Caliph – “Green Faces”

By: Shamus Hill

Following what has been more than a year long hiatus with respect to releasing new music, New Bedford’s Caliph makes his return as he recruits Obeatz to unleash his new single “Green Faces”.

While many listeners may initially be drawn towards the sound of his music alone, it’s what Caliph speaks on, and stands for, that has helped him amass a deep-rooted following. “Green Faces” circulates around the struggles of striving towards one’s goals while being an immigrant in the United States. This theme has been prevalent within a large portion of Caliph’s discography, and for rightful reasons, as the African-born artist has been a defying the odds for his entire life. No matter the set of circumstances, Caliph has persisted through the shadows and come out an extremely formidable human being. This was perfectly represented in 2018 when he won a Grammy for his role in American Dreamers: Voices of Hope, Music of Freedom, which was composed entirely of artists that were DACA recipients. When listening to Caliph’s music, that what you hear — the voice of hope. He’s continually been outspoken against social issues, and has made it a personal mission of his to become a voice for the disenfranchised.

Possessing a lengthy resume that’s full of some truly staggering accomplishments, there’s no better example of perseverance than Caliph, especially on his latest single “Green Faces”.

Listen to “Green Faces” below:

CLICK HERE TO STREAM “GREEN FACES” ON ALL MAJOR STREAMING PLATFORMS

PHOTO ABOVE BY DAVI DE AZEVEDO

[PREMIERE] Caliph – “King Liph Freestyle” [Prod. RELLWTHEWAVECAP]

By: Seamus Fay

In my time writing for Graduation Music, New Bedford artist Caliph has been one of only a few names that have stuck out and remained one of my favorite artists from the very start until now. Charged with an electrifying personality, a strong sense of passion, and both the lyrical and sonic direction to do some serious damage when on the mic, Caliph is always finding new ways to impress, as hit-making seems to come as an innate talent for him. Today, we’re proud to help remind the world of his prowess by premiering the budding star’s brand new release, “King Liph Freestyle”.

Produced by none other than RELLWTHEWAVECAP, this dense new offering takes fuel from an infectiously soulful instrumental. The unforgettable sample-based melody clashes against drums that hold no hesitation in garnering energy, and once everything meshes together, the final product is a hard-hitting beat that leaves a wide-open canvas for Caliph to do what he does best. Bar after bar, the New Bedford representative steps into the room and asserts his dominance, offering up an endless supply of clever lyricism that will have you flashing the stank face for every second of the song’s nearly 3 and a half minute duration. He covers a wide range of topics that justly sum up his personality, so much so that listeners will be sure never to forget Caliph’s name after this one.

Caliph absolutely snapped with his latest, so if you need a reminder as to why he’s ready for the top, I advise simply clicking play on “King Liph Freestyle” at the link below.

Produced by RELLWTHEWAVECAP
Mixed by Ryan Easter
Art by Caliph

And if you haven’t heard them already, peep the rest of the Free Liph freestyles at the link provided below!

SuperSmashBroz – “Max Out” ft. Caliph, Reem Skully, & Austin Fair

By: Seamus Fay

Aside from being BMA-nominated best DJs in the state, the SuperSmashBroz are also Boston’s finest facilitators. Look at their summer 2017 project, Family Cookout, for example, in which they connected over 30 Massachusetts-based artists to promote the local music scene and bring to fruition various highly-anticipated collaborations. More recently, take a look at their last project – Code Name: Girls Next Door – in which they saw the talents in Gin Mason and CHI and decided to bring them together for an EP. As you can see, the SmashBroz are constantly connecting the dots, and today, they do so yet again with a new single entitled “Max Out”.

Joining together Caliph, Reem Skully, and Austin Fair all over a backbone of SuperSmashBroz and Humbeats production, this song is yet another example of why the brotherly DJ duo is so important for Massachusetts. In getting these 3 incredible rappers together, they bless us with a mesmerizing display of lyrical prowess and addictive rhythms. Each of these artists, one after another, establish a solid degree of chemistry with the others while also showcasing their own individual talents, and all in all, “Max Out” is just the right song to keep all of our vibes right as the summer winds down to its end.

