In life you have to accept the good and the bad, one can’t exist without the other. This is the philosophy Marcel De Castro (a.k.a. Brownface Gunna), a young, talented rapper/producer hailing from Toronto’s west end, lives by. And he emulates it across the board from his laidback demeanor to the music that he makes.
Brownface’s style is mood music. It switches between angry and upbeat and everything in between based on the type of mood he is in and what he’s going through in life at that moment. The versatility he brings in his music keeps him and his audience anything but bored.
Growing up in Rexdale, the West Indian bred Brownface began rapping at age 11, just for fun. He imitated what he saw on TV in music videos because “rappers were cool” but most importantly it was the only music that indicated that there were other kids, in the world growing up in something other than a Cosby home.
What began as a fun hobby, one that he would have to hide from his mother and grandmother, grew into a deep-rooted passion Brownface just couldn’t shake. At age 15 he began experimenting with beatmaking and by the time he was 17, he became confident in his abilities. Five years later he has evolved into a recognized artist/producer in the Toronto scene on the come up, having released two mixtapes, The Grizzy and Green Harvest as well as successfully earning a place as a contender in the last four Battle of the Beatmaker competitions.
With songs like his latest “Big Dreams” Brownface connects to his audience in the same way rappers like Jay-Z, Nas and Twista did with him in the ’90s. His songs tell stories of a Toronto youth on the come-up, and the world around him. His fast flow and smooth delivery gives way for hard hitting lyrics that paint clear pictures of his struggles, his passion, his pain and his happiness.
Brownface is also willing to push the limits, often taking beats producers intended for dance, rock or R&B tunes, and altering them to fit his unique needs. He’s a self-proclaimed perfectionist and is known for not settling for anything but what he envisions when it comes to his music.
In addition to working with his closest friends including singer Moses and rapper 4-twoney, Brownface has worked with many of Toronto’s elite as well as music royalty including producing the hit “Hollywood Fresh” which was a collaboration with Dougie Fresh and Keysha as well recording with Juno-nominated Kim Davis. He most recently worked with MMVA-award winning video director David Cropper on the music video for the aforementioned “Big Dreams” which was shot in New York City.
But even after accomplishing so much at such a young age, Brownface remains rooted in his community. He still continues to perform at many charity and community events and he believes in never forgetting where you came from, he reps hard for his Guyanese/West-Indian community whether it’s through interweaving slang into his lyrics or showing love for the youth who hit him up through the internet. Strong roots are an important element for the young rapper as he takes strides in his mission to shake up, the game and bring something new to hip-hop. “You gotta understand you work to live life not live to work, money’s just a piece of paper, you gotta have family, friends a community”. That’s Brownfaces inspiration and that’s what fuels his music. “I am not one of those guys that goes off to Hollywood and never look back.”