Hip-hop has always been moved by the youth since it was birthed as an artistic expression from the young rappers in New York City. Forty-six years after rap’s birth in the Big Apple, 20- year-old Chicago artist Calboy has covered a lot of ground and become a success in his own right. As proof, his 2018 single “Envy Me” has turned into a bona fide hit and went double platinum. In addition to that, his latest EP, Wildboy, is increasing in streams daily and he’s fresh off the road as a supporting act on 21 Savage’s I Am > I Was Tour. Getting some time off from that jam-packed schedule, Calboy came to the XXL office to discuss his come up in our Who Am I? series.
As a kid, Calboy had other interests outside of music. “For fun, I painted; I could do everything,” he shares. “Portraits, still lifes, abstracts, whatever I could think.” Happy to share his early days of making magic on the canvas, he then reveals exactly what he’d paint: “When we did still lifes in school, it was like fruits, teddy bears.”
Growing up, a younger Calboy was certainly loyal to his city’s stars. “I listened to a little bit of everything; from all the Chicago rappers, G Herbo, Chance The Rapper, Kanye [West], Chief Keef,” he says. But he also paid attention to the world of pop. “Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swfit, Justin Beiber. I’m up on Billie Eilish too.” With a particular affinity for Sheeran’s Divide album, Calboy is no newcomer when it comes to other genres.
Down time is rare once a career in music takes off, but Calboy has some interesting hobbies that he takes part in when he’s not in the studio or on the road. “I’m a dog head now, I got Frenchies,” he conveys, talking about his two French bulldogs. “Blanco is the female, I named her after Griselda. My boy I just got is Jefe, I named him after El Chapo.”
In addition to the dogs, Calboy is writing a science-fiction book. “It’s basically the story of my life, when I went into the psychiatric ward and I met a group of friends,” he explains. “They left outside of that facility and they stayed in cahoots and they come up with a crazy plan and it just goes all berserk.” Stay tuned, he has something special in store.
Learn more about Calboy, from how he started making music to his craziest fan experience in his Who Am I? video below.
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