Gangster rap has always been in part inspired by the over-the-top imaginings of crime borrowed from film. This should come as a surprise to no one who’s listened to any amount of rap, especially classics like Biggie or Nas, who overtly and frequently make comparisons to Scarface, Godfather characters, New Jack City. These stories of cartoonish violence are engaging, their predictability endearing, and, when done well, makes for accessible references and easy-to-follow raps.
What happens less often is an all-out translation of an extant film into rap, and it’s that quality that made Curly Castro’s early 2014 Brody EP a noteworthy release. Invoking Guy Ritchie’s 2005 film Snatch, Castro takes us on an unhinged romp through the plot of the movie, his raps transplanting the uncommon setting of the London underbelly. Fellow Wrecking Crew-member Zilla Rocca handles production, using dialogue and the soundtrack of the film to create an appropriate soundscape for the mirroring to take place. Castro’s raps were able to convey the gleeful excitement of a fan, as well as casting himself as one of the characters in the story. It’s a Jason Statham-starring, high-octane action flick in rap form. What more could you want?
As a suitable follow up, Castro has compiled the various remixes, instrumentals, and leftover tracks into a new EP for your pleasure. “David Rodigan II” is the sequel to the Armand Hammer-featuring original, replacing the relative superstardom of Elucid and billy woods with the lesser-known, but still eager to party Wrecking Crew-affiliates Lamon Manual, PremRock, and Uncommon NASA. The result is a mish-mash of Crew chemistry, Snatch reimagining, and tribute to reggae legend David Rodigan. An unlikely combination, but everyone’s natural rap talent ties the track together. By the end, NASA has brought us from London back to NYC, densely percussive raps exploding in true action movie glory. The whole Instrumentals & Chips EP is an awesome supplement to a creative tape, featuring all of Zilla Rocca’s original beats.
Cop it on the Wrecking Crew Bandcamp.