This is for those with hard heads, black lungs, and scarred hearts. It’s for the dreamers who construct darts on loose-leaf and those revolting against corporate life and casual Fridays. It’s Castle’s Return of the Gasface, released on Mello Music Group, remixed by Has-Lo with a new track and revamped verses.
The new record tilts at a different angle, but the beats still bludgeon without sacrificing soul. The raps are rugged yet introspective. The North Carolina native’s voice is grizzled and shot through with the fatigue that comes from late nights, cigarettes and coffee. Has-Lo’s beats coax a deeper melancholy out of Castle’s hymns.
This isn’t struggle rap, but rather acknowledgement of human struggles. Old soul loops wind around lamp-less alleys, the sound of footsteps pounding, sirens blaring, and guns clutched tightly amidst scathing winter winds. Just when the darkness seems almost too ominous, Castle cracks a smirk. The nocturnal street disciple is the same dude reading The Onion, writing ballads to Homer Simpson’s nemesis Frank Grimes, and mocking rappers whose lyrics are so kitsch they’re like a graveyard of pink flamingos and garden gnomes.
Don’t dismiss this as nostalgia for the 90s. The chops, scenarios, and smoke are all highly modern, but the mood brings to mind classics of the past from Ghostface Killah, Organized Konfusion and Mos Def. It’s aggressive and sentimental without being saccharine. Deeply soulful music equal parts smart and sad. HipHopDX already called the original Gasface one of 2013’s best and most slept-on records, full of “strong wordplay, comedic wit, and brash demeanor matching the [original] 3rd Bass classic.” No need to make the same mistake twice. This is the only Gasface you’ll ever want to receive.