CalenRaps Is Saving Lives One Song At A Time
Growing his fan base with a steady stream of tour dates and records that pull on the heart strings of his listeners, CalenRaps should be on every media outlet’s rising rappers list for 2020. With meet and greets selling out for his first nationwide tour and with over 25 dates strung across North America, this Dallas, Texas bred and California residing rapper has a sound that’s evolved greatly from his early projects and he's turning a big corner with his new project, Homesick.
CalenRaps delivers more and more introspective work with each release and as you will see in this interview he’s legit saving lives with his music. While it's a challenge he has accepted, it's not something he ever set out to do. With his Homesick album coming out this month on January 30th, CalenRaps sat down with AllHipHop.com to discuss his come up and his development as a touring artist. Aligning with the release of his newest visual for the song “Finding My Purpose,” this CalenRaps interview was perfect timing as we see just how much an artist's music can change lives. Check it out below:
AHH: Tell me a little bit about yourself, where you are from and how you got started making music…..
CalenRaps: I go by CalenRaps, I’m from the Dallas, TX - Arlington really, a small growing city outside of Dallas. I have been rapping since I was really young, my dad is into music, he plays guitar and he’s in a band to this day. I’ve been freestyling with him since I was a kid, but I didn’t start writing until I was like 17 probably. I was like that dude in high school that would freestyle at parties and shit when I got drunk and sh*t like that. Then eventually enough people told me it was dope and so I just kept going...
AHH: And how old are you now?
CalenRaps: 24 years old in May
AHH: And so how did you end up in California from Dallas, that’s a big jump…
CalenRaps: I just moved here like a year ago, next week will be a year. I just moved here just cause with my sound in general, and just with the type of person that I am and with the type of sound that I have, it fit better. I wasn’t really on the scene in Dallas. My music didn’t really fit with what’s popping in Dallas and I’m not the dude that’s out there really active in the streets trying to get to know everybody - I work alone usually at the crib. So I just came out here because there was more access to things that I needed and I met my agent Erik out here. You know its just better for me out here - so far. I miss Texas, I like living in Texas more, I will move back to Texas, but just career wise I’m here for now.
AHH: Cost of living is more, but the views are nicer out here. What the transition been like? How has that been for you? What would you say about that?
CalenRaps: It was cool, I was staying in Inglewood for a month, I was staying in AirBnB’s and I stayed in Santa Monica. I finally got situated in Hollywood and signed my first lease in July. I may move back to Texas, but it depends on how my career is going, I go back to Texas every few months. The weather out here is better and Texas was so hot when I was there last week my clothes felt hot. The weather is better out here. The bugs are crazy out in Texas. I have a view where I live, but I’m not going on hikes and shit…I'm in the house working.
AHH: So talk to me about your music and your sound, what is your sound?
CalenRaps: My sound? My music is more based on the content rather than the sound I guess. The sound is a current lyricism I guess, but it's not no rippity rap shit like I always call it. It’s not like no f**kin multi-syllabics just trying to rhyme or some type shit that, it’s me really trying to piece together a story for every song. It’s really chronological, it’s real introspective and how I see the world, my world in particular.
AHH: Yea I noticed that in your music, you talk a lot about your family, your brother, your mom, your dad and stuff like that. Can you elaborate on that? For example you got people like Eminem who puts his family in his music. He writes about his family too and it's been somewhat controversial. Can you talk about that? Do you ever worry about that by putting your family in your music?
CalenRaps: Sometimes I worry about it, like I have a song on this upcoming project that I wrote 8 months ago probably, and I wanted to drop it then but I didn’t have the balls to drop it really because it was just a tender topic. So sometimes you just gotta understand what people are going through. Now usually when I’m writing a song about something someone is going through, when I drop it, they are in a better place than what it was before, or we are in a better place in our relationship. I don’t try to throw gas on the fire. Aside from I guess my Dad, like if I’m writing about my mother or brothers we talk about it. I don’t talk to my dad about it, but that’s just how we are.
AHH: So do you… you’re saying you kind of talk to people about the record before they come out.
CalenRaps: Yea even this song called “Think about Me.” It’s about my brother and it’s one of my best performing songs. Basically it’s a monologue to him directly and I sat him down before I dropped the tape or whatever and spoke to him about it. It makes me nervous just to think about, and I hate doing it, but I know once they see and Im sure they see how many people it helps. I love music and I love doing this, but I’m doing it knowing that it’s going to help a lot of people more than this hurts because we are on the same page.
AHH: Right and that’s a real component to your music that I wanted to talk about today. Your music seems to have a real healing component to it for your fans. Some of your fans probably get that out of your music. Can you talk about that? Whats your fanbase like?
CalenRaps: Yea my fan base is real personable, during my shows most people do the meet and greets. Half of my ticket sales are meet and greets and they really want to get to know me. I think I’m so open on the songs to the point where I feel like fans really feel like they know me and I don’t really hold back too much. Thats the thing, meeting my fans in person is the best thing to me. Like I love performing meeting them after is just the best part because you get to see how it affects them and it's way bigger than, ‘Yo this is a dope ass song.’ Its like ‘yo you fuckin helped me through this or that' …and it just feels way better. I’m not going to say that I started doing it for that, because I started doing it because I love to write music and make raps, but it's now something that motivates me everyday as far as, I want to make something that they are able to lean on, like I feel like that’s my calling. Thats what I’m best at.
AHH: Like you wake up everyday and on IG someone is reaching out …
CalenRaps: Like yea man, people are like, “You saved my life.” To a certain degree, I’ve had music save my life too, so I can understand it.
AHH: So what can fans expect from you on tour as far your new music and the meet and greets.
CalenRaps: They can expect to hear some shit off the new EP, its called Homesick. It will be out sometime this Winter. I don’t know the date yet. Really just a better show, I’m always getting better, every performance I’m just more comfortable up there and I was never someone who wanted to be on stage, but I’m growing every night and it’s a dope experience and from the feedback so far the fans love it. I take it seriously so I’ll be growing as the fans grow. I want to be a great performer just as much as a great musician.
AHH: So what is the tour performance like, do you have just a DJ with you, you got back up dancers or something (laughs) Just kidding...
CalenRaps: Nah bro (laughs) just me and my DJ and it's real raw. I don’t play a backing track with the vocals unless I have a hook where I’m singing and I’ll have some vocals help me out, but unless I have a songs, like songs like where I have a singing, its just me and the beat and me on the mic and its' just the most authentic version of me. It just connects on a different level - I already know that because the biggest part of my come up has been the backseat freestyles and its just that feeling of me rapping on a beat. It's just authentic.
AHH: So the tour is a real experience, not just the rappity rap stuff.
CalenRaps: Yea i lose my voice a lot of nights, I have to keep tea and honey and I just do rehab in-between shows because I gotta keep my voice good and because I get so into it, I just can’t help myself on stage but I just give them the most passion when I’m up there . I want you to feel how I felt when I was up there. I don’t want anything to be over-produced. I just like that raw sh*t, not hating on anyone or anything I just like it raw and produced how it is.
AHH: Any collaborations on the horizon?
CalenRaps: I got a couple people that I might end up doing some collabs with but it will be after this project, this project is just all me, solo like its always been.
AHH: Can you talk about your plans going forward into 2020?
CalenRaps: I’m driving to all 23 shows, I’m making it an experience and taking my homies with me. I’m hoping this is the project to where I can kinda make my introduction, you know kind of a be on the scale of the industry, to where I can be included in several conversations. I feel like right now I’m really floating below the radar, so it just about kind of pushing forward and growing. So that’s what this year is about, dropping that music and getting better.