Starlito Pens A Personal Letter To His Fans, Shares New Album



I’m dropping a new full-length solo album, for the first time in 42 months. I dropped my 1st mixtape 20 years ago, and have never gone anywhere near this long without releasing new material. 

I wanted to offer a little bit of insight as to why and how I’ve arrived at this intersection of my life and career, and the corresponding art.

My new album, LOVE DRUG, is 14 tracks and 43 minutes in length. The soundscape could be described as dark. I imagine that’s because it is essentially an open air therapy session, as my music has become so cathartic over the years.

My previous release Paternity Leave (2020), was my first since the birth of my only child. Recorded during the stillness of the pandemic, and in the chaos of diaper changing and toddler tantrums. There was a dedication to my daughter (“Girl Dad” w/ Don Trip & Jelly Roll), an exploration of the interpersonal relationships of co-parents (“Baby Trauma”), and other records reflective of any ever changing perspective. I closed the album with perhaps one of my most vulnerable records to date, “Daddy Issues”. I made mention of a closed head brain injury sustained by my father as a result of a motorcycle accident when I was an infant. It’s something that I’d never mentioned in the 1000+ songs I’d made. To end there, gives insight to where I’d pick up on the new project. A very honest, introspective, and vulnerable space.

As the prior title suggested, I planned on taking a break from rapping. I wanted to be present, and enjoy the ‘firsts’ of my fatherhood journey. I’d dropped roughly 60 projects in the 16 years active to that point, so I’d afforded myself some breathing room to take a step away. I never intended for the sabbatical to be 3 and a half years long though. About a year and half later, the hip-hop world lost an icon, who also happened to be a frequent collaborator and friend of mine. The death of Young Dolph affected me in a way I can barely put in to words. I no longer had any desire to be a “rapper”. And as the grief mounted, I focused that much more on my role as a father. I never spoke on it, or formally retired, but I was in the least creative headspace of my life. Likewise, I’d began taking inventory on some of the messages, ideals, and platitudes shared throughout my career up to that point. For one, a lot of my feelings had changed from my younger years. More importantly, one day I’d have to explain all of this to my ever curious and impressionable child. It made me question my own influence, and to put it boldly hate a lot of what rap has come to glorify and represent. 

I’ve found some solace in just being myself, and bearing my truths, flaws and all. I’ve dealt with addiction in a few forms, and on many levels. Mental Health issues, bouts with grief, and dealings with women are all prevalent themes here. I talk about Love, Drugs, and being Drug by Love, amongst other things. I’m purging, in a way that is authentic and true to myself. I end the album with a track titled “Retire My Jersey”. Again, not that I’m necessarily hanging it up or calling it quits, but just that I hope I’ve left this album as the best. Or, at least as the best version of myself. 

– Jermaine Shute, p/k/a “STARLITO”

Stream Love Drug HERE and check out Starlito’s “1008” video below!

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