“The common denominator between Chief Keef and Common.” That’s the description offered up of himself by Mikkey Halsted on his uncompromising new mixtape Castro. Produced in large part by No I.D. and Don Cannon, it’s the work of an artist who has lived through many of the hardships that persist in his hometown of Chicago, an artist who just as importantly is equipped with the skills to portray those hardships in a manner that is both engaging as well as accurate.
Castro is packed with startling descriptions of street life (the image of a mother waving goodbye to her child becomes heartbreaking here), with death and regret hanging in the air over many of the songs. Complementing the beats by No I.D – which skew a little more rough and tumble than his usual fare – and bringing Halsted’s aforementioned lyric to true fruition is producer Young Chop of “I Don’t Like” fame, who surprises with a pair of ferocious but deeply felt records (including “Momma In My Ear,” on which a fired up Pusha T sounds more comfortable than he’s been on pretty much any of his G.O.O.D. Music releases).
Download — Mikkey Halsted & Don Cannon – Castro Mixtape