Artist To Watch: Caleborate
“If If My Life Were A Movie, It’d Be Titled”: Reflection
Favorite Movies: He’s Got Game
Born in Sacramento, Caleborate found himself on the national scene upon the release of 2015’s Hella Good and quickly expanded his footprint with 1993 the following year. The 27-year-old’s raw talent, diverse influences, and technical ability have made him a likeable rap figure across many types of audiences. Songs like “4 Willem” and “Clicquot Shower”—which collectively have over 5 million YouTube views—have become a part of his rapid success. Caleb has personally grown to be one of my, as well as many others, favorite artists to touch the mic within the past few years.
Music played a predominant role in Caleborate’s early years; he reminisces long car rides from Sacramento to the East Bay area to visit his separated parents. “Some on the iPod, some on radio, and other stuff that my parents were playing. That’s how the music became a passion for me and it became a career around the age of 17,” he says. His older brother began making music when he was around the age 14, which sparked an interest to craft and write down songs of his own. “That senior year of high school is where I went past being a hobby and into being a career. Ever since 2011, I’d say I’ve just been doing music seriously.”
Although he draws inspiration from dozens of artists, Caleborate cites J. Cole, Jay-Z, Kanye West as artists who laid the foundation for his early career. “I think it’s just something about the syllables, the rhyme patterns, and the way they deliver their raps,” he says. Some of his earlier efforts such as “El Portal,” “Anna’s Lament,” and “Want It All” featuring G-Eazy laid the groundwork for what we now see today. Caleborate, now a much more mature, experienced artist, creates music to let his audience know they’re not alone. Making the unfamiliar seem familiar as his relatable tales and witty bars can seemingly lighten up anyone’s mood.
In 2017, Caleborate released his third album Real Person, a project that personally changed my life. It includes appearances from artists like Donte Thomas and MVCK, and finds the artist delving into topics such as overcoming ego trips, relationships, and getting over troubles in pursual of your goals. Tracks like “Caught Up,” “Soul,” and “Life” as well as many others laminate his growth on a personal and artistry level. 2019 saw the release of his follow-up project Hear Me Out, which includes cuts with Larry June and Mir Fontane amongst others.
“It’s definitely changed over years,” Caleborate explains, speaking about where he draws inspiration from these days. “In my early 20’s came from just being young, naturally just being very active and being so opinionated. All the stuff the comes with bursting through adulthood.” Over the course of the past few years, seeking creativity has seemingly become much easier for the artist. He says, “It comes ordered, it’s less spontaneous and random. I can almost seek it out; I read, I’m mindful of the content that I watch, I’m strengthening my relationship spiritually. I’m changing how I desire to be inspired the older that I get.”
This coming March, Caleborate will be sharing his fourth studio album to the world, Light Hit My Skin. The 16-song effort boasts high-profile features from Duckwrth, Kota The Friend, and Deante’ Hitchock amongst others. It’s set to contain some of his most personal— and in my opinion best—work to date. Speaking on it, Caleb shares, “I just hope that people take away the different themes that each song offers. There are records that offer the listener to feel perseverance and have a bit of inspiration on their pursuit. There are also songs that sonically force people to step out of their comfort zone and find something that makes sense to them.” He adds, “I’m really excited to share my perspective as a young Black American male. What I want people to find kinship in their story and mine, and feel a little less disconnected from the average person.”
When asked about the meaning behind the album title, Caleb replied: “It means all the different versions of light; when you get a new piece of wisdom or you get enlightened. Just all the different variations of light and I feel like it’s something that I reference on the album, my Blackness is something that’s important to me. I also look at skin as like armor, clothing, or your texture. It was just one of the titles that truly fit.”
The anticipation for Caleborates’ album has clearly heightened, perhaps even more so since the release of the phenomenal “The Madness” and “Contact” featuring Kota the Friend. Light Hit My Skin is slated to drop on March 26 across all streaming platforms.
In regards to the future, some of Caleb’s goals consist of writing for more artists, producing, and of course, putting out his next album. For long-term goals, he emphasizes “putting myself in a position to help other artists. To actually draw from experience and help put some young artists out there. ” Much like his music and previous collaborations show, the rap phenom is all about giving back whether that be through talking about his previous mishaps in music or giving hope to the youth over snares and hi-hats.
If you didn’t know then, you know now. Caleborate is poised to break musical boundaries and shatter any previous records set. The 27-year-old was chosen as an artist to watch for his outstanding ability to touch the hearts and souls of many through his introspective works and excellent execution of translating his thoughts into music.