Casisdead’s big BRITs win proves hardcore fanbases hold the power

Despite Raye's record-breaking triumph, it's Casisdead whose potent fanbase is showing that a smaller, dedicated support is still formidable.

Following Saturday’s Brit Awards, one name has been hot on everybody’s lips: Raye. Taking home a record-breaking six awards, including being crowned the Artist of the Year, the Brits truly belonged to Raye. However, the night was also a victory lap for the underdog; Casisdead being named Best Hip Hop/Grime/Rap Act of 2023 is a sharp reminder that raking in high streaming numbers isn’t always indicative of an artist’s success. 

Casisdead is a total man of mystery. We don’t know his name. We don’t know what he looks like. Lyrics from his previous project, Castro suggest he has roots in Tottenham, but there’s no confirmation. There have also been minimal interviews with the rapper, and even when he does humour a journalist with a chat he doesn’t give much away.

The Face asked about his whereabouts during his mysterious five-year disappearance between 2007-2012, a time in which people have hypothesised he may have gone to jail, beat cancer, or even got injured in a motorbike incident. His response? Well, obvious he was “just knocking about, brav.”

When comparing the respective victories of Raye and Casisdead, the contrast is night and day. 2023 was dominated by Raye, the superstar well and truly putting her stake in the pop world as he shimmered on billboards and charmed in countless radio, print and onscreen interviews. In contrast, Casisdead dropped a debut in October that peaked at number 7 on the official UK Albums Chart… then proceeded to lurk in the shadows. 

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When Casisdead is announced as the Best Hip Hop/Grime/Rap Act of 2023, we wouldn’t blame you if you felt shocked. He’s equally as shocked—onstage, Casisdead doesn’t know exactly what to do. He’s a man of very few words—and, of those words, few match up with the movement of his mouth, thanks to the eerie rubber mask he dons. 

Considering the star-studded list of nominees, watching this illusive, uncanny figure stalk onstage feels strange. Dave, Central Cee, J Hus, and Little Simz rake in millions of Spotify streams per month—as of today, Central Cee has over 25 million monthly listeners. Casisdead? He’s only just hit 260,000.

While the mysterious rapper isn’t drawing big streaming numbers, Casisdead’s distinctive musical talent has drawn in a diehard fanbase. With the award primarily voted for by fans, his fanbase’s support is hardcore—and he’s totally aware of this. His clearest string of words on stage was a shoutout to his fans, saying, “Without you, none of this would have happened.”

Fans have flocked to Casisdead’s unique brand of rich, vibrant storytelling; his 2023 debut, Famous Last Words, transcends the bounds of your typical rap record. Its 80s-injected cinematic heights are stunningly provocative, a multi-textured world of gritty, poetic realism flittering fluently between analogue and digital soundscaping. 

While Raye walks a tightrope of confidence and charming humility, dragging her grandmother onstage in a grateful flurry of tears to claim her Album Of The Year Award, Casisdead is stilted and awkward. But, on record, his tongue is sharp, lyrics cuttingly precise.

READ MORE: ★★★★☆ Casisdead at Koko review | Dark, futuristic rap magic in the flesh

Casisdead isn’t some cookie-cutter popstar flashing pearly whites on the red carpet—but he is a totally formidable talent. And, thanks to the fans, he’s getting the respect he deserves. In a backstage chat following his win, Casisdead says the win feels “pretty decent” (watch below)… 

…but we’d argue it’s pretty bloody extraordinary. The victory proves that raw, underground talent can still make an impact. While it may seem like the industry is constantly pulling strings, a diehard fanbase can have a monumental impact on an artist’s success; with the right backing, the underdog always has the potential to come out on top.

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