Interview by Thomas Agnew
Photo by VSLSTS
During my first watch of Cali Cam‘s video for “Golden (State of Mind),” I quickly realized why when I asked about who I should feature next for the magazine I was quickly rushed by a group of his fans suggesting I check him out. The San Diego, California MC is on his second tape “Firm Biz” which left a good impression on me after the first listen. I quickly reached out to Cam to speak on Firm Biz, his one take video for Golden (State of Mind), and how Tupac’s “Picture Me Rollin” motivates him daily.
Tell us who Cali Cam is and when did you start with your career?
Cali Cam is a 21-year-old artist out of San Diego, CA. I been making music for my own personal enjoyment since maybe me Jr. year of high school. I didn’t decide that this was something I really wanted to pursue until the release of my first mixtape The West Kept Secret early 2011.
Is there a song lyric that you have heard that has particularly stuck with you when you first started?
The entire “Picture Me Rollin’” song by Tupac. “Just picture me rollin’. Flossing a Benz on rims that isn’t stolen.” This country is built on Entrepreneurs. You ain’t going to get rich working 9-5 getting paid bi-weekly. That song and that line especially motivates me to go out there and get it on my own.
Tell us a bit about your project Firm Biz and where the idea arose for it?
Firm Biz is my second project. My first mixtape was very lyrical, long, strung-out verses; so during the course of recording Firm Biz I made a conscious effort to make fuller, more complete songs, rather than straight lyrics nonstop. I was initially going to call it Square Biz, but it sounded a bit dated. One day I was listening to The Firm’s self-titled album and the name came to me.
What was the idea behind your track/video for “Golden (State of Mind)?”
Golden (State of Mind) is a song paying homage to the entire state of California. It’s the intro to the EP and it has a strong message. The idea behind the video was to show a quick run through of my daily life while also incorporating San Diego/SoCal culture.
What influences your daily creativity for music?
I’m influenced and get motivation from a lot of different things. My favorite artists, movies, books, life, and my experiences all play a part. I just have an itch. Even if I didn’t write raps, I’d be writing in some form or another every day.
You definitely have a heavy West Coast influence of course. Who do you look up to as far as artist, producers, and people in the industry?
“Study the greats and become greater” is a quote I heard awhile back that I can really relate to. I don’t necessarily look up to anybody in that sense but there’s a lot of people in the game that I respect and pay homage to. West Coast legends: Pac, Snoop, Dre, Quick, Cube and the list goes on. I listen to music from the East and South too. I don’t limit myself to the West Coast music cause then I’d only appeal to the West and that’d make me 1 dimensional.
As an upcoming artist, how do you stand out from the many artists that pursue hip hop as a career?
I just do me. I feel like a lot of artists, especially artists trying to make a name for their selves imitate/try to duplicate what’s hot in the industry at the moment. I don’t worry about shit like that. I make music that I’d like to listen to. I’m trying to create a sound synonymous to Cali Cam, you know.
Realistically what do you hope to gain from your career? What is the main goal you have set out to achieve rapping?
Man, I just enjoy making music. Of course everybody wants to be remembered for what they do, but I’ve always felt quality outweighs quantity 10 times out of 10; so to me it’s not about how many people listen to my music, but how much the people that do listen to it enjoy it. It’s all about making that connection. I’ve had people tell me my songs have gotten them through some hard times, and that’s what keeps me goin’. In the end, I just want to be able to work for myself and travel the world, so if rapping can provide that for me I’d be content.
If you had to describe your life with a rap lyric, what would it be?
“We not like Christ is; we all want ices, and devices to make the bitches say, “I like this.”
In 2012 Cali Cam will….
Continue to make quality music and move through the ranks…. and most importantly, keep it F.U.E.G.O.
Follow Cali Cam on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/CaliCam