Rolling Out

D Sturdy impacts Philly and a generation through ‘Die Young’ single

Rapper wants to show his versatility
Musid, hip-hop, TikTok, D Sturdy, Philly Goats, Def Jam,
Philadelphia native and Def Jam recording artist D Sturdy hopes to inspire youth through his music. Photo credit: Flavee

The Philly club rap scene has surged with vibrant sounds, dynamic dances, and infectious energy in recent years. One standout group, Philly Goats and member D Sturdy, have played a pivotal role in propelling this subgenre to international recognition, extending its influence far beyond the confines of Philadelphia.

Sturdy and his younger brother Sou, both age 19, crossed paths with another future Philly Goats member, PGS Spence, at a North Philadelphia basketball court during their childhood. The trio’s journey into rap began in 2021 with a budget studio session costing just $150. While poking fun at a friend who couldn’t contribute financially, they christened their inaugural recording “Broke S—,” which unexpectedly resonated with young TikTok users across the city, laying the groundwork for their ascent.

Coincidentally, around the same time, Sturdy and PGS Spence spontaneously created the now-iconic “Shake Dhat” dance. Originating from their celebration of winning a neighborhood dice game with a sequence of hip gyrations, the dance initially faced ridicule from onlookers. However, as acknowledged by Philly Goats, it evolved into a phenomenon known as blocking. By 2024, global superstars like Lil Uzi Vert and Beyoncé had embraced these dance moves, catapulting them into a worldwide trend.

Rolling out spoke with Sturdy about his single “Die Young,” being more than a TikTok artist, and inspiring the youth to stop the violence through his music.

Die Young

Rising hip-hop artist Sturdy has profoundly impacted the music scene with his “Die Young” single featuring Kur. The track, released in January of this year, is a heartfelt tribute to his friends lost to gun violence, showcasing Sturdy’s raw talent and emotional depth. The motivation for “Die Young” stemmed from personal tragedy, as he explains, “My homie, he died. He got shot in Philadelphia, so I made a song about him called ‘Die Young’ to help myself and the city mourn his death.”

The song delves into the harsh realities of street life and the devastating impact of violence on communities, reflecting his genuine connection to his experiences.

“It wasn’t easy,” Sturdy shares about the creative process behind the single. “I just had to take my time and do it for him.”

From TikTok to Def Jam

Sturdy’s musical journey has been marked by evolution and growth. Initially gaining recognition for his viral dance moves on TikTok, he has since transitioned to crafting music that reflects his personal experiences and social commentary.

“When I first started doing music, I was doing all party music,” Sturdy explains. “I began to show my versatility with the ‘Die Young’ single.”

The 2022 tracks “The Shakeover” and “X Em” Garnered millions of TikTok creations, allowing Sturdy and the Philly Goats to ink a record deal with Def Jam Recordings in March 2023.

Sturdy is committed to continuing his musical journey and making a difference through his art. He teased the release of an upcoming EP, emphasizing his dedication to delivering music that resonates with his audience. “It is all about diversification and giving my fans music they can feel and relate to,” shares Sturdy.

Influencing a generation

Sturdy is keenly aware of his influence within his community and wants to use his platform to effect positive change.

“I like to have fun, but a song like ‘Die Young’ is really about trying to keep the youngsters out the street and stop the gun violence,” he says.

Despite his challenges, including negative comments and the pressures of fame, Sturdy remains focused on creating meaningful music and connecting with his audience.

“I’m always gonna stay the same, even with the fame,” he affirms. “I love all my supporters. Since day one, they supported me.”

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