Over the last decade RAST has made a name for himself as one of the undergrounds most original voices. RAST has released a handful of albums, freestyles and a slew of online singles (including collaborations with Czarface, Hus Kingpin and Your Old Droog). But before all this, RAST held down the 90’s as part of the New York Graffiti crew RFC. It was during this time that many of the tracks on “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” draw from.
The album has no features and was produced entirely by The Czar-Keys (7L & Jeremy Page) – and this was done by design. 7L and RAST worked together on the vision and the direction they wanted to go with for the album. As 7L points out “I wanted to really take it back to a time when the rapper was the main focus. This is also why we didn’t go with a group name or a RAST & 7L title. For me it was really all about RAST, and his story is so personal that it just made sense for him to be the only voice you hear”.
From the albums start, “Base” sets things off with organs that sound straight off old Surf footage accompanied by a pounding break beat. RAST’s signature gruff voice goes from rugged raps to melodic singing and back. On “The Devils Playground” RAST delivers some of his most honest lines recalling his youth and battles with depression. On “I Lost My Mind and Found God” RAST states plainly in the hook “I ain’t gonna see no doctor unless I die”. RAST delivers these lines with the maturity of a seasoned blues man. “Runaway Slave” is another great example of this, as the track roars with a powerful hook as if he were exorcising his demons over what sounds like a dusted church organ.
Other stand out gems like “Children of Attica”, “The Little Boy Who Lived in a Tree” and “The Remarkable Story of the Silent Machine Gun” show that RAST is cut from a different cloth. “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” is an album where, as pointed out in the albums intro “Caged”, is RAST at his most honest and vulnerable.
Moving forward RAST will be going by his birth name, Misterman Cheers. He says, “as a kid I was embarrassed because I had a weird name, Misterman Cheers. But I have grown, and I’ve become more comfortable being myself. Going forward I will be releasing music under the name I was given from birth, Misterman Cheers”.