If you have never heard of Rafael Casal I would not be surprised. I am, however, quite sad for you.
Rafael Casal is a slam poet turned hip hop mastermind.
He has yet to release a single song that I would not put on repeat for hours on end and not get sick of. His skills are superb. His lyrics speak the truth.
You can tell by the heart and soul he puts into his music that he truly believes and loves the art of manipulating words into a sick rhyme and applying some seriously powerful beats to accentuate the lyrics.
I first fell in love with Rafael through a friend who introduced me. I didn't think much of him, just another hip hop artist that was decent enough. My friend made the mistake of leaving the CD in my car after I dropped her off one day.
Let's just say it didn't leave that crappy stock stereo for months.
I wore the thing out. Half the songs skipped because of sheer over use of the disc. But I refused to stop playing it. I knew every word and felt a real connection to this artist, even though I couldn't have described anything about him to you. I couldn't even name the songs because it was just a CD in the player. One thing I did know, was that I was listening to someone truly amazing.
Soon enough I decided to do some light youtubing to find out more about this Rafael Casal fella, and how he was so awesome. What did this man look like? How did he come up with this music? How is he not mega popular and extremely wide known?
I felt everyone already knew him and I was late to the game. Turns out I was relatively early to the party for the first time.
I discovered his poetry, in particular what he is most widely known for performing, "Barbie and Ken 101."
It is no secret that I am a huge fan of slam poetry. I love to write, I love to perform, and I love to watch and experience so many different people pour their hearts and souls into a mic in hopes someone will listen to them. Whether it is a poem that makes me laugh hysterically, or words that convey more sadness than I can fathom. I am drawn in almost instantly by anyone who has the guts to speak their truth.
Rafael Casal's "Barbie and Ken 101" changed my life. I wrote a paper on it during my breif stint in art school, and I've listened to his performance more times than I care to share. The man has some freaking talent. If you haven't seen this I suggest you do so immediately. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8MVhIiy8UQ)
As I said in the beginning of this post, you probably have never heard of Mr. Casal. It isn't because he isn't trying, because trust me, if you pay any attention to his twitter or facebook feeds the man is constantly at work to make kick ass music.
Every time I am up relatively late browsing through my phone I become legit excited if I see him posting a lot because it usually means he is up to something completely awesome.
I had the pleasure this evening of listening to his latest LP, "Mean Ones" which I literally cannot describe how truly amazing it is. I always think Casal cannot get any better, but with each new release (which he makes available for FREE to download at www.getrafael.com for ANYONE who wants to enjoy his music) he surprises me.
Casal's songs deserve to be on the minds of everyone. His lyrics deserve to be engraved in the brains of anyone willing to listen.
I also am extremely thrilled about Daveed Diggs, who Casal teamed up with for a Bay Boy Mixtape. Diggs has a unique sound to his voice I haven't heard before. I'm not sure I can compare it to anyone, it is truly fresh and new; just like Mr. Casal himself.
The man is smart.
I've since updated my car, including an iPod jack with some really amazing speakers, and I am grateful that playlists cannot be worn out, because let me tell you, my "Bay Area Mix" is on non stop repeat.
I would describe what Rafael Casal does as BRILLIANT and nothing less. It is a true honor to be able to listen to his music and I hope to do so for many years to come.