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Friday, April 15, 2016

Premiere: Berkeley Rapper Caleborate — Who Sounds Crazy Similar To A Young Kanye West — Surprises Us With Two New Singles Today

Posted By on Fri, Apr 15, 2016 at 12:25 PM

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It's pretty insane how far the Berkeley rapper Caleborate has come in the roughly five years since he started rapping. Originally from Sacramento, the twentysomething MC made his first rap at the age of 17 at the behest of his brother, who is also a singer (named Cash Campaign). In 2011, he started school at the Academy of Art University, where he took full advantage of the school's resources (studios, mics, recording equipment) to work on his first album, using beats culled from YouTube and elsewhere on the internet. A rookie endeavor, of course, and one that Caleborate has described as a "guerilla style" of producing music, but you've got to start somewhere, right?

After sharing the album and his other singles on SoundCloud and YouTube, the burgeoning MC was feeling discouraged because he had no fan base. So he started leaving comments under popular music videos on YouTube, introducing himself and his music to the world, and guess what? It worked. "All of a sudden, I was getting replies overnight and people started subscribing to my YouTube channel and watching my videos," he said in a previous interview with SF Weekly. "I built a little initial fanbase through that and that's propelled the whole thing for that last year plus...just being on the computer." 

In 2014, he made it on Thizzler's Bay Area Freshman 10 list, and followed that success with two releases in 2015: Winter Break EP and Hella Good (which SF Weekly chose as one of the Top 5 Best Bay Area Albums of 2015).

Caleborate is starting 2016 off strong with a slew of single releases including today's two premieres: "The Juice" and "On Silent."
"The Juice" is a piano-laced, melodic track that sounds uncannily like something Young Kanye West would have released back in the day. It's straight-up, old-fashioned hip-hop; it's direct and to the point. And it bangs. Funnily enough, Caleborate is aware of his similarity to Mr. West and even references it in the song with the line "Now they say let's give them that Kanye feel / I'm like OK let me get that Kanye meal." In the song, he also mentions getting calls from record labels; yet another indicator that this young rapper is on the rise. 

With "On Silent," Caleborate gets a little old school on us, using a jazzy, soul beat culled from what sounds like an old record, replete with background harmonies that add texture and depth to the song. Caleborate's deliberate, concise flow is as smooth and untarnished as freshly fallen snow, and though his well-paced bars and flawless delivery is apparent on "The Juice," it's even more obvious in "On Silent." 

Once again, Caleborate proves that he's an excellent word smith with a fresh take on the rap game and a helluva lot of potential to make it far in the hip-hop world. 


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Jessie Schiewe

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