Biography of the group “Casta”
Kasta is a Russian rap group that has existed since the late 90s. The meaningful, thoughtful creativity of the phenomenon collective attracts a wide variety of audiences – from schoolchildren to businessmen, which can be seen at any Casta concert.
History of the group
The legendary team, on the work of which a whole generation of domestic connoisseurs of rap music has already grown up, was formed in 1997 in one of the most criminal cities in Russia – Rostov-on-Don. The founder of the group was Vladislav Leshkevich, better known as Vladi.
Vladi from Casta in his youth (pictured with rapper Lyon)
At the age of 12, he became interested in rap, and a year later he was composing songs in broken English with might and main. The lack of professional equipment did not bother the boy. He recorded his first creations on an old cassette recorder, tapping beats with a wooden hanger on a metal basin. By the age of sixteen, Vladi successfully graduated from music school, and his mixes were played on local radio.
In 1995, together with his friend and like-minded Tidan, he organized the Psycholyric rap group, which became the foundation for Caste. A year later, Mikhail Epifanov (Shym) joined their duet, and the newly minted group became part of the already existing association of Rostov hip-hop performers “Casta”.
In 1997, Tidan was replaced by Vasily Vakulenko, who in those years performed under the pseudonym Basta Khryu. He proposed to rename the group “Psycholyric” to “Kastu”. And the Caste association, which included other rap groups, for example, the Sand People, began to be called the United Caste to avoid confusion.
The main stages of creativity
The musicians became regulars at rap parties in the popular Duncan and Comanchero clubs in Rostov, and in 1999 took part in the recording of the United Caste album. Then Andrei Pasechny (Khamil) joined the group and the guys began to go on tour to St. Petersburg, Moscow and Krasnodar.
In the photo: Shym, Vladi and Khamil
In the same year, they won the Grand Prix of the Rap Music festival and performed in Luzhniki at a joint concert with Bomfunk MC’s. Soon their debut album, Louder Than Water, Higher Grass, was released, which was an unexpected success. About one hundred thousand copies of it have been sold. By the end of 2002, it became clear that rap music began to emerge from the underground, and in many respects this was the merit of the guys from Casta.
“Louder than water, higher than grass” – the debut album of “Casta”
In support of the album, the group released a video for the song “An order of magnitude higher” and went on a tour in Russia and the countries of the former CIS. Soon, Vladi pleased the fans with his solo album “What should we do in Greece”, and two years later Khamil’s album “Phoenix” was released.
Although these records are called solo, all the musicians took part in their recording, just one of the members of the team took over the production of the album. A video clip was shot for the song “Hot Time”, and soon it became the soundtrack to Yegor Konchalovsky’s sensational action movie “Antikiller”.
In 2008, Anton Mishenin (Snake) joined the group, and the team, with a renewed line-up, released the next album, “Byl v glaz”, which took pride of place in the ranking of an authoritative online publication about rap music.
In 2008, the Serpent came to Caste (second from left)
Four talented MCs, each of which was a unique creative unit in its own way with its own style and recitative, set a high standard in the domestic rap culture for many years and became the impetus for promoting this musical direction to the masses.
In 2009, “Casta”, along with rapper Guf, was named the best team in the domestic rap party, and a year later was awarded the title of “MTV Legends”.
Over time, the musicians moved away in their work from autobiographical texts and acute social themes and moved on to writing artistic and philosophical tracks filled with reflections on the meaning of life, love and loneliness. Unlike most Russian rappers, they were not “children of the streets”, they grew up in prosperous families and received a good education, which was reflected in the mature work of Casta.
An interesting experiment was their collaboration with the creators of the painting “Vysotsky. Thank you for being alive, ”which resulted in the original clip of the group. And the stars of Russian show business took part in the recording of the video for the single “Compose Dreams”: Pavel Volya, Noize MC, Ravshana Kurkova and even Mikhail Efremov.
The third (except for the solo albums of the group members) album “Casta” was released in 2017. According to the musicians, the most difficult thing in recording the album was getting together, because they all live in different cities. The album “Four-Headed Oryot” delighted fans with 18 new tracks, including a joint composition with SunSay (“New Way”) and Rem Digga (“Hi”). Music critics called the album “the most truthful Russian rap release of the year”, which is confirmed by the 17th line in the annual iTunes top chart.
A clip was shot for the song “Scraps”, in which Basta, rappers Husky and Big Russian Boss, blogger Ida Galich, and bodybuilder Sergey Mironov took part.
- Louder than water, higher than grass (2002)
- What should we do in Greece? (2002, Vladi’s solo album)
- Phoenix (2004, Khamil’s solo album)
- True to the eye (2008)
- HZ (2010, Khamil and Zmeya album)
- It’s clear! (2012, Vladi’s solo album)
- Unbelievable (2015, Vladi’s solo album)
- Four-headed yell (2017)
Group “Casta” now
The team approached its twentieth anniversary with a solid baggage of a dozen successful albums and a huge number of prestigious music awards. The band owns their own label and recording studio in Moscow, and their touring schedule is booked a year in advance.
After so many years, “Casta” remains popular
In the spring of 2018, the feature film Piter by Kasta was released with the participation of leading Russian actors, consisting of four short stories, each of which is dedicated to one of the members of the group.