Before 2014 Forest Hills Drive acquired its double platinum, no feature trademark, footage of J. Cole making a beat on his tour bus leaked. It was a beat you’d expect from Cole: a choppy, yet smooth piano sample, a bass line that’s depicted in most of his songs, which both combine for his signature sound of dark, soul hip-hop. However, seeing as how it would have been an ideal record for his 2014 opus, it never made it to the plastic, and as a huge fan of Cole’s work, I feared it would never see the studio light turn red in the booth. Until now, thanks to Caleborate.
Story | Nico Blitz
The Berkeley product recently released his track ‘Produced by J. Cole’ which features the very same beat Cole made on that tour bus. Coming off his 14-track project 1993, Caleborate takes a soulful approach on the record and reveals his purpose for being in hip-hop.
“It’s not about the fame I mean that, I really mean it/ But let me tell you the truth, and why I do this here’s the reason/ I promise you it’s not no corny shit, I’m really speaking/ I wanna save lives first and foremost/ Cuz I remember Chance The Rapper saving me from jumping outta dorm rooms”
Throughout the track, Caleborate mentions several hip-hop icons who have seemingly inspired his reasons for rapping, including Nas, Lil Wayne, Chance the Rapper and J. Cole. Each of these emcees are from different parts of the United States, therefore growing up in different (and somewhat similar) environments and being exposed to different forms of difficulties. Though we’ll never understand their respective paths, as fans we believe in their stories and relate to them to some degree.
Based off a couple bars from this track, Caleborate seems to be the middle man between hip-hop’s future hall of famers, and today’s newcomers. He shouts out many of today’s mumble rappers and humanizes them for us fans, or non-fans, to try to understand that they have struggles as well:
“Now I swear It’s different in the world for guys like us/ Not just emcees, niggas who really say real stuff/ Including Lil Uzi, 21, Kodak, Tee Grizz/ Lil Yachty, Denzel Curry, Migos, Rae Sremm/ Rich Homie, and of course my nigga Thug/ All my dawgs painting what our childhoods was, you get no love”
– Related: Breaking Down J. Cole’s 4 Your Eyez Only –
Personally, I haven’t listened to the aforementioned rappers beyond their mainstream hits. When I catch their lyrics, for example on ‘XO Tour Lif3’ when Uzi raps “All my friends are dead,” I can’t help but wonder what urged him to say those words.
Caleborate may listen to these rappers more than we know, which may have urged him to shout them out to begin with. It’s a constant loop of inspiration from one artist to another despite how similar or different they may seem to us. At the end of the day it’s a dope thought knowing that Caleborate relates to someone like J. Cole, Nas, Lil Yachty, and Lil Uzi all at the same time.
If you’d like to see the behind the scenes footage of ‘Produced by J. Cole’ you can view the video below.