The dynamic between a rapper and his or her respective producer is one that is vital to the final product of any track they attempt to create. They need to make sure they are on the same wavelength so the actual songs can sound cohesive. Rappers who also produce their own music always have an edge because their music will end up coming from the ideas of one source. It becomes much easier for rappers to match their flows and inflections in their voices to the melodies and rhythm of the instrumentals. All of this is true for the young rapper/producer, Castle, on his latest release entitled Gasface. The Mello Music Group artist (not to be mixed up with rap’s other MMG label counterpart) thoughtfully and carefully carves through his hard hitting beats for 11 solid tracks.
Mello Music Group is home to some very talented rappers in the industry, such as Oddisee, Apollo Brown and Gensu Dean. Castle demonstrates that he is capable of hanging with the talent of the label with his witty rhymes and fresh takes on concepts that are mostly alien to the hip hop genre. An example of this is on the track “Orientation” where Castle takes on the subject of working for a large corporation or even a smaller scale office job. The track starts off with a satirical segment of an introduction to a new company. Castle creatively raps on the track with some great insight that most young adults joining the workforce can relate to.
“I kinda figured I was thinking I should leave this gig alone,
But the job market is crappy and I still have student loans.
So forget it – right before work I’ll just get really stoned
To deal with the thought that I’ll probably always be a drone.”
The album is littered with very interesting rhymes, including a hilarious reference to Onion News. Castle’s personality shows through and he comes off as very witty and relatable. His rhyme schemes and cadence are often very complex and executed to perfection.
It is apparent to the listener that the instrumentals on the projects were all constructed with the same general style, which adds consistency to the project. Almost all of the beats have grandiose drum beats that act as the backbone to each track. Castle also employs a very deep voice equipped with the ability to show off an animated range of pitch from line to line. The sound of his voice is almost immediately recognizable, which is a very integral aspect to any rapper.
Before listening to the album, I made sure to scour the album information that came with the download because of the lack of information on Castle available on the internet. One of the promo .pdf files states that the Gasface album is for listeners of Rhymesayers, Aesop Rock and RJD2. This threw me off in a way because, although Castle’s lyrical ability is above average, it is definitely not on the level of the likes of Aesop Rock. In addition, Castle’s production does have a certain level of diversity, however, the album does become stagnant at some points and listeners may find it difficult to listen through the whole album in one sitting. Tempo changes (like on “Opium”) and great use of samples (like on “Soulfire”) could be employed more on future projects to avoid this problem.
It will be very interesting to see what Castle does next and which direction he takes his music. His rap aptitude is definitely above and beyond average and his production has a style that would appease a plethora of true hip hop fans. As he continues to utilize his captivating deep voice with his unique persona in combination with a continued improvement on production, Mello Music Group definitely have an interesting enigma on their hands with Castle.
Purchase Gasface here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/gasface/id661496393
Out of curiousity, why did you review his album as a mixtape?