There are rappers who boast about the things their favorite movie characters have done. They brag about money they don’t have as if it’s already been deposited in their accounts and invested multiple times. None of it is fact, all fiction. Just aspirations.
Then there are folks like Cal Ripken, a young MC who simply spits it how he lives.
Utilizing ability to rap, produce, and sing a hook or two, Cal approaches each track with the intention of painting an accurate picture of what he knows first hand. There are no "woe is me" tales. No urban youth inner-city tragedies to profit from. No tales of posting on corners. But there are stories of girls, parties, relationships, and business, plus a heavy dose of pretty-boy braggadocio.
Exhibit A: His last mixtape Reality Bragging. The thirteen-track release uses original and industry beats as the backdrop while weaving tales of issues dealing with promoters and industry folks, the complexity of intimate relationships, the occasional hater, taking ladies to the crib, and living the party life.
“I’m braggin’, but it’s about what’s real,” explains Calvin Jackson who chose the name Cal Ripken because the baseball great played his position and played it well. “He was the best at what he did and he stayed in his lane,” notes Jackson whose lane could be described as that of the business-savvy, community-connected entertainer.
At the age of 26 he’s a certified entrepreneur with the tax-id number and LLC classification to prove it. His company, Flood The Streets Entertainment (FTS), is responsible for employing local DJs, promoters, and graphic designers during their years all while pushing Cal Ripken as an artist and a brand. Always looking for ways to expand while maintaining a do-it-yourself attitude, he created Top Floor Productions, a vehicle to advance and market his team of producers. Jackson uses his resources and connections made via his business ventures to put together an annual toy-drive in addition to working with local group homes and non-profits to strengthen ties and plan future projects.
But when the lights are low, the mic is up, and the music is blaring, Cal Ripken is the man on stage that dudes can rock with and the ladies want to sample. Reality.