Pure emotion in form of rhymes
The world is turned upside down: while some artists make it into the charts within 3 weeks thanks to mainstream TV media, and we have to suffer the "latin" successes of Chayenne, Ricky Martin and other genetic marketing clones, other musicians wait ten years until their work, of content and quality, is finally released.
That's Nilo Castillo's case, whose fault might have been that he was not born in Puerto Rico but in Cuba and that his rhymes did not politically fit into the system. In addition, he early sharpened his perception against hypocrisies of any type. Another "fault" Nilos' is his style (hip-hop, rap...), which neither the Spanish nor the South-American record companies seem to want to support. However, his style transcends any set musical genre. It's more like a travel-diary that tells stories of the streets; from the Caribbean to Europe, crossing South America
Nilo can't escape the fusion of Latin sounds that surround him since his early childhood. He is from Cuba and had to fight hard to reach our ears. Victim of a fierce yearning for music since a very young age, he was used to accompanying the bands of La Havane from bar to bar to hear them play and sing, until his friends encouraged him to write his own lyrics and music. Born in an artistic family (his mother was a dancer at Tropicana, the most popular cabaret in Cuba), nourished by the diversity of Cuban music and always on the prowl for new sounds, he decided to stick to rap, after having listened to Public Enemy's "Black Planet". That's his only American heritage and he doesn't hesitate to point his finger at the disastrous politics in the US.
His lyrics tell stories of the streets and his music is influenced by his journeys. His departure from Cuba across the equator was motivated by the unique opportunity to finally be able to produce his own record. However, his project "La Hora Cero" will never be a studio work and its on tape that these recordings circulated at the illegal parties in Havana. Ironically enough, Nilo became popular in the Cuban underground once he left the country. In Germany he was able to record the project "Coconuss" accompanied by "A Forest Mighty Black", Bernd Kunz' pseudonym. It was a step forward, but the record never found its way to the record labels in order to be released. However, not all was lost because this record served as a demo, with which Nilo presented himself to the Spanish. Working half-time as a DJ in Germany, he exactly knew the reaction of the audience to his songs. "I throw parties because the other DJ's bore me, even if I like some of them" he declares.
The party is Nilo's principle starting-point to reach the people. The Latin and Caribbean style functions at its best.
Nilo doesn't support stereotypes and even less so those commonly attributed to Cubans. He is simple in the best sense of the term and shocked by all things 'ultra-modern'. He states that he doesn't drink rum, and that he does not smoke cigars nor marijuana. One might feel tempted to add "..and does not wave the flag of any revolution". Concerning politics, he rather prefers day-to-day occurances. He knows that "there are good and bad things in any period of time and any regime". He's disturbed by stereotypes. Things are much more complicated than that, in particular, when people talking about certain situations haven't experienced them. As manu Chao said "it's easy today to scream "Vive le Che" or "Vive Zapata" in the scene to attract the european audience", but that's not his aim. His aim is pass on emotions and ideas, simple ideas like life on the streets. This life that concerns all of us, but that people at the top refuse to face. His honest music, nourished by the past and the present, open and permeable, is the ideal tool to let us take part in his journeys. When he is at the turntables, he has the habit to shout over the voices on the records. And when he shouts, he has the habit to pass on his ideas in the style of a bulldozer of rhyme. Live, he does everything possible in order to get the audience to party, and his musical guerilla functions through his biting rhymes. In two minutes, Nilo delivers a shattering blow to your head and body.
Since he's been in Spain, where he met his producer Juanjo Valmarisco, and the confidence in his project, other people like Javier Zarco (from Mestizo Promo)
have stated that he must be blessed with a good fortune. His formation includes henceforth a DJ and a "CDJ", who creates the musical basis. In addition, there are percussions and two singers, who are first and foremost his friends (a woman who dances and sings the background vocals and a man who only sings the background vocals). On the record Guajiro del Asfalto, Nilo invited Yotuel and Russo, singers of the band ORISHAS and friends since the FESTIMAD festival (Madrid) in 1999. Some people tried to draw parallels between the two groups, but that is just another attempt to label Nilo. However, he is an artist who wants to escape, consciously and unconsciously, the prefabricated images and the big music industry. His "alterlatina" music is above all absolutely Cuban.
Nilo Castillo has seen enough to guard himself against the demons of show business. From his time as a painter in Germany, he remembers the incredibly high prices he was forced to pay for suits to wear at vernissages and presentations. He has lived through too many difficult periods of time to not profit from his current good luck. But lets not spread fairy tales, it's the well-deserved fruit of his persistance and the daily struggle of an artist to get people to listen to his music. He was recently nominated for the Grammy Awards in the category "Best Hip-Hop Album 2002", a very rare nomination for a rapper who speaks Spanish.
We invite you to get to know more about the delightful and blazing rhymes coming from the Caribbean from Nilo Mc. Actively take part in this adventure, if you have the possibility to come across this "Agriculteur de l'Asphalt" (the name of his album) in France and the Navarra.
La Hora Cero
Guajiro del Asfalto
Virgin - Album
buy it at iTunes
Peret Rey de la Rumba
Radical Mestizo dos punto mil
Revelde Discos - Compilation
Virgin - Compilation
The Forum for Nilo MC
Entrevista con Nilo Castillo - 07/2002 (Castellano)
Entrevue avec Nilo Castillo - 07/2002 (Français)
Intervista con Nilo Castillo - 07/2002 (Italiano)
Contact & Management
- Mail :
- Tel. : (+34) 91 724 12 40
- Mov. : (+34) 629 424 521
- Fax : (+34) 91 724 14 73