Calboy’s latest single, “Miseducation,” featuring Lil Wayne, is just a taste of what the Chicago rapper has in store for his upcoming album.
“Miseducation” captures the pitfalls of street life and the politics that dictate the narrative that so many rappers who make it out of the hood experience. The Shomi Patwary-directed music video adds depth to the somber track with a moving visual that brings the sad story to life.
Fans get a painful reminder that things aren’t always sweet when it comes to opportunity. Content-wise, “Miseducation” is not that much different than the usual music Calboy puts out, but the Chicago native understands he’s educating his fans throughout his growth as an artist these days. With his next album, Calboy is the big homie putting his arm around the shoulders of his fans and teaching them in a way that could hopefully benefit them.
“I went through real-life situations, man,” Calboy told HipHopDX. “Losing friends, having friends go to jail, and just the streets, bro. It’s a lot of miseducated young black males in the streets, and that’s why I’m doing this.”
He continued, “My upcoming project is about me leveling up and changing. Living in the hood is a generational thing, and I’m able to change all of that. I want this new album to be like, man, a piece of advice and peace of mind for my people. Through music, you can share a lot of different things, and I want to share love, positivity, drive, motivation and the energy to get money.”
At such a young age, Calboy has seen more than his eyes should have let him. Several of his childhood friends were killed, and some of his peers in the rap game have lost their lives at the hands of street violence too, including Pop Smoke and his cousin King Von.
The 22-year-old is coming into his own as an adult, and not many people at that age can say the same. Most people in their early 20s are still trying to figure out who they are and what they want out of life. But, as Calboy revealed to HipHopDX, the more he grows up the wider his eyes become to what’s really going on around him.
“The more I grow up, the more I see really like OGs in the streets, or the big homies haven’t taught us nothing for real,” Calboy said. “I feel like I got to do something now.”
HipHopDX spoke more with Calboy about “Miseducation,” his upcoming album, growing out of the hood and its negative tendencies, his mindset after Pop Smoke’s death and more.
HipHopDX: “Miseducation” touches on the misinformation the youth in these hoods are getting which ultimately leads to so many of them losing their lives. How did you live with that trauma and seeing it so much in the place you called home?
Calboy: It’s tough. I think it’s tougher now than ever before because I was just a young miseducated young man. I was just outside being brought up and everything. Everybody is not of that, so I can’t be a hypocrite. I’m just growing up and the more I grow up the more I see what I’m here to do. Now that I know what I know, and I’m learning what I’m learning, and I’m seeing what I see with my eyes, and experiencing the world I know what I have to do.
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I know homies that haven’t ever left Chicago and they’ve never been on an airplane. Never been outside the state of Illinois. So for an individual like me that’s been outside and seen this and that, I know a lot more and I understand now. So, I feel like I got to do something to make me feel right. I got to be somebody big homie and I got to be the reason somebody stays in the right direction and becomes successful and make millions. I’ll feel good about myself after that. I’ll be like, “Okay. I did that now, let’s make more moves.”
HipHopDX: You have to be feeling that now since so much of the youth back in Chicago and other cities bump your music. How do you feel about your role as an inspiration to them?
Calboy: I’m feeding millions of people this energy, whatever this energy is. I got one billion streams worldwide. That’s a lot of streams and that’s a lot of ears that’s listening to what I’m talking about. So am I feeding them the right stuff? That’s why a lot of my content changed, bro, and it’s kind of evolving because I realize that now. I don’t want to be a negative influence for nobody, even though somebody was the negative influence in my life until I got older. I don’t want to be that next person and I want to break the cycle.
HipHopDX: Moving forward are these the only types of records you’re going to make?
Calboy: I’m not saying I’m not making the other songs too because I still got the type of drill type of music. But even in those drill songs you hear me just speak about standing on business and respecting like holding my own. That’s how I’m coming with everything and that’s what I would teach my son or whoever I’m coaching. Like you have to stand on business and if it’s inevitable you know what’s going on. But other than that we are going to play defense, we’re going to chase millions and there are a lot of individuals who don’t teach that. Everything is powered by negative energy right now so I’m just testing a theory.