In the words of the SmashBroz, this is “just a lil somethin’ to get your vibes right“, so make sure you give it a listen at the link provided below:

Augmented Reality Is Here To Take Over: An Interview With Fermatta Digital

By: Seamus Fay

Simply put, augmented reality, or AR, is a clear glimpse into what the future of marketing and visuals in the music world are on their way to becoming. This mind-bending technology has graced its way into our lives in ways that we may not even have realized so far, and even in the Massachusetts music scene, we experienced a taste of the AR world with the following animation of Caliph and Jefe Replay’s anthemic offering, “The Mood”.

With this rapidly-growing field of technology on the rise right now, we spoke to the good people over at Fermatta Digital about how the Caliph animation came together, the role of AR in the music world, and the future/potential of such impressive new ways of packaging music.

Read our conversation below.



What role will AR play in the music industry in the future?

Augmented Reality blurs the lines between physical and digital worlds, providing a transformative, new medium for creatives to express themselves. From a music industry standpoint, we at Fermatta see a tremendous opportunity for musicians and labels to harness the power of AR to create innovative experiences to between artist and fan. This can come in many forms such as immersive lenses to bring a music video or album “to life”, applications that enhance live shows, merchandise, album covers, show posters,  and experiences. AR can be a disruptive force in marketing and branding, especially as companies such as Snapchat lower the barrier to creation and deployment. One of the most exciting parts of this is that we are in early stages of AR and it’s up to creatives of where they want to take it.

An interesting hypothesis we have is that AR will strengthen the emotional bonds between fans and artists, which then turns into digital engagement and financial support. It’s well known in the music industry that live shows are still the best form of marketing – this is largely because of the undeniable emotional connection that fans develop with artists once they’ve seen them perform live. Being in the same room and seeing the artist as human beings turn fans into avid supporters and drives their online habits such as streams, sales, and engagement on social media. AR can play a similar role, but at scale – allowing the artist to be “with” fans anywhere, at any time. For example, placing an avatar of the artist in a fan’s environment to sing, dance, or talk, or creating a portal that allows fans to enter a new environment with the artist. The more time spent “together” between fan and artist, the stronger the bond.

Where has the impact of AR been seen in the music industry already?

AR is slowly emerging with early adopters within the music industry. In the context of Snap lenses, we recently launched an immersive portal on Snapchat for Powers Pleasant, Joey Bada$$ and A$AP Ferg to promote their latest single: “Pull Up”, bringing the JMP-directed video to life in AR (shout-out to JMP who is also from Boston). We have seen this spread very organically with fans on social uploading videos of them using and interacting with the portal wherever they are. You can check that out here.

We are also seeing new ARSnap face lenses to support new singles. Post Malone released one in support of his new album (here), LSD (Labrinth, Sia, Diplo) released one in support of their new single (here), and The Chainsmokers released avatar based lens (here). A$AP Rocky released an AR component in his mobile application “Yammy Vision” in promotion of his new album Testing (here). Finally, Eminem released an AR application that allows his fans to experience his live shows differently (here).

How did this collaboration with Caliph come together?

Caliph: Music has always been a means of communication beyond any language that can reach people with little to no limits and technology has a very similar reach in many ways. I being an immigrant, DACA recipient and an artist feel like it’s my responsibility to use these means of communication to bring people together, change the narrative and stigmas put on our communities and teach people to love themselves. The mood is an example of that for me. It has always been my goal with that song to improve and lighten the listener’s mood no matter what they are going through. In activism, it is important to know when to back down from constantly fighting to focus on helping those you are fighting for cope with their issues. Whether it’s a break from reality with an enigmatic and euphoric song or even an AR lens that takes you to the beach no matter where you are. In this case, the goal was to achieve both and it turned out to be really cool. It also allowed me, someone who can’t leave the country, to virtually travel beyond my legal means and that was very dope. I was just dancing in the Dominican Republic. & Dubai the other day. That’s amazing. I’m excited about the future and what we will bring to the table as we continue to push beyond limits with the advancements of technology and our music.

