In celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Bay Area’s Noise Pop Music and Arts Festival produced a special homecoming show for the artist known as Caleborate, currently on his first headlining tour throughout the United States. While his ‘Real Person Tour’ will take him to 17 cities by the end of the month, Caleborate’s hometown stop in Sacramento on Thursday was more than anything a moment to reflect and reminder to keep going.
Since his first project ‘Hella Good’ was released in 2015, Caleborate, born Caleb Parker, has emancipated his life story with lyrics that reign in the proper company of soulful hip-hop instrumentals. The stories he tells resonate more as one delves into his body of work, and with more than 23,000 subscribers on YouTube and over 350,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, it’s safe to say the people are listening. His latest project, ‘Real Person,’ is a testament to the persona he has discovered within himself, for as much as he has accomplished in a relatively short career, his ambitions provide him enough struggle turn setbacks and triumphs into art.
Careful not to sound ungrateful, Caleborate is clear in the fact that this is just the beginning for him. In looking toward the future, his dreams lie on the artistic borders of using his education in music of visual media and broadcast communication, to work with artists in their own fields, such as Danish architect Bjarke Ingels.
“What I’m doing right now is cool, but it’s not even close to the artist that I feel like I need to be,” said Caleborate. “Not necessarily that I have to please anyone, or anything like that, but for me, loving hip-hop, loving the genre, living the culture, I kind of hold myself to a certain standard. So the self-discovery has been great, but I’m really looking forward to using my self-discovery to do something, to do anything bigger, you know what I mean, to do a lot of greater things.”
It would be easy to compare Caleborate to a young Kanye West, considering they’re both Geminis, but he might prefer the correlations to Andre 3000, Tupac and Q-Tip—artists who have transcended music without ever losing their true essence.
Before taking the stage on Thursday night, Caleborate’s character came to show in the artists who preceded him. Jammy, Yeek, and his own brother, Cash Campain, brought an energy the audience embraced without fret. Whether it was Cash Campain’s dance tribute to Bell Biv DeVoe’s ‘Poison,’ or the impromptu dance circle triggered by some hyphy-era music, Holy Diver’s floors were literally bouncing in anticipation for the star of the night. By the time Caleborate hit the stage, the audience was fully engaged to celebrate ’Real Person.’
“I saw friends that used to support me in high school when I first started rapping, singing my lyrics now,” said Caleborate. “That’s just like candy man, doesn’t really get no better than that.”
Perhaps the most earnest moment of the night came in the brotherly performance of Cash Campain’s ‘Holy Matrimony,’ which features a tender verse from Caleborate in which he vows to “be the best husband to a wife for you.” While Caleborate has no wife in real life, his music addresses society’s skewed view on love and marriage, without giving up on the dream.
“We are a very different generation than generations of the past, in terms of like, physical contact, and romantic courting, and social cues,” said Caleborate. “We’re incredibly different, so I think we could use some unfiltered perspective and harsh reality—this is what marriage is, it’s difficult, it’s not easy, it’s compromise, you know what I mean? I think we could use that, just like society could use feminism. We needed feminism and it was great, and it is great, like you know, it’s been a good progress for us.”
In looking ahead, progress seems to be the only option for Caleborate. While his story has been captivating thus far, it will always be about pushing the art, wherein he the artist will have to push himself to new experiences.
“I’m always watching, or listening, or reading something bro. I live and breath art so much, it’s just what makes me happy,” said Caleborate. “Everything that’s beautiful to me has some sort of artistic—you know, I see art in the girls I date, in my friends, in the socks I wear, in the morning, in everything.”
As the ‘Real Person Tour’ makes its way across the states, the promise of more art and more life experiences are sure to shape Caleborate’s next project—and it may come sooner than we expect. The raw energy conceived on Thursday night is the embodiment of a movement and community of young and like-minded individuals eager to champion each other. An artist’s authenticity is not always on display to the public, but once it translates in person it is hard to ignore, which only makes it easier to gravitate toward the artist known as Caleborate.
“I’ll definitely remember [these shows] for the rest of my life and continue to enjoy this whole tour this whole journey because s***’s a blessing,” said Caleborate. “A lot of people never get the opportunity to do this s*** and I was one of those people for sure, at one point, so I’m elated, in one word, I’m elated.”
Below, you can find photos from the Holy Diver show on March 1.
For more information on Caleborate and the ‘Real Person Tour,’ visit Caleborate.co.
Photos courtesy of Tyrak Moore.