If You Like: Saba, Childish Major, Kota the Friend
Alternative hip hop is a genre that has seen recent success. Breaking from the constant mainstream rules of hip hop, alternative hip hop brings more focus on the lyrical aspect of things than the flex. Despite what many rap artists may say, gaining more traction means the suffering of genuine talent. We’ve seen the most humble of rappers get lost in luxury and wealth. It doesn’t have to be that way, there is hope for the genre if you look beneath the surface.
Peel back the scalding underbelly of L.A.’s rich and famous music scene of influencers and hypebeast, you can find one of California’s rising stars. Caleborate is a fresh take on the west coast chill indie hip hop flow. Full of sunrays and wordplay trickery, the alternative hip hop artist uses the backdrop of the palm trees and black culture to project a gritty image. Don’t let the mellow bars and rhythmic flow fool you, Caleborate isn’t afraid to challenge your viewpoint and opinions. It’s something he does regularly on his 2021 project, Light Hit My Skin.
It’s hard to pinpoint what exactly Caleborate was trying to convey on that project, for good reason. The album plays out like a mixtape still evaluating itself as an album. The album is filled with lyrics that talk about old childhood days but lay a foundation for what could be considered jazzy. Take away all the vocals and you can run the project as new age jazz. It’s one of the most positive takeaways from Light Hit My Skin. It’s refreshing to an artist making use of one of music’s most storied genres. Caleborate tiptoes that line of duality in hip hop.
Caleborate discography is a masterclass in uniqueness and non-conformity. Since 2011, Caleborate has continued to explore what is often underrepresented in hip hop, mental health. Caked in fear and the unknown, Caleborate tackles life’s questions that make it easy to digest and smoke away like on “Contract” with Kota The Friend. Caleborate’s music is a balance for all hip hop fans to connect with. His tracks are sure to connect with the more street smarts fans while others allow deep thought rap fans to drift away into the night.