Fermatta: Augmented Reality is still a new, somewhat foreign concept for the mainstream consumer. We were really interested in working with an artist that was forward thinking and saw the potential implications of AR even if the infrastructure is not fully materialized. Also, on a basic level, we wanted to partner with someone who made dope, meaningful music, because, at the end of the day, all of this is somewhat meaningless if the music isn’t there. Caliph checked all the boxes with the added bonus of being from the Boston area. “The Mood” is super catchy, and the perfect summer song. Beyond just the music though we were inspired by Caliph’s involvement in the community and politically, empowering marginalized and immigrant communities. We really thought it was a natural fit, and we are inspired to help Caliph spread his mission far and wide, so stay tuned for some more projects in the intersection of technology, music, and activism.

What does the process of creating something like this look like?

For a Snap portal lens like this, our process is pretty straight-forward. It typically starts with an open-ended brainstorm session where we all get together and bounce around ideas; if the goal is to enhance a music video or song, there is typically more structure given there is an environment or scene to pull from creatively. From there we see what is technically feasible given constraints (such as Snap file size limit), and build iteratively. Throughout the process, we have active, open dialogue with the artist and their team in order to ensure that we are bringing their vision to life.


Embrace the future and connect with Fermatta Digital on:

Twitter

Instagram

[PREMIERE] Caliph – “Right Now” ft. Greedy P

By: Shamus Hill

Graduation Music is thrilled to present to you today Caliph’s latest offering, “Right Now” featuring Greedy P – the first single off of his forthcoming EP, Szn: The Saffron Edition, due out for release on April 24th. But before we can get into it, it’s only right that we warn you: this song will not only be stuck in your head for the rest of the day, but it will also be in HEAVY rotation for the weeks to come, so proceed with caution and get ready to be singing Caliph lyrics all day long.

At its core, “Right Now” is a standout performance from every name involved. For starters, Roca Beats comes through with ethereal yet heavy production, elegantly executed and wonderfully blended into the vocal deliveries. Amidst all of this, Caliph channels a similar energy to that of a few of his previous singles such as “Tropical Spalding” and “How Do You Know“, creating another brilliant record to add to the list and maintaining a high level of artistry within his respective parts. Just when you think the song can’t elevate any further, however, Greedy P comes through with the cherry on top and gives us quite the memorable guest spot, blessing “Right Now” with a final, emphatic touch.

After listening, you truly understand that New Bedford is making some big moves, and it goes without saying that the stocks are rising for every artist involved this year. That being said, Caliph stands at the forefront of all this with his aforementioned EP, Szn: The Saffron Edition, on the way, so we wanted to help relay the message and gives fans an idea as to what this EP will include.

In addition to Greedy P, the project is also set to feature the works of Jon Gin and RELLTHEWAVECAP. Described by Caliph, it works to tie two of main passions in life together:

“The concept of the tape was inspired by my love for making music and cooking. I’ve always said I would be a chef if I wasn’t an artist. The process of making a song and cooking are the same to me. The beat is your base, for example, your rice and peas or arroz con habichuela; the hook is your favorite side dish like some platanos; the verses are your proteins; and each word, flow, and melody is a spice… and the way we individually choose our spices creates a sauce… We all grew up with that Sazon in almost every meal we ate and it’s Spring season aka Liph season, so yeah…. I’m giving niggas sauce… #SZN!”

And “Right Now” is a perfect taste of the sauce that Caliph’s speaking of.

The New Bedford native has always done an exceptional job at being a voice for the often, overlooked population of Massachusetts, and that trend continues here. Taking a look at the Sazon-inspired cover art for Szn: The Saffron Edition, my inner-Puerto Rican shot through the roof. Caliph said it himself, he’s coming with the sauce this Spring, so get prepared and be ready for a standout project to kick things off on a high note for this rising star.

Listen to “Right Now” below:

The Top 50 New England Songs of 2017

By: Seamus Fay

Looking back, 2017 was a year of immense growth for New England and specifically Massachusetts’ budding music scene. We were fortunate enough to see the rise of many new talents as well as watch some of the more established artists prosper in their own ways, and frankly, it was inspiring to us to see the work that the artists, the producers, the photographers, the graphic designers, the mixers, the managers, etc. have been putting in. Without all of these people playing their respective roles, our scene wouldn’t be where it is today.

