Album Review: Caleborate Makes You Celebrate Like Its “1993”

Blessed with an affinity for wordplay and a compelling sing-song cadence, Caleborate’s
1993 combines nostalgia for the 23-year-old rapper’s childhood with reflections on modern life. The album is a 90’s Hip Hop glory-fest that both humorously and truthfully delves into Millennial problems. From societal frustrations to personal insecurities, Caleborate does not shy from telling it how he sees it, but you will find that you see life in the same ways as him.

08 {Carter Flow}

I love Hip Hop. No doubt about it! Yet, I do feel that its amassed global success and phenomena has clouded the grounded nature of the genre and its general causes. Hip Hop was born among poor, black and latino communities. It was a genre that showed how spiritual pain can manifest and be doubled by systemic ones, as well. Caleborate’s ability to rap through Hip Hop’s core heartbeat makes 1993 a track by track manifesto on how being young, black, and hungry with ambition tussles between feeling blissful and stressful. How do you feel like you have a bright future ahead when you have student debt? How do you give love to your family and friends when you do not love yourself? How do you keep internal peace when violence, both socially and systemically, is too common? These are hard, spiritual battles that can make anyone 23 year old young man feel old and worn. Yet, it is these weary social, mental, and emotional confrontations that make Caleb feel like a breath of fresh air to the Hip Hop game.

Using samples of classic Hip Hop and R&B classics, Caleborate gives rhythmic charisma over a completely original rap flow. There is no confusing Caleborate with another rapper in sound or in realness. He is too vast and ingrained in the problems of daily life that he utterly avoids the plain generics of Hip Hop tracks that only talk about “ho’s and money”. Caleborate is quickly becoming a prominent Emcee because, although we all love the dreamy illusions music can provide, we also need the reality analysis it gives. If music is art and art is culture then it must represent all aspects of a community: not just the “rich” kind. Therefore, leave it to Caleborate’s rising power to empathetically remind listeners’ that a poor kid does not need to mean a poor soul. The spiritual can go beyond material woes even if it feels physically confined by them.

When asked for his inspiration on this Calibrate explained:

“1993 is my birth year and I personally think that the stretch between ’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,” Caleborate explained to Complex. “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.”

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