San Diego rapper Cali Kev was inspired to begin honing his craft when he first heard Bow Wow in 1999. “I thought we was the same age, ’cause he looked my height. So I told myself if he could rap, then so could I,” he said. His unique take on California-style rap mixes energy and consciousness, such as by citing the long-celebrated “law of attraction,” which Cali Kev used as an inspiration for his newest project. Here, Kev talks his latest album, No Salary Cap, inspirations, and what’s up next.
Your latest project, No Salary Cap, is out now. What was the inspiration for the album?
When you sign a contract it’s mainly based off what your talent has proven, or the potential your talent has, and when I see all these artist that don’t take my craft serious, I can’t complain, I gotta show my worth, and on No Salary Cap I did that. If production is what you like, my producer, Mexico Merio, handles that, track after track. And if you want lyrics, I got that. So, if labels and companies are investing into these other people who don’t take it serious, there should be no limit to how much they’d invest to someone who does. But it’s also about being the player your team needs and getting your worth, overall.
How would you describe your sound, and how do you think San Diego rap is unique?
My sound is whatever I feel like hearing. I make music for me to listen to and if people like my taste in music, they’ll enjoy it. No one really has compared me to any artist because my music is kind of different. It’s just a bunch of ‘QBWrist Music.’
Who are some of your artistic inspirations?
My biggest inspirations are Missy [Elliott] and Busta Rhymes visuals in 1997. That kind of creativity isn’t expressed anymore, so I try to be that creative in my lyrics. I just remember watching “I Can’t Stand the Rain” or “Dangerous” on BET before school and being impressed every time I watched.
What achievement are you most proud of from 2017?
My biggest achievement was probably putting out No Salary Cap. Me and Merio put so much work into that sh*t and to see people enjoying it makes me happy. Having ThomasTyrell619 handle all the visuals and one producer makes it that much better, ’cause all three of us compliment each other and get to showcase our skills. People telling me their favorite songs or lyrics is the best feeling.
What are you looking forward to achieving in 2018?
My main focus in 2018 is to put out more visuals. People these days have short attention spans so they can hear your song and not even be paying attention, but at least with the help of a video it’s easier to understand. I just released my first visual of the year, “Law Of Attraction 111,” and it’s being received really well, so I’m going to capitalize on that and continue releasing videos and getting more people familiar with BR8VE Ent. That, and working on being someone’s favorite artist.
Any upcoming shows?
No shows at the moment, but it’s only the first month of the year. We’ve got plenty of time [laughing].
Tell me a little bit about the message behind “Law Of Attraction 1:11?”
The Law of Attraction is pretty simple, what you think about is what will manifest in your life. During the process of writing No Salary Cap I had to focus my energy and my thoughts into what was most important and necessary, and by the time the project was 80 percent done, I noticed I manifested everything I had created up [to] that point. So, it’s basically just a reminder to keep your thoughts and emotions intact and to remove anything toxic during the process.
What or who motivates your music creation?
I’m motivated by everything: other people’s music, watching interviews, movies, just being in my own space. I’m an introvert, so keeping to myself helps me understand things and channels the inspiration that sparks from learning something new.
What are you working on next?
I’m just working on getting better. Right now, me and my videographer are finishing up videos off the project. Besides that, just all around working on my craft.
Anything else you’d like to add or say to fans?
Thank you to everyone who has helped me get to this point in my musical career. This time last year, I was just someone making music. Now, people know me and my name comes up on Google with a page of things I’ve done that are documented. Thanks to everyone who still blasts No Salary Cap, watches my videos, or just believes in me. San Diego music is on the rise! Don’t miss out.
And thank you Victoria for interviewing me! Positive blessings for anyone reading this all 2018.