Curly Castro, “Emmett Still” (feat. Margel The Sophant)

Blake Gillespie

From his Spike Hill performance, shot by Edwina Hay.

Curly Castro brought a militant defiance to 2013’s FIDEL. If the revolutionary graphics on the artwork were somehow lost on you, he offered “Call Me Castro” as the power fist impossible to ignore. The announcement of Castro’s follow-up, Restroy & Debuild, arrives in the form of the Fakts One produced, “Emmett Still”, a markedly roots departure from the previous album.

Curly Castro understands that the path to enlightenment is not one road, but a network of routes that lead to the same vision. If the militancy of FIDEL was off-putting, “Emmett Still” has the same goals in mind, but the presentation sends you to the river, where the blues were born. “Emmett Still” tells the story of Emmett Till, a 14 year old black child that was murdered in Mississippi in 1955, and a series of narratives that involve young black men being feared and removed from this earth for that same reason. Castro’s final words cut to the core, “you can call him Oscar / you can call him Sean, both hands on the wheel / Oscar caught one slug, Sean caught 50 / black death right now / you can call Emmett Still.”

On an earlier track, “The Letter M”, you wrote “civil rights, I always laugh at the irony,” which was released over a year ago. The national discussion of race and civil rights is alive, but as someone who’s not needed a tragedy to inspire thoughts on the matter, what brought you to that conclusion on “The Letter M”.

The phrase “Fight for Civil’ Rights” was always the cruelest of ironies for me. How can one Fight for what is Civil? And what is unalienable, and due at birth? But yet us colored folks have to “fight” for them. This has been a constant in our struggle. These “rights,” once begotten, seem to be ignored regardless of our “fight.” And black blood continues to spill, while we “fight the good fight.” I’m ready for a different tactic. I don’t have all the answers, but I know we are drowning in our problems. Time to swim against the current.

For those that might not understand, how did you arrive at the connection presented on “Emmett Still”, in which the murdering of a black child in 1955 is presented next to a modern story of injustice? Was there personal experience that informed it?

I learned of Emmett Till during my enlightenment. I was struck by the savage nature that these white men felt they needed to handle this black boy. It made me understand the fear they must have for us, and our potential uprising. Why then, do this to an innocent child? Only cowards overreact to fear in this way. But the inhumane brutality, let me know another caveat. Those fueled by fear will grow beastly, and they will only spread their fright to the masses. They weighed him down with a industrial gin fan. Fear.

This is still the standard today. Except our beasts wear blue, with long range teeth. The fear grew, the black boys are now young black men, and they are the prey, so the cycle continues. We see the signs, but not before they took Eric, and Michael, and let one of their gargoyles take Trayvon. They took Sean, they took Oscar, they took Amadou, they took Malcolm, they took Fred Jr., they found a way to take Huey. They continue to feed, starved off of their fear.

Your upcoming album is called Restroy & Debuild, what’s your logic in this repositioned title?

The central theme of the record is the opposite of Nas’ track “Destroy & Rebuild”. Where he was breaking down his foes. Almost to a molecular level. So I wanted to do the flip of that, and build with my peers. Restroy & Debuild: To redefine the pure posse cut. When posse cuts bred anticipation. Not just celebrity. So I have some of the illest features ever, gracing this project. Really blessed by the samurai I share blades with. And Fakts One, a legend in my eyes, was moor than capable of providing the sonics. It’s a hell of a record.

Can we expect a departure from FIDEL with your production being handled by Fakts One? Will this record be less militant?

The record is less-militant, but just as a byproduct of my creative process. Earlier this year I released the Brody EP [with Wrecking Crew]. An entire EP inspired by Snatch, the classic Guy Ritchie film. Who woulda knew? Militancy will always be in my blood, and will always bleed through my music, but won’t always be the central theme of my records. If something needs to be spoken on, I will speak on it. I Have to. Stay tuned rebels and rebelettes. The uprising is nigh.

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