When Fall semester started, you might have seen flyers in the front of the school
promoting Fula Funk Musik and the rapper Palito Castro’s new mixtape.
While a picture can say a thousand words, there’s far more to Castro than meets the eye.
Castro is a local rapper, father, man of faith, owner of Fula Funk Clothing and a Fullerton College student.
Castro was born in Santa Ana in 1974, moved to Fullerton when he was ten and has “been here ever since.” He was raised by his mother, his father passing away when he was very young.
In the song “Wit Outta Dad” he talks about going through struggle growing up, which led to a life on the streets. He stated that while Fullerton has changed drastically for the better “but where we were at, it was worse, we were at a worse stage,” said Castro.
He began rapping when he was in prison in the 90s.
“I was in the SHU program so I had no communication with anybody, so I just started writing poetry, but every time I was writing I was actually thinking about here (Fullerton), so really I didn’t know what I was doing was starting to write songs.” Castro says, “Really what it was, I started writing because it was taking me out of where I was at, it might sound strange, but just writing the song I was actually back on the streets in that moment, so I used to write like five songs a day sometimes.”
He began performing for people in 1997 while imprisoned in Palm Hall of California Institute for Men in Chino, California. After seeing the cheering of inmates when Death Row Records C.E.O. Suge Knight was brought in to serve time, he decided to start rapping for people.
“I was thinking man, we need a homie to cheer for us, that’s cool that they’re cheering for him, but it be nice to have someone be like ‘ay man let me hear that song.’”
He started performing at the talent night in Palm Hall, and eventually people outside of his friends began complimenting him.
“You know once I started getting comments from them, because the homies are always going to give compliments to a homie, even if it’s not that good, but when these guys started asking, the homies were like “that’s right!” [laughs]” said Castro, “That was my first goal with it and I achieved that before I even got out of there.”
He did about 10 years in prison and has been out since 2001. When he got out he knew Darren Vegas of Death Row Records and was going to the studio but they had just signed Crooked I, Kurupt, Eastwood, and other various artist. “They were more concerned about them getting in the booth to make music, so being that I had just gotten out and I wasn’t seeing any studio time on the mic, I really just kind of left it alone.”
He would take a break until 2005, when a young artist in his neighborhood began rapping.
“I had a little homie that was right here on the street we call Little Cholo, who was about 15, and he was rapping but the guys he was rapping with didn’t always have time to record him. What I ended up doing was I actually made the logo, bought all the studio equipment, and that’s where we started.” Castro said. “He didn’t want to rap alone, so I started rapping with him, and brought in like two other friends, and we did it for about a year, and about 2007, the cops around here they shut us down. They said they were promoting gang violence, and I understand because the homies did say the neighborhood and stuff like that, so they shut us down.”
He later on got a lawyer, who said that since he was making music but also selling clothes, it was a business, so he could still run his brand despite Fula Funk being put on his neighborhood’s gang injunction. From there he began rebuilding, which has brought him to where he is today, pushing his music and clothing line with local success.
Castro is currently in the sound engineering program here on campus so that he can make music how he wants to and start up his own studio & record label, with hopes of recording a variety of music.
His final advice to any young rappers is “Just keep it going, find your style, whatever you rap about, know what you rap about.” Castro says.
You can follow, contact, and see more of Castro’s music & clothing down below.