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CALIBINN was born in Amman, Jordan. He moved to the Bay Area a few years ago and is based in Oakland. Currently attending the University of California, Berkeley, he has dropped his debut single entitled “Back At It”. CALIBINN is associated with a musical camp called “Obsolete”, as well as “Jazz Tha Process” and “ZYDD”, who is also featured on this track. This holds up very well to the best in the game right now, not only from a lyrical and stylistic standpoint, but also from an intellectual and philosophical viewpoint as well. CALIBINN intentionally flips a lot of the notions of the industry on its head and does a great job of jumping between styles on the track. The beat is really good as well and it adds to a great sense of production value and quality put into the product.

I’ve found smart underground rappers before, but CALIBINN’s ability to deliver rock, R&B and hip-hop flavors in one song, combined with his clever tongue-in-cheek rhyming skills, make the track actually very repeatable, and it doesn’t feel like a gimmick, but rather a different take on the genre – which is very refreshing.

Basically, this is an inversion of everything we’ve come to expect from hip-hop: irreverent towards rap’s irreverence. Mileage may vary per person, but there’s no denying that CALIBINN is a breath of fresh air. With “Back At It”, he lays down his credentials with off-kilter swagger.

It’s clear from the first few bars that CALIBINN’s greatest strength comes from his punchlines. His flow is surprisingly nimble, and his lyrics are surprisingly clever. The punchlines hit more often than not, and the production work is sublime.

It’s a perfectly palatable hip-hop track. ZYDD adds a further dimension to the track, by giving it more dynamic power. Even so, there’s a unique quality to CALIBINN’s outsider identity that promises to build bridges: perspective.

“Back At It” is original, its thought provoking, and overall it goes hard. It’s not your average rap record.  It is clever, insightful, and relevant too, and it’s something hip-hop needs more of. CALIBINN, and all of his genre blending is vital and necessary for hip-hop.

“Back At It” may, or may not be, one of the year’s best rap singles, but it’s arguably one of 2017’s most important. Talent comes in all kinds of packages, in this case it comes in the form of an unassuming Jordanian-born guy. Who knew?


By staff

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