Cal Scruby releases a new EP titled “Unsigned“. Cal Scruby’s latest effort lists 5 tracks and is available for download and streaming. Best known for his fan-favorite cut “Keanu Reeves,” Scruby opened up with HipHopDX on the concept of white privilege in Hip Hop and also gives his perspective on what it really means to be that dreaded term, “white rapper.”
Once upon a time, he deemed it to be a compliment when fans told him he was the only rapper they liked but didn’t actually like rap music.
“I thought I was opening people’s minds about the genre,” he admits during our interview at the Riveting Entertainment offices. “What I think that means often is, ‘I like Cal Scruby because he’s white.’ Maybe that’s not a conscious decision to these people but that’s where it ends up at. How can you like rap, which is a pillar of black culture but only like white rappers? You tend to like people who look more like you and they don’t try to fight that concept. Although he says he hasn’t been accused of cultural appropriation yet, he makes fun of his whiteness in his music video for his Redman-featured song “Do or Die.”
In the music video, comedic actor Michael Rapaport sits in the director’s chair next to New Girl‘s Lamorne Morris while ranting about not wanting to do a visual for a white rapper. Rapaport insists there is nothing fascinating about another white rapper wearing a grill, while Morris tries to convince him otherwise.
“I was about 22 years old when I started rapping,” he says. “It was right after I broke up with this girl who didn’t want me to be a rapper. I was like, ‘I’m going to be everything you don’t want me to be.’ I was a junior in college and I was an engineering student at Ohio State, but I had no passion in it. My passion had always been writing. I wanted to be a journalist for most of my life but because I was a good writer I took it for granted. Anything that’s easy for you is not that important. I took a bunch of math courses and things that were hard for me and shit I wasn’t good at or cared about.”
“Rapping makes me happy, it’s a struggle and I don’t think there are any other struggles that I would enjoy more than this,” he reveals. Being at someone else’s mercy isn’t Cal’s style, which is why his partnership with Listermann works so well. Since moving away to Los Angeles from his hometown of Lebanon, Ohio, he’s recorded music with a lot of big names and has embraced an opportunity that he wouldn’t otherwise get living at home. One of his more popular songs, “Ain’t Shit Changed,” features Chris Brown and has more than 6 million YouTube views. Brown is someone Cal has known for quite some time. He’s consistently shown Cal mad love, including posting one of his freestyles for his 43 million followers on Instagram to witness.
Cal names Drake, Big Sean, Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole as his biggest influences and doesn’t care for the G-Eazy and Eminem comparisons. He’s actually inspired by Cole’s album-making process, which mirrors the current approach for his next project. All he does is record when he feels like it, so he can build a hefty music collection he feels confident enough to pull music from that will accurately tell his story. Connecting with producers and artists from Ohio is a must and will be what his next project will consist of (including fellow Ohio rapper Insomniac Lambs, who was with Cal at Riveting Entertainment discussing a collaboration and sifting through beats when I arrived).
“I always say rap is a pillar of black culture,” he admits. “It’s obviously not a normal part of white culture. It’s a black culture thing. I think I am able contribute to the culture as long as I care about the culture and it’s not all about creating things for myself and benefitting myself. If I share, uplift and amplify voices of people within the culture then that’s how I think I can contribute to the culture. I think there are ways you can benefit from the culture and not care about it and that’s when you become a culture vulture.
Listen and download Unsigned by Cal Scruby below.