The Break Presents: Caleborate
The amount of new talent in The Bay Area right now is ridiculous. Ezale, Nef The Pharaoh and Kamiyah are just some of the names that are getting major looks in their direction. Another artist doing his thing out West is rapper Caleborate, who had one of the most slept-on projects of the year with his 1993 album. The 14-track LP was crafted well and showed off his creativity. For the 23-year-old MC, the album changed the way he made music.
"Making that project was cool and stressful," he tells XXL over the phone. "I learned a lot. Sitting with a record is very important, sitting with the beat is very important, listening to it and figuring out how does it feel, asking question and being more focused on making sure that the record feels good and that it sounds right. I have a white board now because of that project and now I write down all the things that I feel and think and see in the world and then I figure out what I want to use. That’s the way now I go about working on songs. It’s better than what it was before because it’s more structured and my workflow more natural."
The growth from his earlier project Hella Good to 1993 is very evident, with the latter being a more polished body of work. Caleborate, born Caleb Parker, is finding his sound. Read up on him now before he takes off.
Hometown: Originally from Sacramento, rapping out of Berkeley
I grew up listening to: “Everything, but it was like stages for me. It was a stage where I would listen to only what my parents would listen to. I was born in the 1990s, so I caught like R&B at its golden age and new jack swing. As I hit my teen years I started digging through my parents CDs and finding like Dwele and that’s where I found Kanye West and Jay Z.
"When I started getting old enough I started digging for my own shit and that’s when I started getting into Gym Class Heroes and rock and roll, Little Dragon, just a ton of alternative music. I guess as I kid I grew up mostly to neo-soul, probably.
"When I was 14 my older brother came home from his first year in college. He still makes music today going by Cash Campain. He went to the studio with one of his boys. It was summer when he was back in town. They were in the studio working on a song for two, three days. They were playing a beat and were like, 'Let me see if you can rap over it.' I wrote some pretty corny 14-year-old rap. It was pretty bad but it was my first experience writing a rap and hearing it come out [laughs].
"I just started fucking around with it after that. I would be in the shower thinking of raps, get out the shower and write it down in my notebook. I started jogging very early in my life and [after a run] I would start writing shit when I came home because I had too many ideas in my head. This all started from there, being in the studio with my brother pushing me to rap over a beat.
"When I was 17, I decided that this is what I ultimately wanted to do in my life. When I was 17, I started making songs and going to the studio for the first time; going in to a real studio and punching in and out. Just understanding the recording process. And then I realize that if I wrote something I could take it to the studio, record it and it can actually become a song. When I got a collection of seven or eight songs, I put out this burned CD mixtape and gave it to my friend in high school. I realized I could actually do music for real. I just started taking it more serious after my senior year in high school."
Most people don’t know: “There’s hella shit people don’t know about me. As charismatic as I come off, I’m charismatic onstage and when I meet people but in all actuality I’m very introverted. I like to be in my own space with my friends or alone. I like being alone a lot. I think it would surprise people how anti-people I am. I’m also very into soccer, very seriously into soccer. I watch it, I play it and I love it."
My style’s been compared to: “I think people compare me to J. Cole or Kendrick Lamar because they are the most notable important rappers in today’s game who aren’t trap rappers. They’re not triple time rappers or internal rhyme rappers, they are lyricists.
"I’ve been listening to my shit, especially my new shit, and I’m like, Damn, do I even sound like the artists that I idolized growing up any more? I feel like I'm starting to find my own style and my own sound. I think I’m starting to sound more and more like myself."
My standout records or moments to date have been: “My biggest song statistically has to be 'Want It All' but I think the best moment of my career is personally for me was doing a whole headlining tour. That was big for me. I feel like not a lot of people are able to do that. To be able to go on your own tour is pretty incredible and it worked out really well."
My goal in hip-hop is to: “I want to be hella successful and famous and make money but I don’t know. Before all of that it would be to actually reaching people and making people feel. When you play a good song, you’ll feel it. You don’t even have to listen to it you just feel it. I just want to make music that makes people feel something, even if the song is like eight words."
I’m gonna be the next: “The next revolutionary. I say revolutionary because I’m a Gemini and I just know myself. I’m not very good at not saying what I feel. There’s shit to me that happens in the world that I feel like if you’re an artist, a celebrity or entertainer and you have that platform, there’s a lot of shit that should be talked about."
Follow Caleborate on Twitter and SoundCloud.
"Want it All"
Here Are the 50 Best Hip-Hop Projects of 2016