LIFE'S A BEACH CasUno hits the shore.
"Welcome to where we keep it wordy not nerdy," declares CasUno EndCrews (aka Chris Andrews) on "Sticks Out Like a Sore Thumb," the title track of his latest and final solo disc (available right now at ughh.com). CasUno indeed has a knack for verbose bars and couplets with a blunt-singed delivery, and his eccentric wordplay is often impressive, as is the tight-knit cipher of rhymers and producers within his arsenal. CasUno has a lot to say (to say the least), and this time around he's gunning for posers and "Peter Pansy" rappers on Sticks Out Like a Sore Thumb.
Scan through the extensive Labeless blog (which includes a thorough track-by-track analysis) or the Sore Thumb liner notes or any of the five Labeless releases (including CasUno's 2004 solo debut The Art of Pissing People Off and ESH's top-shelf '08 release A.D.Dventures of an E.ccentric S.uper H.ero) and it's clear that Cas and ESH (Tyler Edwards, aka ESH, the "Eccentric Super Hero") feed off their self-anointed outsider status. Hell, album shoutouts and thank-yous read like he's still venting on occasion. But, according to Cas, Sore Thumb will be his final solo release, and he's leaving it all out there.
"No more predisposed ideas left in the think tank to concern myself with — I'm now interested in what Labeless will do next," Cas told me. "After we publicly push this new record, I'll exert my efforts and education more into the behind-the-scenes aspects, but I'm pretty spent conceiving, performing, and presenting my own works as the sole focal point."
The core members of Labeless Illtelligence — Andrews and Tyler Edwards both split town since we last met at their East Providence studio in February ("Focus group: Labeless Illtelligence," February 17, 2010); family man Andrews packed up with daughter and expecting wife and moved back to his native New Bedford (aka "New Bedrock"), and Edwards hit the Pike to Allston, Mass. Rhody friends came out in force on Sore Thumb, with vocal guest shots from Poorly Drawn People's Storm Davis and Reason, local crew Dirty Durdie, and Edgewood's finest, Romen Rok, with additional production help from Intrikit, DJ Al Bums, and PDP's Dox, plus longtime collaborator Gibran on the final mixes.
"Gibran finely tuned the album and funneled the arsenal of ideas, sounds, and voices into one coherent, centralized project," said Andrews. "I don't have the capability or patience to create beats, mix, master, rock turntable cuts, and arrange music, man.
"I just write raps, recite, record, disagree, crack the whip, piss people off, and then present the final product to the public."
The cover art conveys the fringe status Cas seems to embrace, rocking a North Face parka on a sunny summer day at Onset Beach in Wareham.
"I wanted to bring forth my entire being, visually and audibly, with this last installment," he said, "so it's only right I include my original and current stomping grounds.
"Yeah, I kinda stuck out a little bit that day."
And check the CD inlay: what at first glance resembles a swarm of bees on a honeycomb is, in fact, an ashtray teeming with blunt roaches ("I don't remember the last time I write, recited, or recorded whilst not weeded").