[Interview] RH First Look: Caleb James
When I walked into Leaders 1354 on Friday night, it was immediately apparent the path Chicago Hip Hop is heading. About 60 of us packed the Chicago boutique to witness the first sounds from Caleb James’ debut project Ground Up. Recently, Chicago’s scene has become a hotbed for new talent and many artists are bringing our sound to a national stage. That list includes recent major label signees like Chief Keef and King Louie, as well as soon to sign artists like Rockie Fresh and L.E.P. In this new wave of attention, it is important to understand who the new fans are. They are the consumers who watched “3Hunna” 1 million times, the kids standing in lines wrapped around the block at Leaders waiting to meet Chance The Rapper on a cold and rainy day in November, they are the youth. Caleb’s listening party was even more proof that the enthused teenage fan will be a leading factor in deciding the future of Hip Hop, not only here in Chicago, but everywhere.
There is an honest and personal connection that James and SaveMoney have with their fans. For one, a big foundation of the SaveMoney Army (as their called) come from the same Chicago (and surrounding) high schools as Vic Mensa, Caleb James, Chance The Rapper, St. Millie, Calez and others. They’ve been to almost every in-store at Leaders or Jugrnaut since last September, and wouldn’t miss a Chance, Caleb, or Kids These Days show unless Kanye was playing the Metro unexpectedly. The national popularity surrounding artists like Louie and Keef has only strengthened the other local scenes, as their rising star power has not only inspired local artists to reach that level, but have unearthed Hip Hop fans of all ages. This bond has centered around supporting the young talent of our city, that ultimately is the future of Hip Hop. This allows for scenes like Friday where everyone from MC Juice, Treated Crew’s Sulaiman, Gzus piece, and ShowYouSuck, The Village’s Alex Wiley and a buttload of teenage stans came together supporting Caleb and his team’s Movement.
For James, the road to this launching point of his career has been a random one of some sorts. Yet, with a renowned producer as a father who worked closely with Avant and the Isley Brothers and owned a studio in Wicker Park, this path can be seen as destiny for “Mr. DoItForSaveMoney”. Keep reading to learn more about Caleb’s emergence into the industry in this new First Look.