I WISH I WAS THERE – AARON CASAS
I don’t know if I’ve ever heard this kind of concept work from so young an artist – Aaron Casas is part of 48 Miles East, a crew whose name is a reference to Fontana being 48 miles from Los Angeles. With roots in Fontana and Moreno Valley area, Casas' new album plays with the idea of contrasting the glitzy Los Angeles with the gritty Inland Empire, hence the cover art featuring the Hollywood sign and the Mo Val “M”.
“whether it’s the Hollywood sign or an m”
Like many young I.E. rappers, he has angry critique for the corporate music establishment, “you’re signed to a rapper that’s signed to a rapper…” he snarls on “Clear.”
I dig the trance he’s in when he sings “what else can we do but take a 40 to the mind?” on “Load the 9” which has a creepy instrumental from Aragami. Cloud Nine produced by has a pleasing boom-bap momentum. “Free” is an example of the real shit this MC tackles like child poverty and incarceration “ever done homework as you’re homeless?” Produced mainly by Reneezy with assorted beats from several others, these beats are dark and ominous with their deep bass and spidery evil guitar riffs and piano chimes. "Ghosts in your Mind" is a vibe and I think a hint of the kind of emotionally powered and hard-hitting work Casas and company are capable of.
His passion outraces his dexterity at times but he's not shying away from the work- he writes choruses and sings, he has verses, he has topics, he talks about his real I.E. life...which I appreciate. He even tackles themes of class and glamour versus working class reality, which is I think the elephant in the room in our region so I appreciate anyone else shining light on these angles. I'll be watching Casas and his 48 Miles East compatriots with great interest, because as he said to me, "we're just trying to create something special here, just like everyone else in this area!"
Tristan "Tanjint Wiggy" Acker is a staff writer for Zus Entertainment, a Jooseboxx and Untapped Hip-Hop contributor, and member of the Inland Empire, California based nerdculture hip-hop group the West Coast Avengers