Staten Island MC uses her tears to wake up her generation
Photo by Dominique Dawson
“When I wrote ‘Crying in the Dark’ the very thought that sparked my tears was the idea that someone like Trump would be president. I felt helpless in that moment and I wanted to write a song about my true feelings. In a way it was the quiet before the storm.”
Bronx born, Staten Island-based MC Nani Castle first made noise with her 2015 mixtape Amethyst Tape, followed by appearances on tracks with Maluca and Nire. “Crying the Dark” is her first single off her upcoming debut album Sin York, to be released in early 2017. The video, directed by Dominique Dawson, shows a set of people taking doses of Castle’s tears in the form of a blue pill. Taking the drug forces the users to put down their distractions and experience Castle’s pain, and in turn their own pain. “People are afraid to show weakness and emotion. Instead, dimly lit screens house our dependance for approval,” she explains. “The hook I wrote, ‘I’ll wait for, just speak the truth’ refers to my want for people to wake up and speak their truths and to recognize other people’s truths and struggles.”
The video was shot entirely in Staten Island, and Castle says the song was written in the wake of Eric Garner’s murder on the island at the hands of the NYPD, and the subsequent imprisonment of Ramsay Orta for filming the shooting. It all sits over a freestyle-influenced beat from longtime collaborator Udachi, with Castle’s voice and lyrics giving the typically upbeat keyboard melodies a grim, goth feeling. It’s suffering and crying and anxiety among the cheap glamor coming out of our screens.
In the wake of this week’s election, Castle says the song and video have taken on amplified meaning. Given the hundreds of thousands of people around the country who turned out last night to loudly protest Trump’s election, it seems there is some hope that people are ready to take action on their own pain, and in solidarity with the pain of others. Now more than ever, we need the music and videos of Castle and others like her to keep galvanizing us, to keep transforming our tears into weapons to take down the systems of white supremacy that killed Eric Garner, freed his murderer, and brought Trump into the Whitehouse.
We should all look forward to the full batch of powerful songs on Sin York to drop. We’re going to need it and a lot more records to get us through the next four years and beyond.
You can download the song for free on Castle’s Soundcloud below.