By Inioluwa Amu
Rhythm and Poetry (RAP) is one of the most populated genres of music; filled with artistes of different calibres. It seems it is so easy to rap but contrary to popular belief, it requires skill, passion and talent for you to make it big. On today’s feature, we meet C.A.L, a very talented upcoming rapper who is ready to take the industry by the storm.
Let’s get to know you better. What is your full name, date of birth and nationality?
My name is Calvin “C.A.L.” Alston. I was born 12/20/1993 and I am African American.
Tell us about your educational background.
I am a St. Peters Prep and Morgan State graduate.
When did you start out officially and why did you go into rap of all genres?
I started out officially in the summer of 2011. At the time I noticed that I possessed a skill that I had been honing for many years, rapping, but never took seriously. I decided to see what I could create with this gift. This would later evolve into me utilizing both R&B/ Soul and Rap/HipHop.
You’re a political activist as well as a rapper. How have you been able to combine these two?
I wouldn’t say I am an activist yet, out of respect to those who I am still learning from, however, I do consider myself an advocate. With this I combine what I stand behind with my music to better convey my perspective in hopes to educate those who may be ignorant to the strife of others.
What’s your take on ghost writers and what inspires your rhymes?
When it comes to ghost writers I think it is a disingenuous tool that distances fans and artists, specifically when dealing with rappers. What inspires my rhymes is my life experience and lessons as they have the ability sooth, enlighten, excite, and encourage.
Why did you become an advocate and what’s your view about the #BlackLivesMatter campaign?
What first started me on this journey was learning that we still have symptoms from our oppressive history in this country and across the globe. When looking at the #BlackLivesMatter campaign, I see a generation ready to finish what was started with our predecessors; who are unapologetically proud to do so and that is something I can resonate with.
What message are you trying to pass across through your rhymes?
Often the message is that the current status quo and social norms we’ve been raised to believe can sometimes harm us as a whole.
Word has it that your father is also an artiste. Is he and if he is, what influence does his career have on yours?
Yes my father is the lead singer for the Grammy award winning group, The Manhattans. Growing with a front row seat to that sound and work ethic has definitely influenced my sound. It has also influenced what I want to bring to the music community.
Since you began officially, how many singles have you released?
Since I’ve begun I have released two projects. Recently, I have three singles up now on soundlcoud.com/calalstonmusic.
What message is your new single, Recap, conveying and are there any other projects we should be looking forward to?
In the song, Recap, I speak on what I learned about the industry and how it changed since the beginning of my matriculation in college. As far as new work, there is a new project in the works that may be released later this year.
Who do you look up to in the industry and what challenges you about them?
Just about any of the lyricists you can think of; from Andre 3000 to Slaughter House, and when it comes to the business aspect I admire some of the qualities seen in Jay-Z, Sean Combs, Russell Simmons, and most recently DJ Khaled with his branding. What challenges me about these groups are their ability to raise the expectations whether it’s consistently honing there skills with a pen or their ability to create ownership and enterprise for themselves because in order to compete you need to know that there is no ceiling.
What challenges have you faced in the industry ?
The challenges that I have experienced so far are mostly centered around publicity and experimenting with new sounds.
You have a great sense of style. What influences your style choices?
Thinking about what looks best on me and how I can put my personality into what I wear.
Are you single? If you are what’s your ideal woman like?
Currently, yes. My ideal woman is someone that can bring peace and tranquility to my life and reciprocate what I give.
What are your goals and plans for the future? Should we be expecting any collaborations?
The goal is give everyone something nostalgic yet new. By the end of this year, my goal is to leave an impression on the world and give them words to recite that can make them smile and better their life.
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