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In my continued mission to give light to the amazing and mysterious 80s label roster of B Boy Records, I present to you now, Castle D.
Castle D has one lone release to his name, but it is a very impressive debut and leaves so much room for the imagination to think of where he could have went from there. His 12" doesn't have a date on it, but I'm almost positive it dropped in 1987.
However, his mark on the scene dates back at least one year previous. I actually recall a interview with KRS ONE, though I can't remember where it is from. He is talking about his early career and particularly the mysterious members of BDP that we heard mentioned in his songs, but the world know so little about it. He mentioned something about Castle D being involved in one of his early groups with Scott La Rock called the Celebrity Three. I was initially confused by that because I remembered the vocalist on there as KRS One, Levi 167 and, the female of the group, MC Quality. Going back to listen I realized that the MC Quality verse was actually a huge chunk of the Castle D verse from his B-side track a year later, "Just Saying Fresh Rhymes". KRS One went on to say that Castle D had some sort of problem or issue and disappeared not longer after from his 12".
"Just Saying Fresh Rhymes" is certainly the track most spoke about of the two on his 12". It kicks in with some heavy hi-hats and then quickly drops into some dramatic keyboard work and a minimal drum beat that is fairly reminiscent of Just Ice's "Going Way Back" from the same year and produced by KRS One. He comes in with a singing section that sets the song up as a love song, but when he drops into the verse it is really nothing of the sort. He goes right into that previously mentioned verse spit by MC Quality in the Celebrity Three's "Advance" track. However, in this context the verse sounds so different. While on the Celebrity Three track it just sounded like a average rap verse, here it sounds very forward-thinking and advanced. Truthfully it may not completely be the fault of MC Quality. On "Just Saying Fresh Rhymes", the slowed paced and cinematic musical back drop allows Castle D to deliver it with more emotion. Speaking of which, that gets to the root of Castle D's finest quality, the way he delivers. He's got this real smooth presence. It's what makes it seems so effortless to switch from the love song chorus to the conscious rhymes of the verse and then back again.
He sounds so confident and focused as he drops, "What's going on? The function of the wrong/Negative knowledge won't last for long/It's the knowledge of the fakers, crooked perpetrators/Living second lives as MC duplicators/Think you're all chilling but it's only a dream/Illusion of the mind to the way things seem/Bust these instructions with no interruptions/The bass house function is only destruction/Make your deduction, a vast reproduction/Nothing matters in life if you're with that production/All these injunctions you only expect/Experience and knowledge creates that intellect/Drugs of the future, present and past/Pure alcohol, cocaine and grass/Situated your thoughts, this just ain't the deal/It's simply changes up on the way that you feel/It was ??? long ago for no one else/Before an ignorant race to destroy themselves/What I'm telling you I know for a fact/Because I'm living in the world that express that/Since the day I set foot on the earthy soil/My Mom said, "Cas, son don't be spoiled/You're living in a world full of violence and crime/The only way out is you to use your mind"/A pencil, a pad, advice from my Dad/Back in those days that was all that I had/As the years grew longer and I got stronger/Manhood came and I got bolder/Living the fast life to a certain degree/Smacked hard in the face by reality/But lucky for me I turned my life around/That's why I'm here cooling out with Boogie Down Productions."
What's also very impressive is that at the end of the track he goes back into some dialog that redirects back to the love song theme and his talking dialog is worthy of some best punchlines of the year! As he lays game on the lady of his dreams he professes to her that, "She's like a angel fallen from the heavens above" or that she is "A Mannequin modeling for paradise"...WHAT?!?!? If that doesn't flatter a lady then just give it up....ha. He even continues on stating he wants her to "Smack me in my HANDSOME face so bad to give me the sting of reality just to let me know you are real"... This guy is laying some serious game. In ends it all off just lightly chanting, "Just Saying Fresh Fresh, I'm Just Saying Fresh Rhymes...." Purely Classic-ness.
Castle D-Just Saying Fresh Rhymes:
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/04-Just-Saying-Fresh-Rhymes.mp3|titles=04 Just Saying Fresh Rhymes]
The B-side is "Yo Cas Play It" and it rarely gets spoke about, being so over-shadowed by the awesomeness which is "Just Saying Fresh Rhymes", but it is a solid track as well and displays his story telling skills. It certainly seems to take some direction from Slick Rick's "La Di Da Di". The music more upbeat and playful, setting the tone for Castle D to describe a day in the life of Castle D.
The 12" is credited as produced byChill Bill &DJ Doc, but on "Yo Cas Play It", Castle D creditsKRS One as the producer, at least for that track. In any event, the track mixes some stories, freestyle rhymes and more of his sing song hooks, that all worked together really well.
Castle D-Yo Cas Play It
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/05-Yo-Cas-Play-It.mp3|titles=05 Yo Cas Play It]
Not sure what happened to Castle D after this, but it's quite possible that he was the one of the best early BDP MCs, with the exception of KRS One and Just-Ice of course. Sure, there's only this one 12" to measure him by, but going purely off that he had focus, lyrics, style, presence, versatility and pretty much all the right tools to continue to make classics. The search continues to find out more about the man himself....
Written, with a grin on his face, By Kevin Beacham
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