Song You Need: Cult U.K. rapper CASISDEAD continues to captivate with “Traction Control” – The FADER

The FADER’s “Songs You Need” are the tracks we can’t stop playing. Check back every day for new music and follow along on our Spotify playlist.
Despite a developing fervent fanbase since he first emerged well over a decade ago, London rapper CASISDEAD has never fully embraced the spotlight. He’s always worn a mask in public, often a skull face but sometimes Freddy Krueger, and has stepped away from music entirely at different stages in time. His most recent project, an EP titled Commercial 2, dropped in 2015 but was limited edition and only available on cassette. You would be forgiven for thinking that CASISDEAD actively doesn’t really fancy entering the upper eschelons of U.K. rap.
All of this makes his recent output all the more fascinating. His new song, “Traction Control,” continues to use a the synth-heavy ’80s sci-fi futurism as its aesthetic, the same sonic landscape he used on “Boys Will Be Boys” and La Roux collaboration “Park Assist.” This time around he throws out quotables like “I just jumped out the morgue, ain’t nobody fresher / The only MC on my level, M.C. Escher…” over a production more befitting a Blade Runner scene than a guy who has worked with Giggs and JME. The result is fantastic. There’s a bittersweet chorus on which a Phil Collins soundalike croons, “I just wanna see your face, Your loss was a big mistake” over the retro production while CASISDEAD gets his bars off, returning to his oft-mentioned themes (drugs, violence) and lesser tread paths (meeting a girl who looks like Kesha).
“Traction Control” feels like another breakthrough for CASISDEAD. Whether the upcoming album (of which we have scant details) proves to bring that moment remains to be seen. You hope it does, but don’t bet against it simply adding further nuance to an already fascinating myth.