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Charles Smith, better known as Blaqstarr or DJ Blaqstarr, is a Baltimore, Maryland area rapper, singer, producer, and DJ. He is best known for his work with M.I.A..

Biography

Blaqstarr experienced local success in early 2000s with the songs "Get My Gun", "Ryda Girl", "Jiggle It", "Hands Up Thumbs Down", and "Feel It In the Air", released via Starr Productions. In 2005, he contributed songs such as "Tote It" to the album Operation Playtime and the songs "Supastarr" and "So Horney" to the album Baltimore Club 9. In December 2005, M.I.A. travelled to America to work with Blaqstarr on her second album, telling The Observer "I arrived at 9am and he'd been arrested at seven; he was still up from the night before. That's his studio, and it's got a washer-dryer in the back and a sofa bed, that's his whole set-up; that's why he doesn't make it out of Baltimore." "Shake It to The Ground" featured Rye Rye, an affiliate of Blaqstarr's in Baltimore, Maryland became a club hit in 2006. Blaqstarr introduced Rye Rye to M.I.A. after the singer asked for a meeting, leading to both touring with the artist and collaborations on her album Kala which lead to wide recognition. His EP Supastarr was released, its first single being the rereleased "Shake It To the Ground" for which a music video was made, and another EP, titled Shake It To the Ground was also released in 2007.

In January 2008, Blaqstarr released the album King of Roq. He toured with Diplo, M.I.A., Rye Rye, and participated in the Rock the Bells tour. He also produced and recorded tracks with M.I.A., Mos Def, Switch, and Rye Rye. In June 2008, he contributed a track to the album Hollertronix 8, along with DJ Sega.

In early 2009, Blaqstarr released a single in collaboration with the DJ Diplo titled "Get Off". M.I.A. and Blaqstarr released a song and video "Way Down in the Hole" following him signing to N.E.E.T. Recordings record label. He also produced some of the tracks for the 2009 K-Swift album Greatest Hits.

In 2009, Blaqstarr was chosen to perform at the People's Inaugural Ball in Washington D.C., one of the pre-inaugural events which took place in the days leading up to the inauguration of Barack Obama.

Blaqstarr was on the lineup for the SXSW Festival, which took place in Austin, Texas from March 13-22, 2009.

He released an EP entitled "The Divine" on January 25, 2011. It includes 6 songs: "All The World", "Rider Girl", "Oh My Darlin'", "Divine", "Wonder Women", and "Turning Out".

Critical reception

Music critic Chris Richards of The Washington Post, in reviewing the 2008 recording I'm Bangin' 2, wrote, "If Blaqstarr's hallucinogenic odes to sex, drugs and Baltimore don't make him a legend in his day, they should certainly cement his cult status in some dystopian future."Billboard wrote, regarding King of Roq, "Much of the music sounds like standard hip-hop fare but sped up to Alvin & the Chipmunks speed; it's fast, furious and dirty."


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