Having said that, we here at Graduation Music collaborated with Fresh Out The Mint to compile a list of the “Top 50 New England Songs of 2017” (in our humble opinion). Below is the playlist of all the tracks – enjoy!

Thank you sincerely to everyone for supporting us throughout 2017 and making our first full year as a blog a successful one. We greatly appreciate all the love and can’t wait to show you what we have in store for 2018.  

  • Young Seuss – “123”
  • Big Leano – “Broke” [Prod. Tee-WaTT]
  • Vintage Lee – “Bless You” [Prod. Jew Paidro]
  • Millyz – “Lessons” [Prod. Achillies]
  • VALLEY – “Atari” [Prod. Stoop Kid]
  • Caliph & Jefe Replay – “The Mood” [Prod. Obeatz]
  • MyCompiledThoughts – “Romeo and Juliet”
  • Cousin Stizz – “Lambo”
  • DJ Lucas – “Doubt”
  • Lonny X – “Believe It” [Prod. Gravez]
  • Juxi – “Leave Me Alone” [Prod. Banbwoi]
  • Jiggz – “Excuses” [Prod. digitLIX]
  • KREW$ – “Dog Days” [Prod. DMND]
  • RAMS – “Disease!” [Prod. Maka]
  • Rothstein – “Jaded” ft. Supa Bwe [Prod. Shepard]
  • Patrick Michel – “Perfect” [Prod. GrandCruu]
  • Alejandro Blanco – “Give It To Her” [Prod. TFresh & SSB]
  • Jefe Replay – “Stay Ugly” [Prod. Humbeats]
  • Mizzie Cash – “Maneuvering” [Prod. Rob $urreal]
  • Lord Felix – “Power” ft. Marvelous Stefan [Prod. LoLoTheGod]
  • Plad Fine$$e – “Cheese” [Prod. 4oTo Roles]
  • Maye Star – “Adjacent” ft. CH!LD [Prod. Sevnth]
  • WHYTRI – “XURWIFI (Remix) ft. Lily Rayne [Prod. Cecil]
  • Stripes iii – “Henny Down” [Prod. K.C.B.]
  • Khary – “1-800-IDGAF” [Prod. Cloud Atrium]
  • SuperSmashBroz – “Replay Interlude” ft. Jefe Replay [Prod. LDG]
  • Michael Christmas – “Not The Only One” ft. Tobi Lou [Prod. Durkin]
  • $ean Wire – “Moonlight” [Prod. Tropicana Bwoy]
  • Pistola – “Jokes On You” [Prod. Stoop Kid]
  • CAVE – “Who’s Next” [Prod. Maka]
  • Maka & Durkin – “Waterworld”
  • Gio Dee – “Buzz Lightyear” [Prod. MLVN]
  • Humbeats – “Monday” ft. Austin Fair & TeaMarrr
  • StupidGenius – “Palm Trees” ft. Capito [Prod. Lil Rich & Gruca]
  • Garrett Merk – “Simple” [Prod. Frace]
  • Danny Diamonds – “Can’t Talk”
  • Gogo – “Cocaina”
  • Polo $ummers – “$ad Boi” [Prod. WaVe GoD]
  • SuperSmashBroz – “Still” ft. Big Leano & Vintage Lee [Prod. Tee-WaTT]
  • Haasan Barclay – “Live For You”
  • CHE – “Thii”
  • Avenue – “Ain’t Shit Funny” (Remix) ft. Prano, Millyz, Le$, Al-Doe & Chase N Cashe
  • Donald Grunge – “Shade” [Prod. Maka]
  • Boogie Da God – “Get Well Soon” ft. Jefe Replay
  • Marvelous Stefan – “Double Tap!” ft. Saint Lyor [Prod. Trevor Powers]
  • Black EL – “Another Dose” [Prod. Durkin]
  • $wooli – “Rainy Days” ft. Rachel Aiello
  • Rosewood Bape – “Miss Me” [Prod. Kin Rich]
  • TeaMarrr – “The One” [Prod. Ky Thompson & Keith Bell]
  • Michael Christmas – “Top Turnbuckle” ft. OG Swaggerdick

