Interview By: Molly Mollotova, Photo By: EC Neba

The Dallas hip hop scene has been on the rise for years. That’s not even up for discussion. As of right now, some of the nation’s most talented DJ’s, producers and rappers call Dallas home. One of the newer faces around town is 23 year old rapper, Casta Stone, who has been hustling non-stop since his arrival in the Big D. With his minimalistic beats, thoughtful lyrics and undeniable presence, Casta Stone is definitely an artist to pay attention to in the coming months.

 First off, tell us a bit about yourself.

 

The story behind how I became interested in rap is rather funny. I was about 12 or 13 years old, living in Cameroon, West Africa when my Dad mistakenly bought a street bootleg mixtape thinking it was a Bob Marley CD (Busta Rhymes was on the cover). Busta had dread locks at the time. Upon realization that it was not a Bob Marley, He just kinda left it laying around the house. Some how, I stumbled on it, played it and fell in love with the genre. It contained Records from a lot of artists including Bone Thugs N Harmony, Nas, Ice Cube and these artists inspired me to start rapping. 

 I later on moved to Dayton, OH and then eventually Dallas,TX which is where I decided to settle and pursue my music career. The talent and diversity of sound in this city is very impressive and It just felt right to be in Dallas. 

 

What is the story behind the name?

 Well, my first name is Castagnoli. My dad named me after one of his good friends whom he met while studying Banking and Finance in Italy. Obviously, most people cannot pronounce it so I just go by Cas or Casta. To be honest, I really don’t remember when I adopted “Stone” as part of my name. I think it was during my weight lifting phase during my Freshmen year of College or something like that. Together Casta Stone sounded kinda cool, so it just stuck. 

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Describe your sound/vibe for us.

Three main things inspire my music: Experience, Observation and Imagination. I understand that as a rap artist based in the South, a lot of people expect my music to be about cliche and typical subject matter. We all know what the cliche subject matter is as far as hip hop is concerned but I make music that people can relate you. There’s a soulful element in the instrumentals and the content of my music. 9 out of 10 times, the average person cannot relate the hip hop records they hear on the radio. But, I guarantee that if you listen to a full project of mine, you’ll relate to at least half the records. The content can go from very abstract to very simple. It just depends on the picture I am trying to paint. 

 

Listening to several of your older tracks like “Lone Wolf” and “Floatin”, I get a Lupe Fiasco vibe from you. Do you ever get compared to any other artists? If so, who? If not, what artists would you say you sound most like? 

Oh wow, thanks. Yea, I’ve heard quite a few comparisons. Just depending on the record. I’ve even heard people compare me to 50 Cent. I like to focus more on the evolution of my personal sound rather than comparing myself to other established artists because I don’t think I’ve earned that yet. However, I will say that my biggest inspiration is Nas. 

 Since you are relatively new to the Dallas music scene, what is your take on it? Do you have any favorite local artists/venues?

I think Dallas has a lot of talent and a lot of potential. I just had an opportunity to perform at Absinthe Lounge. The show was hosted by DJ Rahsean and Sosa Real. It was dope to see the diversity of sound and talent in the building. Just a great experience overall. There are quite a few artists that are definitely doing their thing out here. I’ve been able to work with artists like Cinque Cortez, America’s Beast, Holden Da Truth, Meka Jackson and I’ve heard echoes about the work of -topic, ADD+ and more so the city as a whole definitely has a lot to offer. 

 

As far as your creative process goes, do you have a strict method or more of a “go with the flow” attitude?

 It really depends. Sometimes the subject matter requires me to do some research in order for me to be knowledgeable about what I’m talking about and some times, going with the flow is the best option. It usually captures a tone and mood that cannot be recreated.

 

 

You are set to drop a new project this month. What can you tell us about it?

Yes, The Video for “Live fast, Die Old”, which features TYE (Rest in Peace), which is the intro to my upcoming EP “Quarter Life Crisis, just premiered on Worldstarhiphop this morning. Also, we are currently shooting “Lost in Love” and “Running Rebels” which should premiere on Worldstar as well weeks from today. 

 

What was the inspiration behind the new album? Is there a theme or main concept?

Quarter Life Crisis is a project that is largely inspired by the struggles of early adulthood. Most of the project was recorded during my last semester in College and most of the records are produced by Dallas producer and Illustrator Erlson Neba. I was just going through a worrisome phase about the overall progress I was making in life and I decided to channel that emotion into music. 

 

What do you hope fans take away from the new album?

I just want fans to be able to relate to the music and just enjoy it. I want it to a project that a fan would wanna listen to while cleaning up on a Saturday morning or just going for a job. Just want people to hear the music and relate to it.

 

 Are you planning on performing any time soon?

Yes, I am working on getting some shows set up. As soon as I get confirmations, I will update everyone via social media. 

 


What goes into one of your live performances? How do you prepare? 

Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. I just practice my set as much as can and make sure I am comfortable before I get on stage.

 

Tell us about any struggles you had or any on-going struggles you currently face in the music scene.

I think the biggest struggle for any upcoming artist is money. It takes a lot of will to make some of the sacrifices that come with fueling a dream. But I believe there is beauty in the struggle. I’m more focused on the experience and earning my stripes. The things I am going through now are the stories I will tell in future records. So, all is well. 

 

What are you currently listening to?

I am currently listening to the new new Lupe album. It’s pretty dope. Also, Loso’s new project is cold. The new J. Cole is cold as well. I’m also checking out a much of local artists. 

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If you were to cover an artist whose music was completely different than yours, which artist would it be and which song?

 

Hmmm. Maybe “Simple man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. I listen to a lot of other genres but that is the first song that comes to mind right now. not sure why but its a dope song. 

 

What inspires you?

Inspiration can come from anything and everything. The things I go through on a regular basis inspire me a lot but observing and imagining also translate into very interesting stories. 

 

Who are your biggest supporters? Do you have a creative team or collaborators?

I would have to say my biggest supporter is my producer/illustrator/cousin Erlson “EC” Neba. I think he is the only that really sees my vision. Together we are the Runnin’ Rebelz. However, I get a lot of support and love from friends and family which I am more than grateful for.

 

What is the newest life lesson you have learned?

Hard work and resilience eventually leads to success. 

 

What is next for Casta Stone?

I’ll be doing a lot of local performances and releasing a much of videos. So stay tuned!

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Be sure to check out Casta Stone’s new video, “Live Fast, Die Old” from the upcoming album, Quarter Life Crisis, here. You can also keep up with him on Soundcloud and Facebook.