Forever in our heart, rest well Castro. Remembering Castro Under Fire, the hiplife gem who paved the way for T’aadi acts. “Castro ‘Under Fire’ won’t be remembered for only his hit songs and features, he will be remembered for giving the new crop of Takoradi artistes the exposure they are enjoying today and leaving an indelible mark on the showbiz industry.”
On July 6, 2014, I was in classroom teaching when a colleague teacher barged into my class and muttered in my ears: ‘they say Castro is missing.’ I quit working and visited Ameyawdebrah.com (it used to be my first news source for celebrity news) to confirm the report of his disappearance. And to my astonishment, it was true.
I was not absolutely shocked by the news because I assumed he would be eventually found (after all, it is not the first time someone went missing and found later). I thought a miracle would happen, but it has been seven heart-breaking years of expecting his return.
Now, he is officially late per the 1992 Constitution of Ghana. According to Section 3 of the Evidence Acts of Ghana, 1975, a person can only be declared legally dead after seven years by a court, where the person in question has not been seen or heard from in seven years despite diligent and persistent efforts to find him. It means that Castro (and one Janet Bandu who went missing with him) are officially dead.
Like any rising musician, Castro went through the quotidian hurdles in the late 90s and early 2000s before rising to prominence. His breakthrough came in 2003 when he released “Sradinam” (the title is a famous Akan phrase to wit, ‘fatty meat’). It was the party and funeral jam at the time. He did not rest after breaking through the mainstream market. His powerful, signature falsetto, songwriting skills, and hard work earned him a call from 4×4 (the second hottest group in the early 2000s after VIP) who put him on one of their biggest career songs, “Sikletele.”
He discovered his ‘Midas touch’ after the 4×4 feature. He went on to become one of the few Ghanaian stars who resurrected careers and ushered new stars into the music industry. His presence on Sarkodie’s biggest career song “Adonai,” D-Black’s hit song “Personal Person,” Mzbel’s breakthrough song “16 years,” 2Toff America’s career-saving banger “Ye Na Bra,” Akoo Nana’s biggest career song “Mi Yadaw,” and Tiffany’s breakthrough song “Agyekoom” are just a few cases. He launched Asamoah Gyan’s music career with their collaborations, “African Girl” and “Odo Pa”. Everything he touched from 2003 till his disappearance was gold.
Castro received recognition for his contributions to the music industry. He has four Vodafone Ghana Music Awards to his credit. In 2006, he won the “Hiplife Song of the Year” with his hit “Toffee” and “Hiplife Album of the Year” with his maiden album, “Toffee.” In 2011 he won the “Best Hiplife Song of the Year” with his song “African Girls” which features Asamoah Gyan. And in 2014, his second collaboration with Asamoah Gyan, “Odo Pa,” won the “Highlife Song of the Year.”
He paved the way for the new crop of artists from Takoradi. Kofi Kinaata had zero hits when Castro put him on “Odo Pa” – the song that gave Kinaata a huge exposure. Castro’s ‘honeyed’ Fante accent, coupled with the combination of flawless rap and singing drew many music lovers’ attention to music from the Western Region. Today, top Takoradi-natives like Kofi Kinaata, Nero X, KODA, Pappy Kojo, Ayesem, Fameye, Keche, and Afezi Perry can brag and boast of their talents and successes, thanks to Castro Under Fire – who did most of the dirty job.
Throughout his career, he linked up with some top African stars to work and crossover. Nigerian afrobeats stars Davido and D’Banj, and South African rapper AKA were among the stars he targeted and was about to explode on the world market when he met his fate.
Castro Under Fire (De Destroyer) was a selfless hiplife gem who refused to thrive on media gimmicks, publicity stunts, fights, insults, and scandals. He won’t be remembered for only his hit songs and features, he will be remembered for giving the new crop of Takoradi artistes the exposure they are enjoying today and leaving an indelible mark on the showbiz industry. His disappearance is a big blow to the industry, however, we can only wonder.