Brooklyn-born, Philly-based rapper Curly Castro debuts his first solo endeavor via Man Bites Dog Records. The album, FIDEL, is being presented exclusively by DJBooth.net, and is available for free download. FIDEL includes features and production from Has-Lo, Zilla Rocca, Yorrisey (of BLKHRTS), Small Professor, Georgia Anne Muldrow, and Blueprint.
FIDEL is a powerful work that addresses themes of race, societal ills, legacy, upheaval and fractured upbringings, themes that Castro refers to as “tearing our society asunder.” It’s also Castro’s most personal work to date. “It’s me taking an autobiographical spin, telling my story, while tracing an arc akin to The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” notes Castro. “Listeners should be able to embark with me on this personal vessel and take a tour through the veins of Brooklyn, through the sound of Philadelphia, and through the mind of an Uprising.”
Though having just joined Man Bites Dog Records, FIDEL is an album that Castro has been hard at work on FIDEL for years, often with the insight and input of his closest and most frequent collaborators, Has-Lo, Zilla Rocca, and Small Professor, who, along with Curly, make up The Wrecking Crew. “They found the storyline within what was at first a collection of songs,” says Castro. “They unearthed the voice hidden beneath the Boom and the Bap.”
Most of all, FIDEL is an album that’s deeply politically charged, a thematic arc that starts with opening track “Call Me Castro,” a brash protest anthem where Castro refers to himself as a “vigilante to the marrow.” But that brashness is also balanced with a deeper look at Curly’s personal story, detailed on tracks like “Coal” and “Colored Water Fountain,”tracks that, according to Curly, take a sharp bite at “themes of adolescence through a racial prism.” Together, these disparate but connected elements weave the thread of what makes FIDEL powerful and unique. “I want the world to know I am the embodiment of Rebellion,” proclaims Castro, “and FIDEL is how I got there.”
Listen and download: Curly Castro-FIDEL