Caliph – “Fake News Freestyle”

By: Seamus Fay

As a Muslim immigrant himself, New Bedford’s own Caliph has never shied away from speaking his mind politically, solidifying his status within the Massachusetts music scene as an essential figure in moving the ball forward within our current political and social state as a country. His open opinions and fearless lyrical showcases always make for inspiring and entertaining listens, and returning to our pages today with the RELLWTHEWAVECAP-produced “Fake News Freestyle”, Caliph has yet another statement to make.

This freestyle explores the life of Caliph as a main topic of discussion politically at the moment, showing fans exactly how his personal identity affects his life on a daily basis. Songs like these come at a great time in terms of understanding what our peers are going through, and with that being said, I highly recommend giving this track a listen. Creating conversation with the platforms we have as individuals is always important, so be sure to check out the “Fake News Freestyle” below.

 

An Interview With Caliph on Immigration & His Roots

By: Seamus Fay

When Caliph and I first talked about doing this interview, I immediately jumped on the idea of giving a platform to voice the perspective of an African immigrant, especially in a time of such confusion and conflict within communities and within the U.S. as a whole. For background, Caliph is a charismatic recording artist from New Bedford armed with incredible skills in lyricism, delivery, and especially hook-writing. I’ve been a big fan of the budding talent for some time now, and with success comes the importance of using his platform to promote understanding and positivity. That being said, I proudly present to you the following conversation I had with Caliph about immigration and his background.


Where are you originally from? And who were you at a young age amongst your peers? Where did you fit in?

I was born in West Africa, specifically Dakar, Senegal, but I’m also Guinean, Cape Verdean and Portuguese. Due to the lifestyle in Africa, we have to grow up fast enough to handle responsibilities, from buying cigarettes and scratch tickets for adults to walking distances like from Dorchester to Back Bay for water in response to water outages. Everyday adult errands are handed over to kids, which in turn makes us grow up faster. At the age of 5, I mentally had to be 15. That also came with things like throwing parties, playing soccer and going to school on my own. My peers and I were just regular kids from Sicap, and I being the youngest at 5, was doing things my 7, 8, 9-year-old friends were doing as 17, 18, 19-year-olds. I had to be a grown adult but still keep key elements of my childhood alive.

When did you move to the U.S. and why?

I moved to the U.S. in December 96. I was 7. My mother and I stopped in France for about 6 months and then came to the United States to join my father. He came here 4 years before I did when I was 3 to start a new life and make better opportunities happen for our family.

What was your opinion of the U.S. before you lived here? Were you excited to come to the country?

Yes! I was very excited, but more so to meet my father. I was a toddler when he left.

We would talk on the phone and he sent me everything I asked for but I didn’t know him so I was excited to meet him and build a relationship with him. As far as my opinion of America, it was the best place in the world but from a distance. It was like a promised land but I was oblivious as to what to expect, and just came here with my mother.

From a social standpoint, what was your transition like into the United States? How did others view you and did you find any difficulty in forming your spot in the U.S.?

It was really like a reset button. That teenage 5-year-old had to become a 7-year-old kid again and a big part of that was due to being an immigrant. We had to be careful. In my Dad’s eyes, I’m a 7-year-old in a new country with no knowledge of the language and culture, so he sheltered me at first and set guidelines to protect us. As far as my peers, they saw me as the new African kid in town but I quickly became a part of the neighborhood through sports. I fell in love with Basketball and back then if you were ballin at Monte’s Park you had to be nice. So I used that as my way to connect and communicate with the kids in the neighborhood. My only difficulties came from dealing with bullying. In Senegal, we were all friends looking out for each other. There were fights and disagreements but bullying and singling kids out was never our thing. I was also obviously the new immigrant to pick on so it was tough but it gave me character.

How do immigration and your personal background influence your music?

