Isaac Castor
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Isaac Castor

Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | INDIE | AFTRA

Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States | INDIE | AFTRA
Established on Jan, 2010
Solo Hip Hop




"The Break Presents: Isaac Castor"

"Isaac Castor is a student of the game. The 20-year-old MC from Ann Arbor, Mich. grew up listening to some of the greats—Hov, OutKast, 2Pac. As a high school freshman, Castor was deemed a local prodigy when he dropped "Act Right" featuring Big Pooh, formally of Little Brother. Five years later, Castor is looking to stake his claim as "the next big thing from Michigan." - XXL

"Isaac Castor brings some much needed aural "Vibrations" alongside Blu"

Rising emcee Isaac Castor – FKA Gameboi – crafts a self-produced hazy summery jam that gives nothing but positivity. Aptly titled "Vibrations", he takes some ample time to steer clear of the stress that comes from the day to day grind and shows the listener how he spends his downtime with some down to Earth greenery and a dose of good music. Built off a classic reggae sample, Castor flips a solid ethereal head nodder that is equally uplifting and soothing. - Earmilk

"Yakking with Michigan Rapper Isaac Castor"

"Now, at the age of 22, Isaac Castor has shared the stage with Mac Miller, been lauded by XXL, and performed at the Vans Warped Tour. His latest set, called Old Soul, features Nate Fox, L. Gulley, and Blu. Castor recently unveiled the music video for “Da Bounce,” a joint about the toxic drug culture linked to hip-hop. Produced by L05, “Da Bounce” boasts an ear worm chorus. Rhyme Junkie sat down with the emcee to find out more about his muse and how he got in the rap game." - Rhyme Junkie (Fansided)

""The Drift" EP combines Michigan music talents, including Michelle Chamuel from The Voice"

"With virtually no promotion, the EP hit No. 2 on the iTunes electronic charts. And the title track of "The Drift" features more Michigan talent, including rapper Isaac Castor of Saline High School. Castor and Arjun Singh joined us today." - NPR - Michigan Radio

"5 Songs You Need To Hear Right Now"

"Formerly known as Gameboi, Issac Castor is a rising emcee who calls Michigan home. With Arjun Singh delivering the hard-hitting production, Isaac goes full-throttle on “Hole In One”, and the kid is definitely talkin’ that shit. Take a listen!" - RESPECT Magazine

"DJBooth Freestyle Series: Isaac Castor - High Art Flow"

Oft imitated but never equaled, the DJBooth Freestyle Series ran from February 2009 through June 2011. Its 250 total entries came courtesy of a veritable who’s-who of underground and emerging emcees, including rising stars like Kendrick Lamar, Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller. Now, it’s back for a second round. Following on the heels of reader-acclaimed contributions from ANTHM, Rich Quick and Clyde Shankle, the latest installment comes courtesy of Isaac Castor, the Michigan buzzmaker who brought us Heisenberg back in early October. On High Art Flow, the emcee gets his lyrical Picasso on over eerie, sampled boardwork by Hippie Sabotage. The rapper formerly known as Gameboi is currently hard at work on his High Art LP, which as yet lacks a drop date. Keep it locked for release details on the set, as well as all the latest tunes. - DJ Booth

"Video: Isaac Castor f/ Boldy James - Arizona"

"Ann Arbor artist, Isaac Castor, jumps down with Mass Appeal-signee, Boldy James, for the addictive “Arizona.” First thing’s first, watch the video, then spread the word. Crack an Arizona Iced Tea and enjoy “Arizona” the way it’s supposed to be. The Mitten is definitely in the building here." - Fake Shore Drive

"What The Sound: Student Promoter Lifts Local Talent"

The fourth act on the bill consisted of Ann Arbor rapper Isaac Castor and local band Arch Hotel. Friday’s showcase, Castor’s first with a live band, wasn’t the 21-year-old’s first set at the Pig.

“I’m trying to take my standard live rap set and do something different with it and make it creative and fun for the audience,” Castor said in a phone interview. “I think it went really well in that regard. Everybody brought out a lot of friends. I had a lot of fun. I definitely prefer to play with a live band. I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to performing without one again, so hopefully we can keep this ensemble going.”

