By Jack Barnes
Blessed with a preternatural storytelling ability, a compelling sing-song cadence, and an affinity for wordplay and doubletime bars that would make Kendrick Lamar jealous, Caleborate is one of the most promising young rappers to hit the Bay Area scene in a long time. Today, Caleborate announces the release date for his next album 1993, hitting stores August 29th. Enjoy this audio stream below after the jump.
Following up his acclaimed 2015 release Hella Good, 1993 combines nostalgia for the 23-year-old rapper’s childhood with reflections on modern life, exploring Caleborate’s unique generational point-of-view through varied production and complex lyrical themes. Featuring appearances from Sylvan Lacue and Pell, with production from P-Lo, Mikos Da Gawd, HBK’s Kuya Beats, Cal-A, and Julia Lewis, 1993 represents a step forward for Caleborate, but also can act as an excellent entry point for new fans.
Caleborate explains the concept behind the project: “1993 my birth year and I personally think that the stretch betweeb ’90 and ’95 was a pretty special time to be born in because we got to experience life pre-cell phone, but we came of age when technology became an inseparable part of everyone’s everyday lives. I remember finding music using Kazaa and burning CD’s. I remember using MapQuest before GoogleMaps. I had a house phone. But I’m also a digital native. The music on 1993 is reflective of the kind of music and the TV shows I watched growing up. I distinctly remember the blending of the two worlds–I was watching Family Matters on TV, but also Buzzfeed videos on my phone. The music on this project has sample-based stuff that sounds like Kanye’s but there’s also more beat-driven stuff that sounds like it could be played alongside Kaytranada. The lyrical content is reflective of where I am in my life as a young adult. I’m talking about stuff that other 22- and 23-year-old people are going through.”
Born and raised in Sacramento, Caleborate built his considerable fanbase online, eventually growing big enough to earn a mention on the 2014 edition of The Thizzler’s Bay Area Freshman 10, which has featured luminaries such as Nef Tha Pharaoh, IAMSU!, and Sage The Gemini. In 2015, Caleborate collaborated with G-Eazy for the track “Want It All” and released his album Hella Good, which received praise from Pigeons & Planes, The Source, and SF Weekly, which named it the Best Hip-Hop Album of the Bay Area for 2015.
Today, VIBE premieres “Options,” a soulful summer jam with halting, chopped up production from Cal-A and an infectious sing-song hook from Pell. Also featuring a verse from Sylvan Lacue, “Options” is an inspiring track about overcoming setbacks, as Caleborate chronicles his trials and tribulations as a young artist in the music industry with lyrical gems such as, “All my life been setbacks / ain’t gon give in or accept that / I got options like Cam Newton or Steph Curry with the stepback.” The song has a universal truth: you will always encounter setbacks, but you have to boss up and power through them to succeed. “Whenever I have a setback, my mom motivates me to keep going,” explains Caleborate. “I do everything I do for my mom. She’s done hella shit for me, when I left when I was 17 and my dad left and went to ATL – I’ve only seen him twice since then. My mom’s been both parents. She supported me through school as much as she could, she’s Superwoman.”
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Props to CALEBORATE