Caleborate @ Social Hall SF

If it wasn't for his older brother, Caleborate might never have started rapping. While attending Contra Costa College, his older brother, a singer who performs under the name Cash Campain, rented a studio to record music and dragged his high school-age brother along with him. It was then that Caleborate realized he not only liked making music, but that he had a knack for it, especially rapping. Fast-forward to today and the 20-something artist is a rising star in the East Bay rap scene, with a handful of mixtapes and albums under his belt, including 2015's sonically diverse project Hella Good (which we named one of the Best Albums of The Year). Caleborate shucks the stereotypical sounds of Bay Area rap — thumping 808s, snare drums, claps — favoring jazzier cuts and smoother melodies that give his voice room to stretch out. Speaking of his voice, it's gravelly and energetic with striking similarities to a young Kanye West. And, like West, Caleborate takes a narrative approach to songwriting, weaving tales of his life, however banal, into mind-expanding songs with universal applications. He's hinted at a new album, so here's hoping it drops sooner rather than later.

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