After developing a taste for 2Pac, Jay Z and OutKast as a child of the ’90s, Castor began writing music in Naperville, Illinois at the age of nine. He released his first mixtape six years ago and plans to release a new EP before the end of the year. In April he opened for rising rapper Lil Dicky (who played Hill Auditorium with Vic Mensa the same month).

But the highlight since dropping that debut mixtape in high school? A feature in XXL, one of hip hop’s most prominent magazines.

“That was a goal I’ve had for a long time that felt really good to accomplish,” he said.

Schechter discovered Castor’s music while SoundCloud surfing, and then the XXL write-up, which led to him eventually offering Castor the fourth slot in Friday’s show.

“(Ben) asked me a long time ago if I would perform at (Munch’s) headlining show and, Munch is the homie, so I was obviously down for that,” Castor said. “(What The Sound) definitely wanted us to do our part for promotion, but that’s cool because I would rather perform with people I know in the crowd, familiar faces who know my lyrics. That’s encouraging. What The Sound took good care of us, so shoutout to Ben for that.” - The Michigan Daily

"Isaac 'Gameboi' Castor is the 'Posterchild' for Ann Arbor's Youth Hip Hop Scene"

Isaac Castor didn't know a soul when his family moved to Ann Arbor last summer. Then 13, and fresh from the Chicago suburbs, the aspiring rapper was looking for a way to get involved locally when he heard about The Neutral Zone.

Then Castor looked at the Zone's summer programs, which included a number of offerings in music. First, it was a music production workshop, then the "art of the MC" workship, where Castor could meet other young, would-be rappers like himself. Before long Castor could pass for a studio stool, he was such a regular fixture in Ann Arbor's teen center.

It wasn't until halfway through the school year that Castor 'fessed up: He was still in the eighth grade. The Neutral Zone requires students to be in at least the ninth grade for most of its programs, but allowed Castor to keep coming in.

"I was shocked," said Mike "Man in Charge" Hyter, formerly of Tree City, recalling how he felt upon hearing the news. Hyter teaches the "Art of the MC" workshop for aspiring rappers at the teen center. "We obviously don't want people lying about their age, but it shows his hustle, for sure."

That hustle culminated last month in "The Posterchild," Castor's 17-track introduction of himself to the local hip hop scene. Castor is the latest and youngest product of the Neutral Zone's "Art of the MC" workshops, which have functioned as a sort of pipeline for a young and diverse group hip hoppers in the Ann Arbor area.

Hyter is a product of that pipeline. As a junior at Huron High, he took up rapping at the Neutral Zone. Nowadays Hyter and producer/MC Carlos "L05" Garcia help prepare the next generation of would-be hip hoppers.

"We didn't have this in Chicago," Castor said during a recent session at the Neutral Zone's recording studio.

The young rapper's sound is hard to put a finger on — a roomful of MCs at that studio session all failed to make a suitable comparison — but Castor chalks that up to individuality.

"I never want to sound like anyone else," Castor said. "I go out of my way to create my own flow."

Sometimes, Castor sounds like what he is, a 14-year old ("Rhymes soak up so much Spongebob, they so porous"). Other times he's so polished that you wonder where a 14-year old comes by the confidence.

Each one, teach one

"At Its Finest" was a "straight-up bars track, no hook," with Castor and Obi Iyoha before producer L05 wrote the chorus. Kyle "General Population" Hunter of Tree City happened to be in the studio at the time. Not only did Hunter end up singing the hook, he wrote a verse as well. What resulted is one of the most successful tracks on "The Posterchild."

That place is the Chicago suburb of Naperville, Illinois that the Castors once called home. As a boy about 8 or 9, Castor's neighbor, Chris "Jay Storm" Holmes would come by to babysit Castor and his sisters (“mostly the girls though - he didn’t need anyone to watch him,” Holmes clarified in a phone interview) and would kill time writing bars for his forthcoming “The Rebirth of a Dream” mixtape. Storm was only about 15 himself at that point.
Eventually Castor pulled up a chair and started writing, too. Raised in a home where it wasn't uncommon to hear albums by Bob Marley, Run DMC and Paul Simon played in the same night, Castor learned quickly.

“At first he would try to mimic me,” Storm said by phone from Chicago. “Then he asked me what I wrote about, and I’d say ‘life.’

“I gave him as much game as I knew at the time, but remember I was young too,” Storm said. “It was like a third-grader trying to teach a kindergartner.”

