FEW ARTISTS CAN CLAIM TO BE AS CAPTIVATING AS CASISDEAD. ARGUABLY THE BEST RAPPER IN THE UK – SOME WOULD SAY IT’S NO CONTEST. AT THE VERY LEAST HE’S THE MOST VERSATILE, A RARE GEM IN MODERN RAP, EXPLORING LINGUISTICS AND EXPERIMENTAL SONIC BACKDROPS.
CASISDEAD may not be a household name but that’s set to change. The Tottenham MC had a busy 2016, even after appearing on two tracks on Giggs’ Summer LP, ‘Landlord’. After teaming up with the cream of the British music scene, all aspects of his career so far suggest he’s about to impact on UK music in a big way.
Appearing on the scene in 2013, CASISDEAD has built a steady, loyal fanbase through a solidly British identity. He effortlessly pays homage to the MCs that came before him, while possessing a unique charm that’s drawn a cult fanbase in droves. Name-checking everything from Eastenders characters to local BMW car dealerships, he’s so UK that most of his references go over the heads of many that haven’t connected with English pop culture. Testament to his position as the next British MC to make an impact, he’s already worked with UK music’s elite, from Tricky to Katy B, Giggs to Chase and Status; and that’s in 2016 alone.
The year marked a change in direction from the sound of his Number 23 album, released in 2013. Standing out from the UK rap soundscape at the time, CASISDEAD delivered distinctly hip hop flows over grime beats crafted by industry veterans like JME and Faze Miyake, along with mellow cuts from The Purist, a collaborator of Danny Brown, Roc Marciano and Action Bronson.
CAS’ latest project, ’Commercial 2’, was released in 2015, exclusively on cassette with a limited press sold via his website and priced at just 1p. Displaying a more mature sound than his 2013 album, the follow up featured an assortment of 1980s electronic instrumentals, including a couple of familiar songs from film scores. The sound led one fan to comment, “It’s a bit too commercial,” which amused CAS, considering the title. The mixtape celebrates his love of nostalgia, while confirming that he was probably born in the wrong era of music.
Standing apart from every seminal UK rap album ever released, ‘Commercial 2’ sees CAS embellish the eighties sounds with raps as gritty as everything he’s previously delivered. Over the beats, he relays tales of his near-death experience, the death of his abusive uncle and the prison sentence his friend is currently serving. Amongst the instrumentals are songs prominent in the soundtracks of two of his favourite films, ‘Drive’ and ‘Bronson’, both directed by Kavinski, a director he admires. The follow up single to ‘Commercial 2’, ‘Before This’, produced by LATER, conjured up a similarly nostalgic feeling, seeming to confirm the direction CAS is stepping in musically. It’s a sound that suits him, while setting him firmly apart from other MCs in the UK.
This is an extract of an article from Viper . Buy physical and digital copies via Viper World.
This is an extract from Issue 7, The Barely Legal Issue of Viper Magazine. Read more from the magazine here. Buy physical and digital copies here.
Photos by Mr Ghostrain
Words by Lily Mercer