Growing up, Andrew McHugh fell in with the wrong crowd, watched friends go to jail and became increasingly frustrated with having to catch buses.

The 21-year-old, now known as Dru Blu, turned to writing soul baring music to help him deal with gritty life as a cash-strapped teenager in Lewisham.

Rapping in school and entering MC contests around south London under the name Don Strapzy led Andrew to post a video of himself freestyling on broadcasting website SBTV in 2010 – and the rest is history.

Now, the artist – who is on the brink of breaking big – has recorded a single with rapper Professor Green, set to be released later this year.

He told Vibe: “When the freestyle video went out I got a really big response – it’s had 500,000 views.

“That was where it took off seriously.

“I got management and started working really hard.

“Where I grew up if you were from a certain place and you were in another area it caused friction.

“It wasn’t pretty – a lot of my mates are in jail but I had guidance from a strong family.

“If everything was easy my music wouldn’t have any meaning – people can relate to my music and what I’ve been through.

“It gives me something to focus on.”

After the enormously successful online video, Dru Blu released his debut CD Blue Magic under the name Don Strapzy.

He won Best Newcomer 2010 at the Official Mixtape Awards and gathered a huge underground fan base through performances and his music videos being aired on TV and online.

The rapper is also enjoying success in Australia with his single Living the Dream.

After hearing Dru Blu’s tracks, Professor Green mentioned the youngster on Twitter.

“Professor Green Tweeted my video to his friends.”

Dru Blu added.

“I did not expect that.

“I thought ‘there’s no harm in me asking’ so I messaged him saying ‘if you have any time, I would love to work with you.’

“He was all systems go and happy to do something.

“Our single will be our later this year.

“I’m big on the underground scene and he’s big on the mainstream - with his name it will definitely be a hit.”

Determined to become a positive role model to kids, Dru Blu began recording under his new name to appeal more to the mainstream audience, but promises to keep making music as Don Strapzy to stay true to his “gritty” routes.

His fans began following him as a grime artist before his wallet matched his fame.

Dru Blu said: “Every time I left my house people wanted to come up to me and have a picture taken.

“I wasn’t making the money to match my fame – I was still getting public transport.

“I used to teach autistic children how to play football with the Millwall Community Scheme.

“It was very rewarding to see them progress and play as a team.

“I packed it in to concentrate on my music – carrying balls on my back on a bus to the studio was not a good look.”

Dru Blu hopes to become a worldwide famous musician and buy his family a nicer home, but another dream is to inspire others.

He said: “I’m so close to crossing over into the mainstream market, I’m on the brink.

“One hundred per cent of why I hope it happens is so I can represent for those children like me.

“I really have come from that lifestyle – this can be done with hard work.

“Nothing in life is easy.

“I would love for them to be inspired by me.”

Dru Blu’s latest album This is Don Strapzy is out on August 13.

His debut album as Dru Blu is called Fingers Crossed, due for release later this year.

Visit and follow him on Twitter @DonDruBlu.

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