But teach he did. Even though Castor has moved on, he and Storm still keep in touch. Storm said he's trying to get Castor out to do a show in the Chicago area.

"I used to tell him that if you’re really serious, we’d see it come out years later, when he got to be 12 and 13 and start growing up," said Storm. "He’s obviously for real.”

Castor's goal, for the moment, is simple, even modest: "I just want to make a living from this. I don't necessarily need or want that big record deal."

He is very wary of being swept away in the politics of the music business. He worries that as a babyfaced white rapper, he'll either be cast as "the next Eminem" or turned into a hip hop Justin Bieber. He's not interested in doing either.

Castor especially bristles at comparisons between himself and Eminem — "we don't sound alike or come from the same place or rap about the same things. If I wasn't white people would never think to compare us," he said.

Even at 14, Castor knows that lyrical skill is the least bankable talent a rapper has. That's why Castor is enrolled in a video production course when he starts at Saline High School this fall, and why he's looking to add producing to his portfolio.

The release of "Posterchild" puts Castor in the running for Ann Arbor's best-under-18 honors. But gauging the success of a mixtape can be tough.

Jay Storm cautioned Castor not to measure "The Posterchild" purely in terms of the downloads it gets or the gigs it generates.

"When you reach out to your audience," Storm said, "and they reach back to you, that's when you know you've got it. I think you're going to see people reaching back to Gameboi." - The Ann Arbor News


The Posterchild (2010)

Freshman Of The Year EP (2011)

Young & Restless (2012)

High Art (2015)

(Dis)comfort Zone (2016)

Old Soul (2018)



Isaac Castor is a hip hop artist hailing from Ann Arbor, MI. After bouncing around from state to state throughout his early childhood, his family finally settled in Michigan in 2004. He began writing raps under the stage name “Gameboi” at the age of 9.

In 2009, Castor began attending a weekly emcee workshop at an Ann Arbor teen center called The Neutral Zone. After performing at numerous Neutral Zone concerts and establishing a fellowship with his peers in the emcee program, he released his first official project under the name Gameboi, 2010’s “The Posterchild”.

The Posterchild helped Castor establish himself as a force within the Ann Arbor rap scene. It propelled him into radio appearances and live performances at venues around the state, including an opening slot for Mac Miller’s sold-out Ann Arbor tour date. In 2011, Castor released the EP “Freshman Of The Year.” It was produced primarily by Astronote (known for producing Kendrick Lamar’s “untitled 03”) and assisted heavily by the guidance of A-Side Worldwide’s Jackson Perry. The EP’s lead single, “Act Right”, featured rapper Big Pooh of Little Brother and was produced by 14KT. Act Right caught the attention of producer/DJ Statik Selektah, who played the song on Sirius XM’s Shade 45 and tapped Isaac for a feature on his album “Population Control” later that year.

2012 saw the release of “Young and Restless”, an album that featured contributions from Jon Connor, Skywlkr, XV, One Be Lo of Binary Star and Air Dubai among many others. Castor continued to perform on tour dates of big-time artists such as Pusha-T, Logic and Joey Bada$$. The following year, he dropped the moniker “Gameboi” and began performing under his given name, Isaac Castor.

The world got a chance to know the artist Isaac Castor through his re-introductory single “Heisenberg”, the Jon Connor collaboration entitled “Basics”, and his feature on the title track “Drift” with the runner-up from the “The Voice” Michelle Chamuel and producer Arjun Singh. The Drift EP reached #2 on iTunes Electronic Music charts the week of its release and led to Isaac landing an interview with NPR’s Michigan Radio. Castor and Singh continued to collaborate following the release of Drift, and in 2015 they released a collaborative album titled “High Art”. The album featured Mass Appeal Records artist Boldy James and frequent Vulfpeck collaborator Antwaun Stanley. The release of High Art saw Isaac receive recognition from XXL Magazine in their monthly unsigned artist feature “The Break”.

High Art was followed up by 2016's (Dis)comfort Zone EP, and later, 2018's Old Soul. The latter release featured collaborations with Blu and PEEKABOO. In 2019 Castor signed with Detroit-based record label Middle Finger Music, with whom he will release his upcoming Foul Mouth-produced album.

Band Members