t supporting. I just changed it before I got bigger and it became more of a hurdle.
What was it like growing up in South London?
It’s my home, it was good, it was all right, I’m not going to lie. Of course it was a bit rough at times but that’s what makes me who I am.
Do you think its influenced you music, life and beliefs today?
Yes of course. Things I’ve seen and things I’ve been through influences me and what I write about. Most of my memories are within South London.
Tell us about your involvement in MC contests around South London.
When I was growing up when I was in school, I used to clash certain people, and go to youth clubs and that all over South London. It was quite competitive, but it was good.
You write some thought provoking songs such as ‘Survive’ and ‘She’s Gone’ so what is the motivation behind them, and are they based on real events?
‘She’s Gone’ was because I lost my niece, my sister’s daughter, which was a very emotional time and I used that to write about it. The verse was about a girlfriend, which was just so more people could relate to it. The tune was dedicated to my sister and daughter. ‘Survive’, was because it was a cold winter and you always see homeless people on the streets, and it made me realise how lucky we are. A lot of us complain about how hard life is sometimes, but were very lucky really. There’s people out there that are struggling much harder than us, so that’s what it really was, ‘Survive’ was for the homeless people and we did it for the charity Broadway, and just gave everything to them.
Thematically what does your music talk about normally?
I’m quite versatile, I talk about a lot of stuff, sometimes banter or it might be more emotional deep stuff, also football people know me for my football I love football. There’s a new dream team coming out soon as well. I prefer to write about more emotional stuff
What was the first hip hop song you ever listened to?
Ohh flip. Probably Eminem to be honest, Jay Z I can’t really pinpoint it.
Music means something different to everyone, but what does it mean to you?
It means hopefully the opportunity to get rich. Other than that music is life, everyone listens to music, whether your rich and your famous or your poor and your struggling, you still listen to music. It’s a worldwide language, it doesn’t matter how you’re living your life. Music is very important to me; I would listen to it even if I wasn’t a rapper. It’s a way for me to vent my stresses and express myself.
If you weren’t doing music, what would you be doing?
I’d be out here, probably have to go and get a job somewhere. I used to do football which I still like, I got my coaching badges so I’m qualified as a football coach, so I’d probably be doing that. I used to do it before music.
What was your dream as child growing up?
To be a professional footballer
You’re using your music to try and turn your life around, but why?
I’ll be honest, I was going down bit of a bad road at one stage in my life, when I was in school and just come out of school. A lot of my friends are in jail and some of them are dead, and it’s like music was my chance to change my life around. At one point I couldn’t go to certain areas, there was people that I had issues with over stupid things, and now through music I’ve managed to link up with a lot of people from a lot of different areas. It’s given me a career path, I’m serious about my music, it’s realistic to me. If my music wasn’t going anywhere I’d be the first person to say it’s not working and go and get a job. It gives me something to focus on and concentrate on, and get away from the roads. Instead of sitting on the block and doing nothing, I’m here doing a video shoot.
Do you class yourself as a role model?
It would be nice to be looked upon as a role model, but that’s a lot of responsibility, I wouldn’t describe myself as a role model, everyone is human and can make mistakes. It would be nice to influence young children and other people for positive reasons. I want to be rich, I don’t know if I want to be a role model. It’s a lot of responsibility, when your out there you have a responsibility to your listeners to act in a certain way.
If you could work with anyone, who would it be?
Jennifer Lopez or Alicia Keys, nah I’m joking. Musically Adele or Jay Z as a rapper or Eminem, other than that Coldplay. I’ve worked with the majority of UK rappers. I rate Exo from USG I like the way he moves and his music.
How do you see the UK rap scene progressing?
It seems very healthy at the moment and it’s progressing well. It’s in a good state, and its important to artists like myself to cross over soon. It’s very congested at the same time, you have to look at yourself and separate yourself. People from overseas are watching us.
Who would you predict as the artists that will crossover?
K Koke is signed to Roc Nation and has got a big buzz. Benny Banks is doing well; his last single did really well. Cashtastic. There is a handful of artists who I think are on the fence, and this is a very important year and will show who’s ready.
What can we expect from you next?
This is an exclusive for you lot. I got one single “Living The Dream’, which is releasing in Australia. Warner Australia wanted it. I got my ‘Let Me Loose’, single dropping in June, I shot the video the other day so that will be out on TV in a couple of weeks. My next single is featuring Professor Green, I don’t know when that will be, but there’s loads of stuff coming. Just keeping busy, my name will be popping off anyone who wants to know about my name change just YouTube Dru Blue vs Don Strapzy to find out why.
Follow Dru Blue on Twitter @DonDruBlu
Interview by Shireen Fenner