Chicago's growing importance in pop culture has been both a blessing and curse. On one hand, young disenfranchised citizens have been able to get their voices heard through a brand of music that is wholly innovative and confrontational; shedding light on the dark underbelly of society's most lost and oft-hated communities. Conversely, those outside of Chitown's radius are prone to believe the sensationalized stories or take the lyrics of songs literally; creating a picture of mass violence and dreaded hoodlums scampering around, anxiously seeking their next victim. It's darkness is starting to be preyed on, to either gain clout or to make a quick buck. However, another group of young adults and musicians have taken control of the spotlight, and are ready to show that the Second City has more to offer.
Calez and his 2080 crew are among those looking to portray a different character form the one they are often assumed. Instead of the languishing in crippling anguish, these emcees have taken it upon themselves to spread positive vibes and ideas of change. Perhaps, some who attempt this come across as lame, but Calez and his crew never lose focus of where they are from and their trials; helping to give their music an authentic feeling that is always welcomed. Ceito, his latest mixtape, is filled with this and it turns out to be one great ride.
Over the course of a few months, Calez has been previewing the project and releasing singles on his soundcloud page, each showcasing his continued growth. However, the final produce is still a relative surprise. Not only did he produce majority of the tracks himself, but it is incredibly cohesive without being boring. He managed to created a sublime, jazz filled hip hop album that still incorporates an impressive amount of modern techniques. Tracks like "Thick Girl", "Positive Energy", and "Money Now" feel both nostalgic and progressive in their sample choices and percussion styles.
Calez really shines behind the microphone; a dual threat, he can both sing and rap, which is a skill that he uses often. There are some transparent Drake influences in his work, but he makes his own for the most part. Everything is emotional and heartfelt, even when he is pointing out his haters flaws. When he goes from singing softly to aggressively spitting his bars, it will capture you and force your ears to listen to everything that he saying. Most of the time, Calez utilizes this time wisely, speaking on important topics, as varied as society to women. Thankfully, he doesn't really have a gimmick, just bars over some good production. It's simple, but effective.
Just not that efficient, Ceito has sixteen tracks and clocks in at over an hour. It is a good project, but listening to the whole thing in one sitting might be difficult to repeat after the first time. As expected with a mixtape this long, there are a number of songs that repeat the same theme and it could have been sequenced a little better. Although, Calez did do most of the work himself or it was done in-house, so these kinks are easy to pass over.
Ceito is a great collection of songs that will definitely introduce listeners to another side of Chicago, and pick their spirits up. Guaranteed, this tape has a number of tracks that will make your rotation.