credit: Cam Kirk
Twenty-year-old rapper Caleb Brown is already a promising new independent voice in hip-hop, with how he depicts his hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to devastating effect in his “Batonstan” series. Yet his fifth EP BROWN shows how he has an even clearer sense of self today. “I’ve broken my shell and had a self-esteem boost,” he says. “I can finally be me.”
During high school, Caleb Brown first imagined that he would grow up to be a basketball star, but his grades failed to qualify him to play. Then a friend urged him to listen to Nas. “I studied Illmatic for the longest time, trying to mimic his storytelling capabilities,” Brown says. The teenage rapper was also coming to terms with how mental illness can affect one’s outlook: After watching his mother work as a nurse aid in group homes, and essentially growing up in such facilities, Brown was diagnosed as bipolar, as he spells out in BROWN’s second track “Mob” without a trace of irony.
Caleb Brown graduated from high school to a record deal with Rostrum Records and an idea for what he had to offer. “I didn’t want to be Kendrick anymore. I didn’t want to do what Nas was doing anymore. I wanted to be me.
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