Sunday morning has arrived, it is 9:54 am, and Dom P has music on his mind. He, almost with a hint of excitement, states, “Everyday man…its every single day that I wake up thinking about a line, a lyric, a melody, a song…anything music-related. [Laughs] Its like music was a virus that I caught the minute I heard it, and its been invading ever since”. It seems as though he has decided to make his virus contagious, since his catalogue is growing at a Lil Wayne-esque pace, over-drawn with conflicting ideals, witty metaphors, unyielding flow, and realistic passion and bravado, and showing no indication of slowing down soon. He realizes that his stakes are high, and he’s dealing with a now-or-never business, that seems to have the doors jilted at each turn…but he’s trying all his keys anyway. Paticio Gabriel Castillo, 21, was born to two Dominican parents, who emigrated to New York City in the early eighties during the height of Dominican immigration, whom he credits his entire being to. “My parents were really like my guideline on how to be who I am now. You know? Like seeing my mother’s attitude, I created my own, and fascinated by my father’s talent…I discovered my own”. That talent which he refers to, is that of Reynaldo Castillo, acclaimed percussionist for one of the most popular bands in Latin music, “Milly y La Orchesta”. He admirably reflects, “I used to stare at my dad practice his drum routine on these rubber pads that he had…man it use to shock the shit out of me to see such fast, rhythmic movement come out of my dad. That shit can make any little kid proud”. Tagging alongside his father for various concerts and events throughout his childhood, Dom saw everything the music world had to offer, good and bad, and begged for participation. “Man I could only fucking imagine what that’s like!” he says coming out of his nonchalant demeanor, “Having someone come up to you, as they would to my dad, being incredibly honored to shake your hand, simply because you’re talented. That legendary status is so amazing, simply because it puts you in a realm where you’re almost perfect at something. And to be called perfect for doing something you love: its unreal!” With a hand full of raw almonds (“They’re really good for your skin…and they taste damn good” he says) we enter the BMI building, where he is going to finally register himself for publishing purposes and for a meeting with one of the top executives of the company. Although this seems like an opportunity of a lifetime that would render any person nervous, Dom is calmly looking around and chatting of the pitfalls of post-graduate life with the receptionist. “This is a nice fucking waiting area…you can tell a lot about something by how you wait for it…so this is probably gonna’ be good”. After the meeting [held behind closed doors], he comes out of the room with a stifled smile that indicates it went better than he expected. As we get into a cab, he tells me, “you know God makes no mistakes and never says anything slick to a can of grease…so whatever happens and however it happens…that’s the way it has to go! That being said…I have the patience of a saint for this, because I know it will come.” As soon as he gave the cab driver the address, he lets me know we are en route to his recording studio, which he has set up in his home. “My man Ace King showed me how to set up my own shit, so instead of paying $60/ hr for a ‘professional’ studio, I pay $700 and make my own for life.” He explains how he has learned that one way or another, one has to find the path to reach one’s goals, and his anecdote of creating his own home studio was just one of the many adventures he’s had to traverse in his life. Speaking in the most entrepenuarial spirit, he constantly refers to one’s success as one’s own doing and not a mere product of chance and waiting. “I had to make it man. I had to make wack songs, with wack sound quality… that’s what taught me to make great songs, with perfect sound quality.” As soon as the work station is powered up, its a completely different Dom P. Its like he dawns a disguise that gets shred to pieces the minute sounds begin projecting from his lavish studio speakers. His mood seems far more mellowed, yet his tone is far more energetic. He slumps in his chair and begins to mumble things to himself (which I later discover is the song-writing process). “I can’t sit and just write rhymes with no emotion. I can do it with no beat, but not without emotion. If I don’t feel what I’m saying, why would I ever expect YOU to feel it?” After a reflective pause he adds, “its so stupid when dudes just make songs with no meaning. Its a waste of so much time and money, that I don’t know how execs even ‘ok’ shit like that.” Dom P, however, appears to not be trodden with pressure or fears for creating quality music. After about 15 minutes of no conversation and a looping instrumental, he finally smiles and lowers the volume and says, “let me let you in my head: