Exclusive Premiere: Curly Castro – ‘Babel’ feat. Defcee, Collasoul Structure & Elucid + Interview

curly castro grown up rap interview

Wrecking Crew emcee Curly Castro releases his anticipated TOSH LP next week, but today we’re bringing you the exclusive premiere of album track Babel, featuring his frequent collaborator Elucid, plus Defcee and Collasoul Structure. Listen above, then read on for our Curly Castro interview.

You’ve described TOSH as being inspired by DOOM, George Orwell and Spike Lee. That’s quite the dinner party. Can you unpack that for us?

TOSH is an amalgam that I had in the works for four years. I am an admitted DOOM acolyte, a Sci-Fi cine-file, and a Spike Lee devotee. So any of my works will always have those gamma radiated glows, within. TOSH is the Wrecking Crew combination of Brooklyn boom-bap with Schoolly D Drums.

There’s also an obvious reference to Peter Tosh in the album’s name, and to an extent in the sound. How does his story and legacy inspire you?

I wanted to make a record that illustrated some of my cultural influences, as well as my musical ones. I wanted folks to know what Flatbush & Church Ave smelled like, in a West Indian-Brooklyn morning. The sounds, the air, I hoped to give a little sample of that with TOSH, with Peter Tosh being the main catalyst for the message, in the sense that Peter was unapologetically HIMSELF within his music. He took no shorts and listened to no one beneath him musically. He was a force incarnate. TOSH also flexes some unmatched bladework, I am Wrecking Crew after all.

When we interviewed billy woods last year, we talked about how spending parts of his upbringing in the West Indies shaped him as a musician. Seeing as you have ties there too, I was curious about how it may have molded you?

Well I am a third generation Bajan (Barbados in origin), and my upper firmament of relatives (Grandmother, Grandfather, Great Aunts & Uncles, etc.) all came from the island and relocated mostly in Brooklyn. America and her ways have a totally different tint when you look through ‘Foreigner’ shades. To make a long story short, my evolution came of the American wilderness, but my five senses were of a Caribbean tilt. Our eyes see things different, our palate tastes things different, our ears hunt for different sounds, and our skin begs for different climate, so on and so forth. So anytime I create, I am influenced by those base ideals and stimuli.


TOSH is an ambitious, expansive project, covering a lot of ground. You also have a lot of different producers on there, providing different soundscapes. Was this intentional, maybe to help each track stand alone, while also still fitting cohesively with the rest of them?

Usually, most of my bigger releases have the multiple producer format employed. I sent out the call as a mission to accomplish, to all those interested. I asked for hip-hop beats with a Dub slant or influence. As the sonics dictate, the results were exceptional and uniquely varied. I only work with folks whom I trust with total autonomy. And all the producers involved performed with great aplomb. Couldn’t have been more blessed with their respective contributions. BIGGUPS!

I was also pleased to see a beat by someone who is vastly underrated as a producer, Blueprint (Eulogy to Hottentot). How did you and Printmatic connect?

Print is a gift to our culture and we are all very lucky to have him. Blueprint produced the lead single for my last solo record, FIDEL. The song was They Call Me Castro (there’s a video out there for that as well). We also did a song together on my Wrecking Crew A-alike Small Professor’s Gigantic Vol. I LP (Make Moves). So we have a decent working history, and I am a big fan of his work. So when word got out about what I was looking for in terms of TOSH sonics, Print said “Oh I have something that might fit that aesthetic, try this one out.” And of course it fit PERFECT, and became one of my more enjoyable songs on the record.

Elsewhere you also have production from Blockhead, who in my opinion in recent years has created some of his best work for Backwoodz Studioz artists.

Blockhead’s contribution came about as a fit of hip-hop generosity as well. The beat was originally for billy woods, but again, when woods heard about the TOSH initiative, he was like “Hey, try this Blockhead beat out, see if it works.” Another one that fit like a glove! So I humbly asked Blockhead if ownership of the beat could be transferred from the enigmatic one, woods, to myself. He was more than down, and even complemented the track once I completed it and added woods as the guest feature.

Regular readers will know we’ve championed music from your circle for a long time; Wrecking Crew, billy woods, Elucid et al. It comes across as a strong creative network where all of you are genuinely rooting for each other to do well and produce your best work. Is that a fair assessment?

Very Fair. All of us in “otherground” (what we call our collective, sometimes) have been in crews, clicks, clans, clandestine and otherwise. So we all went thru the gamut of competitive-cooperative hip-hop economics. And with our current incarnation, we’ve been through all that already. So we support one another without any pause whatsoever. A win for one, is a win for the Massive. Man sharpens man, like steel sharpens steel.

Tell us about working with billy’s Backwoodz Studioz imprint. It feels like a label that gives artists free reign to produce exactly the kind of music they want, with no pressure to conform to something that will help sales?

Backwoodz supports the creative, they want our creative spirit to be free-flowing and as envelope-pushing as possible. They embrace the Mutant X gene, and encourage its use. It’s refreshing to have a label with the same sensibilities as your own. I was a great fan and supporter of their entire catalogue before my inclusion. It was only right, and a matter of time, that I crafted something, that would spark their antennae, and give a neighbourhood rebel a shot.

You have billy woods on Ital-You-Can-Eat, and Elucid on Babel. Was having them feature separately as their own entity instead of together on the same track as Armand Hammer a conscious decision? I ask because them together is definitely different to them apart.

The way I featured them on the record, was strictly governed by the needs of the song. Simply put, billy woods fit ITAL-You-Can-Eat for his culinary expertise and mastery of the slang of sustenance. And Elucid fit well with the serrated samurai work of Babel, along with Defcee & Collosoul Structure (of Jyroscope). Armand Hammer in full force, I might not be worthy. LOL

Any final words about TOSH?

I hope the people dig the record, I put a lot of myself into this record, and I hope to make my Caribbean ancestry proud. ‘Wrecking Crew God!! Even on my worst day.’ And Biggups to Backwoodz Studioz for believing in the kid. Please snatch up TOSH on December 14, when it drops. Also grab Future Former Rapper from my best friend, Zilla Rocca. And grab Church Jawns by Small Professor. Oh, and Poet’s Payday by Premrock & Fresh Kils. Just know that Wrecking Crew is working, catching wreck from planet to planet!! WonL.


TOSH it out December 14 on Backwoodz Studioz. Get it here. Follow Curly Castro on Twitter. Interview by Grown Up Rap Editor Ben Pedroche.

Bonus Beat:

Curly Castro also handed us this unreleased track he did with the group Black Uhuru a few years back:

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