(AllHipHop Features) The dynamic duo has long been a staple in Hip Hop culture. EPMD, OutKast, Meth & Red, UGK, Ghost & Rae, Jay & Ye, Clipse, Black Star, and several other two-man groups have set the standard for emcees joining forces to create a musical project. Mello Music Group is now presenting a new double threat in the form of Castle & Has-lo.
North Carolina’s Castle and Philadelphia’s Has-Lo linked up for CSTL’s Return of the Gasface (The Has-Lo Passages) earlier this year. That re-release featured Has reinterpreting tracks from the 2013 Gasface album, but their new collaborative LP Live Like You’re Dead includes both emcees equally contributing rhymes and production.
Over 14 tracks, Castle and Has-Lo trade bars about the grind of an artist, social media thirst traps, comedic personal observations, and other ideas forged in the creative mind’s of the two emcees. Live Like You’re Dead serves as an engaging introduction to one of Hip Hop’s brightest contemporary tandems.
In AllHipHop.com’s latest edition of “5 & Done,” Has and CSTL chat about their joint album and which rap duos make their respective lists of all-time favorites.
You two have worked together in the past. Why did you decide to get together for a full joint album?
Has-Lo: It’s fun to make music with your friends. We’d been planning to do an album for like four years. It sort of just started happening one day. After a couple songs we were in album mode.
Castle: We’ve always talked about putting a full length album together. Me traveling to Philly in 2013 just made doing so easier.
What inspired the album’s title?
Has: I don’t quite remember the story of the album title. Castle, do you remember?
CSTL: I was randomly looking at videos of Malcolm X on YouTube, and his words “living like a man who is already dead” struck me as particularly live.
A lot of the tracks on “Live Like You’re Dead” have a grimier production style then what was presented on “Return of The Gasface.” Why did you decide to switch the musical style for this project?
Has: Really? I think it’s grimier on Return. Maybe I’m biased [laughs]. But yeah, we didn’t overthink the musical style of Live Like You’re Dead too much. We focused on enjoying making it first, and second, making music that everyone would hear and think “this is different from what they usually do” but was still a natural fit.
CSTL: I wouldn’t call it “grimy” so much as I would “live”, a la [Jaylib’s] Champion Sound or [De La Soul’s] Stakes Is High. The beats are raw and drums are dirtier though. Like Has said, the goal was to cut loose and go crazy.
Who are some of your all time favorite Hip Hop duos?
Has: Turner & Hooch, Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, Tango & Cash. Tom Hanks is a slept on emcee. He freestyled all his dialogue in Cloud Atlas. A lot of people don’t know that.
CSTL: EPMD, Plug One and Two, Action Bronson and the fifty year old Puerto Rican that doesn’t know his name, and Rae and Ghostface.
Could the tandem of Castle and Has-lo become a permanent team?
CSTL: Being friends, I think we’ll never stop being a team, whether it’s working on our solo stuff or duo stuff.
Has: What he said.
Stream Has-Lo & Castle’s Live Like You’re Dead below.