(AllHipHop Features) North Carolina based emcee Castle doesn’t give a f**k, and he hopes you don’t either. At least not give a f**k to the point that you don’t take yourself too seriously. Otherwise, it will be hard to enjoy his brand of Hip Hop that mixes nerdy references with weird worldly reflections like on his critically acclaimed project Gasface.
After releasing Gasface via Mello Music Group last year, Castle has reinvented the album with all new production provided by fellow MMG artist Has-Lo.
Return of the Gasface (The Has-Lo Passages) is more than just a “remix album.” Castle (who took his name from his favorite comic book character Frank Castle aka The Punisher) re-recorded all his verses, included new ad-libs, and added new songs for Return.
The 29-year-old rhymer first started recording music at the age of five. Castle’s early entry into Hip Hop began as part of a family rap group with his father, mother, and little sister. He picked up the mic again around 2006 and later met Has-Lo through producer Small Professor. Having been a huge fan of Small Pro’s Has-Lo: F*ck Has Day and Has-Lo’s Small Metal Objects, Castle jumped at the chance to work with the Philadelphia rapper/producer.
That connection eventually led to the release of Castle’s Return of the Gasface (The Has-Lo Passages) this week. AllHipHop.com spoke with the reclusive emcee about his new album, how he secured his deal with leading indie label Mello Music Group, and his love of comic books. Get to know Castle in the latest edition of “5 & Done.”
You signed with Mello Music Group. How did that situation come together?
I hooked up with Mello through my man Has-Lo. I had just finished Gasface in 2012. I didn’t know what I was going to do with it. I decided I was just going to release it on SoundCloud for free. I hadn’t made anything in a while, so I thought I’ll just throw this out there and then work on something else.
I let my man Has hear it, and he was like, “What are you doing with this?” I told him it’s going on SoundCloud. He said, “Don’t f**king do that. That’s stupid. Let me let Mello hear it and see what they think.” They liked it, surprisingly. I didn’t think Mello would like it as much as they did.
When you’re doing something that you’ve really wanted to do and you hear people say “You’re dope. You’re pretty nice.” You’re just like, “Okay, thank you.” It’s heartwarming, but you’re still in the same place, doing open-mics thinking, “I’m not going anywhere.” Then somebody says I want to press a thousand copies of your music to sell. That’s a good feeling.
I know you don’t like calling it a “remix album.” Why did you decide to revisit your Gasface album with all new production entirely by Has-Lo?
I didn’t want to do it to be really honest with you. I was like that album is two years old. F**k that album. I’m on this new s**t. Has was like, “How about I remix your album, and I just kill you on your own s**t?” He said, “Listen, I’m gonna remix your album and make you fall in love with it all over again.” I said, “Alright.”
So he’s working on it and letting me hear s**t. The more stuff I hear, the more I’’m bugging off on it. I was like, “This is wild. It doesn’t feel like a remix album.” I think that’s why I’ve been having the sentiment that it’s not really a remix album. It feels like an alternate version of it. It’s one of those that feels like Gasface and Return of the Gasface are two separate things. First, I wasn’t with it, but he killed me. I would never admit it to his face, but I think he killed me on my own s**t. It bugs me out, because I love it all over again.
You’ve sarcastically described your style as “I don’t give a f**k music for people who don’t give a f**k.” If that’s the case, why do you think people who do give a f**k should buy your album?
If you do give a f**k you probably shouldn’t. I’m not going to lie to you. If you give a f**k, you’re too serious to listen to anything that I put out. I’m big on taking music seriously as far as the process and the craft, but as far as like life in general – that’s where the buck stops. You just can’t give a f**k. Life is way too short for anybody to be way too serious about anything.
I wouldn’t dare convince someone who gives two s**ts about themselves or life to really listen to my music. If you like having fun and listening to people who make really ridiculous, stupid nerdy s**t then my music is for you. Otherwise, you should continue on your path as a stock broker or something.
Are you a big comic book fan? How would you rank the comic book companies? Who are your top five comic book heroes?
Oh my God. Big ain’t even the word. As comic book fandom goes, I probably should stop telling people I’m a comic book fan. It’s pretty ridiculous.
Right now [my] number one [comic book company] is Image. Number two would be Valiant. Number three would be Marvel, and number four would be Dark Horse. I don’t f**k with DC right now, because the only book they’re putting out that I even pay attention to is Batman. And Batman doesn’t count, because Batman’s ill.
My number one [comic book hero] is Punisher which is an obvious answer. Number two – Batman. Number three – Prophet. Number four – Hawkeye. Number five? I’d probably say Superman. Especially after reading the Grant Morrison stories.
What else is in the foreseeable future for Castle?
I’m still working on my follow-up solo effort. I haven’t really decided on the name. The working title is Slacker Saint. I would say I’m about 80% done. Only thing that needs to be finished is a few songs need to be recorded. I’d say that’s 5% of it, and then the next 15% is it getting mixed. That album’s almost finished, but I have no clue when it’s coming out.
Castle’s Return of the Gasface (The Has-Lo Passages) is now available for purchase at mellomusicgroup.com.