Curly Castro: Eulogy to L


I can’t recall exactly which cassette I owned first – L.L. Cool J’s Bigger and Deffer or Run-DMC’s Tougher Than Leather – but both played huge roles in turning me on to hip-hop as a wee 9-year-old.

Like Radio before it, Bigger and Deffer blasted big boasts and gut-thumping beats. Hell, this album was too cool to have sides named A and B. No, they were called the “Bigger Side” and “Deffer Side,” naturally. I played that tape constantly, fascinated at the cadence of the beats and L.L.’s rhymes. Try not to get amped when L.L. flies in on I’m Bad: “No rapper can rap quite like I can / I’ll take a muscle-bound man and put his face in the sand.”

But we all know the L.L. that graced that cover – Kangol and rope chain, the definition of B.A.D. – isn’t the L.L. we know now. Zilla Rocca sums it up precisely: “Since 1997′s Phenomenon to present day, LL burned the goodwill of a thousand Kangols with each shallow and trendy album.”

And so it is that Curly Castro gives a voice to what we’ve all been thinking on his new single Eulogy to L, which is exactly what the title claims it is. Here lies James Todd Smith’s career: Rest in peace. It’s a bold callout – delivered over Zilla’s breakdown of The Boomin’ System – but one that gives the nostalgic among us a sense of closure.

The track will appear on Castro’s new LP Winston’s Appeal, which will be released on Friday through and Three Dollar Pistol Music. Stream it below or download at

Castro will be performing as part of 5 O’Clock Shadowboxers (with Zilla Rocca) on Friday, Feb. 18, at the Hidden House with Open Mike Eagle and Nocando in a show I’m sponsoring with the guys at Universatile Music. You might remember him from the last time Shadowboxers rolled through town.

5 O’Clock Shadowboxers: Bottomfeeders (Small Pro Remix) + No Resolution, live in PHX
Curly Castro and Zilla Rocca: Str8 Westcoastin’ Mix
I Used to Love H.E.R.: Curly Castro

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