Over the past few months Chicago rapper Caleb James has taken the internet by storm with a series of clean visuals and a project called The Jones, now critically acclaimed by the who's who of Hip-Hop critics. Taking a page out of your favorite rapper's rhyme book - circa 1992 - Caleb James seems to be what the game has been asking for amidst all the twerking and trap music that's out today. With the release of Kendrick's "Control" verse, Hip-Hop is in a new era where rapper's lyrics and their ability to their flip words is paramount relative to previous critic's standards.
But fear not, Caleb James does more than meeting the bar, Caleb is well above the bar when it comes to the quality of music that he is putting out at such a young age. Having grown up under the tutelage of his father who was a multi-platinum producer for Avant, Caleb was fortunate enough to grow up in an active musical environment where his father was also R Kelly's bassist on tour. At an early age Caleb James was able to experience life on the road, on tour and behind the scenes.
Now as he preps for his own performances at AllHipHop's A3C stage and the College Music Journal (CMJ) week, it appears Caleb has all that it takes to take things to the next level. Welcome the newest inductee to AllHipHop's acclaimed Breeding Ground: Caleb James.
Check below for our exclusive AllHipHop Premiere of Caleb's new video, "Flexin."
AllHIpHop Premiere: Caleb James - "Flexin"
AllHipHop: How did you get started rapping and what is your musical background?
Caleb James: My dad a was a multi platinum music producer and he did R&B. He wrote and produced Avant’s first three albums and he owned and pretty decent studio in Chicago, then called Battery Studios. He bought it from Jive and bought the floor of the building and I was just always in the studio as a kid running around.
I saw a lot of big R&B records get made and I started making beats at like 13. It was dope, just growing up in that environment was very different. My dad was a bass player before he was a producer. He played bass for R Kelly on tour and when he stopped playing bass he became a producer full-time.
My dad used to f*ck with Hip-Hop too, he did records with Bump J and G-Unit, but I always wanted to rap. Bow Wow was hot when I was younger and he had braids, I had braids so I was like sh*t I can rap too. (Laughs)
AllHipHop: That's funny man.... So talk about the "Mr. Jones" song if you could and what the inspiration behind that song is about. That song spread like wildfire online.
Caleb James: Me and my dad produced that joint, definitely old school is really the only type of music that I listen to. All the music from 1992-2003 and 2005, everything circa that era. Its just music for that era. We got together with Davy Greenberg he directed the video and it came out clean.
AllHipHop: Talk about the Chicago Hip-Hop scene… Has the violence of Chicago influenced your music in any ways?
Caleb James: Everyone is f**king with each other and that’s beautiful. I think we are all fans of each other – at least I am a fan of all the other rappers - but it’s a great thing for Chicago.
I make feel good music, I don’t make music for mu’ fuggas to go kill each other too. I make music that you listen to on your way to the party or if you finna to get in bed with your significant other. I’m not the one for that I’m not down with the negative energy so my music reflects that good vibes only, positive energy.
Chicago is a great city, it just has a bad reputation because of the media and violence recently. Chicago people don’t take well to bull sh*t so you have to be strong to grow up here in this city. I want my son to be raised here so he is able to have his bike stolen. He’s gonna have to fight to get it back. I wouldn’t be the person that I am if I was from LA for instance. I love Chicago for how it raised me.
AllHipHop: What do you do in your spare time?
Caleb James: I skateboard, I have R Kelly concerts in my living room. People be in the club all the time, but I’d rather fall back and chill with the homies and do fun shit. Laser tag and sh*t, a big ass arcade. I like to go to Whirly ball with my friends and just do fun stuff. Its like bumper cars and laser tag all in one. I just like to have fun man and chill with the homies. Really n*ggas that's getting money aren't in the club every week, they getting money.
AllHipHop: Talk to me about what you've been listening to and the music you’ve been checking for
Caleb James: Just with the way music is now, just some of the weirdest music is just the hottest shit. Technology and sounds that are just weird as fuck and its just like the future.
As far as artists, I listen to all my n*ggas hot, we all cold. I be like damn Sterling, damn Dolly got a new joint and Chance and Vic got everyone buggin. Leather Corduroys, Tokyo Shawn got some ill shit coming out. I just think mu f**ka’s aren't ready for all the Save Money stuff that we got. Hot shit after hot sh*t after hot shit. Ugly Eddie just got out of jail, he came back with notebooks of raps so y'all need to be on the lookout for that, he got raps for days.
AllHipHop: What you got up next as far as performances and shows?
Caleb James: I got shows at A3C, and I got shows at CMJ that I can’t really talk about. But you gotta just stay updated on me via Twitter. @CalebJamesFBSM.
Check out Caleb James Perform on AllHipHop.com's Stage at A3C With Too Short