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HipHopDX: What’s the one thing you would tell a young one coming up that you wish somebody told you when you were on the way up?
Calboy: The streets are just like the music industry. The industry is actually harder than the streets because you can identify the chickens, snakes and rats in the streets. You can’t identify that in the industry though because everybody is dressed up. Everybody is a different persona or a character than what they really are. You just got to stay all 10 toes and stay true to yourself because you know what’s right.
You got to know who you dealing with and that’s what people didn’t teach me. Like, hey, these folks are going to come at you like guardian angels but these muthafuckers really devils. For the up-and-coming artists, man, stay loyal to your camp and team because everybody on the outside just looking at you as a check. Nothing else is personal, it’s just business.
HipHopDX: “Miseducation” also touches on street justice and politics. If you’re from the hood you’re conditioned to think these are codes to live by. What are your views on that now that you’re coming into your own as a teacher somewhat?
Calboy: Man, that goes back into the miseducation thing in itself. What a lot of the people in the streets feel is important isn’t important. Points that people try to prove shouldn’t even be proven. I’m steering away from the streets as I get older because I’m not going to die for nobody. I’m not going to feel for nobody and I’m not going to risk my life for something I don’t feel that’s important. The whole street politics thing, I don’t even get involved. I don’t want to talk to any of that.
I don’t want to talk to no person that’s like, you know what I’m talking about, they run the streets and they do all of this stuff. At the end of the day, they’re not running things. The people that are really in the streets getting some money out the way, you never see them or hear from them. They’re always doing their own thing and minding their business. That’s what I’m on, some young boss millionaire situation now so the street politics don’t make sense to me anymore. I don’t respect no big homie because you all didn’t teach me nothing.
HipHopDX: A rapper that lost his life that you had a friendship with was Pop Smoke. What was that loss like for you?
Calboy: Me and Pop locked in quickly, like fairly fast. I met him in the studio when we recorded “100K On A Coupe.” It was up from there because the energy just matched, bro. It was a vibe anytime me and Pop Smoke linked up. It was like a movie, and I enjoyed that, for sure. I used to hit him up and just tell him like, “Yo, keep your head up. I’m praying for you. Make sure you safe, you know.” We did that back and forth, and we just built the relationship from there.
The Pop Smoke situation was tough too, bro. That’s why I say I don’t want to be friends or know no rappers because you lock in and you show genuine love to these kids, and you don’t even know what happened or what they’re involved in. You emotionally attached to that and now you feel some type of way about that not knowing everything he got going on. I don’t know why them folks did what they did or why he did what he did because we don’t know about that. But all we know is like spreading positivity to each other, it’s tough.
HipHopDX: You’re assuming a lot of responsibility with how you’re approaching this upcoming album. What can fans expect besides you leveling up and becoming an inspiration?
Calboy: My music is personal. With that being said, my supporters that been rocking with me so far that’s been learning me and getting to know me, they know what period of time I am in right now in my life. This is a project about me just leveling up, teaching and inspiring. We just talked about growing up and not wanting to be so connected to the streets. This is me on the road to being saved from sin, error or evil. I’m coming from that to making millions of dollars living in a suburban area, nice cars, weather nice all the time. I’m on the greener side as far as living goes.
HipHopDX: Do you stress losing it all because it’s so easy for Black people to mess up given the spotlight that’s on us at all times?
Calboy: I’m blessed. I feel like I’m blessed to have all that. So to keep all of that and to obtain what I got going on, I got to stay focused on what I’m doing and keeping the mindset that I have right now to inspire others to do the same. I’m getting older, I’m getting smarter, I’m getting wiser and I’m doing better things with my money as I obtain more of it.
I’m on the road to changing my whole lineage right now. The story goes you from the hood, you have some kids, then they have kids and now you become a grandparent and no one ever leaves that muthafucker. I’ve actually gotten to a point in my life where I’m able to change all of that. My kids going to know they from Chicago, but they aren’t going to have to deal with any of that drama and negativity.
Check out more content on Calboy here and here. Follow Calboy on his Instagram page @147calboy.