Time waits for no man, time must be an old man/ traveling the old land, as if he were a nomad/ time is my nigga, ‘cause he never lets me hold back/ its now or never, time will tell if my flow lasts.” Impressive, to say the least! Less than an hour has elapsed and Dom P has already concluded a song he tentatively titled “Time Vs. The Man” and after hearing it play back three or four times, he says he’s pleased. “It drives me crazy sometimes,” he begins, “like, I want it to sound so unbelievably perfect, that sometimes I discourage myself. [Laughs] So when I play it back, I’m not hearing for how good it is, but actually looking for what’s wrong with it, so I can filter it out and possibly shape perfection out of it”. Its incredibly refreshing to watch someone demonstrate so much passion and commitment to a craft, that seems to be taken less serious as the years progress. The music business has become one of intense commercialism and pursuit of profit and immediate fame, and caught up in the business of selling music, it seemed to have stopped caring about making music. Therefore, the quality of lyricism displayed on a record is rarely ever given praise, and in some cases, the lyricist is overlooked in preference of the generic rapper. “I guess its depressing if you think about it. Like I’m so in love with this one song I just made and that one line I told you about [one where states: time filled with seconds that it will never lend/ that will end your life, but time will never end] and I thought so much to create these great lines and ideas. Yet, somewhere in another studio, some nigga is just writing rhymes about some bullshit, not even caring about what he’s saying, thinking of a dance for it or some shit and shipping it out to the public. Its a dual problem ‘cause its kind of obvious these niggas don’t give a fuck about making MUSIC, but then again, the fucking fans aren’t giving them a reason to give a fuck. So its like both sides of the coin are braindead.” As I leave his studio (which he refers to as “Outer Space” due to the out-of-this-world feeling he claims to feel when he creates music), he grabs my wrist and says, “If you make any reader believe anything, make them believe I’m one of the nicest lyricists ever. [Laughs]. You can portray my personal self as a fucking asshole, but let them know the music is real! This shit has less to do with my ego, and more to do with my music.” For some reason, his closing argument stuck in my head and I realize that here was one of the most talented individuals I’ve ever met (not saying this due to his request), with so much to offer the world, especially music fans, yet its still difficult for true talent to acquire any platform to display itself. Without question, Dom P will become someone to note in the future and will most probably achieve the legendary status he so covets, but for now, one things is evident about the young, humble lyricist and its best left to be said in his own words: “As I told you in the cab, God makes no mistakes. So its no mistake that I’m good at this, and its definitely no mistake that you are the one who gets to tell my story. So if I never get the chance to tell it myself, I deeply thank you [pause]…O and of course God for bringing you here [chuckles].” No mistake indeed. ——- Shavon Jones Journalist and Jr. Editor
When you think about battling life and death you might think old age, war, maybe even having too much fast food, but one rarely thinks birth which was the case with the up and coming Dom P whose real name is Patricio Castillo. On December 2nd, 1986, his mom had to decide whether to let her only son, who hasnt even been born yet, live in return for her own life. Like any great mother would do, she decided to let him live. Fortunately for both of them, they both made it. Growing up in Inwood, Washington Heights and Harlem in New York City, which predominantly has Dominican and Black people roaming the streets, Spanish music and hip-hop was and still is the music being heard all over. Being a son to a drummer for the most famous female Spanish Merengue star Milly Quezada, it was only a matter of time until he himself got into music. Even at a young age he would write poems and rap with friends for fun. He always knew he had a knack for it but never thought seriously about pursuing a hip hop career until his friends gave him that extra push. Alongside his cousins Emmanuel “Dj Boy” Abreu, and the YLG crew, Dom P is creating music that will surely inspire the youth in poverty-stricken neighborhoods to pursue the truth in life, and put Washington Heights on the map for the first time. Hip Hop has been his love since the first moment he heard it, and now he ensures any one who listens that he will represent Hip Hop in its element. Stay tuned for this one, he’s sure to bring a lot of commotion to the streets of “New York, New York.”
Edited by djboy on 20 Aug 2009, 08:00
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