It is my music. I was always into music even back in Senegal. I was a huge fan of a rap group named Daara-J, that at the time was gaining a lot of recognition. Fun fact, my cousin was also a part of the biggest rap duo at the time called Positive Black Soul. So hip-hop was engraved in me since I was 3/4 years old. I didn’t really rap until high school because my focus was entirely geared towards my education. I won a scholarship to go to UMass Dartmouth in the 6th grade so my parents and I thought I was good until the time came to go to college. We got a call by the university to come in after I was accepted and everything and they told us I couldn’t attend the university due to my legal status. My parents did everything in their power to get me my papers but immigration was cracking down on things. And after 9/11 it was really hard for an immigrant to get an education in the U.S. That put us in a dark place as a family. All this hard work for what?? So I looked at my options… work under the table and accept life as such or work towards something bigger?

Hip Hop was always there. My parents thought it was just a fad but I joined a group, we dropped a tape in school and even performed at our prom. All that was fun but I started to feel different as all my friends were living normal American lives. I also noticed no one in hip-hop was speaking for me as an immigrant and what I was going through in life. So I decided to rap in hopes of getting signed and getting sponsored by a label to get my papers. But more importantly, I started rapping to be a voice for a community that by nature kept their lives under wraps… IMMIGRANTS.

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How have the ideas about not welcoming immigrants, specifically Muslim immigrants, impacted you personally along with your peers? What was your reaction to initially hearing such unaccepting ideas and threats?

Well, it hit me the hardest in middle school on 9/12. After the attacks on 9/11, I went back to school and no one spoke to me. It was as if I had become an enemy to my peers and even my teachers. None of my friends spoke to me and my teachers never called on me to answer any questions. They were all seeing me as the immigrant Muslim kid in their class who could be in contact/relations with terrorists. Although it didn’t last longer than a month, it was a telling experience. I learned that I was different and people can and will see me as such. I was hurt at first but once again, it gave me more character as I worked my way out of that. Then Bush came along…and now Trump… to the average human being this is a hot topic now but our lives have been like this all along. None of this is new. It’s just now at the forefront of American media.

What is your general opinion on the climate of immigration right now? Where does the U.S. lack in understanding?

In my opinion, the U.S. understands what’s going on, but the country isn’t focused on helping us. They are more focused on money. That being the case, they’ll always go with the best financial decisions. All this Donald Trump hooplah is really nothing but just that to me, hooplah… politics to me is a glorified reality show.. i.e.Trump. The decision makers are the ones with the money, the ones who own banks, the people behind closed doors. If there was a plan that involved legalizing immigrants which helped the country financially and didn’t threaten its position as a world power, we’d all be legalized by now. This country was founded on migration and the people that come here made it what it is. There is no such thing as an American. We are all immigrants on Native American land. Some of us just got here first and want to maintain control and power. Legalizing immigrants means millions of new people, voices, perspectives, and ideas. The powers that be can’t afford another group to come here and outsmart them in their industries. We are the new “pilgrims”, but this time the “natives” have the “diseased blankets” and they’re using them against new immigrants to stop them from prospering. They’ll hire us to do the work for their corporations to either stay home and make their products for dirt cheap or they use our knowledge here and brand it as theirs. Either way the system is set to maintain a level of control that would be threatened by a young generation of immigrants who can and will change the country. And they’ve already seen the potential of what we can do within the little time we’ve had with the DACA program.

Looking back on your transition into the United States, what would you have hoped for in terms of how you were accepted into society?

Nothing. It made me the man I am today. I would never be able to speak for myself and others the way I do. I would have just been another super-smart IT guy giving all my ideas to a corporation that takes 10 to give me back 1. I don’t want that. I want change. I want a system that allows us as a people to prosper beyond limits in this country and truly make it great again. Trust me, it was immigrants that made it great in the first place, and we are the only ones who can make it great again.


After speaking to Caliph, I found it very interesting to reflect on the way he feels about today’s landscape in terms of immigration and how it pertains to his life. My goal with this interview is simply to provide a perspective from someone living through these struggles that come with being an immigrant, and I hope for nothing but positivity and understanding in doing so. Thank you to Caliph and his team for the interview – best of luck moving forward.

Connect with Caliph on:

SoundCloud

Instagram

Twitter

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