During high school, Caleb Brown first imagined that he would grow up to be a basketball star, but his grades failed to qualify him to play. Then a friend urged him to listen to Nas. “I studied Illmatic for the longest time, trying to mimic his storytelling capabilities,” Brown says. The teenage rapper was also coming to terms with how mental illness can affect one’s outlook: After watching his mother work as a nurse aid in group homes, and essentially growing up in such facilities, Brown was diagnosed as bipolar, as he spells out in BROWN’s second track “Mob” without a trace of irony.
Caleb Brown graduated from high school to a record deal with Rostrum Records and an idea for what he had to offer. “I didn’t want to be Kendrick anymore. I didn’t want to do what Nas was doing anymore. I wanted to be me. I think I’ve got a grip on that,” he says.
For BROWN, the titular rapper worked closely with producer and Atlanta trap veteran Sonny Digital, exchanging and sharpening ideas for songs over the course of eight months. The end result is five sinister Southern hip-hop bangers.