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Under The Influence: What It Takes to Defy Conformity With Rapper Caleon Fox

Caleon Fox is an Oakland-raised, Los Angeles-based rapper putting his defiant spin on the hip-hop genre. His music ranges from electro-pulsating beats to smooth-R&B tones, going beyond conformity and adding a bit of humor. Anyone listening to his EP “If Only You Knew” is reminded to enjoy the moment and be their ultimate selves. He is a seasoned artist and songwriter, inspired by the likes of Tyler, The Creator to continuously craft music his way. What unmistakably shines through every one of Caleon Fox’s tracks is the passion for living his truth and inspiring others to do the same. He is an artist through and through, dedicated to originality, artistry, and self-acceptance. His mottos of “no swag” and “live healthy” are reminders for young people to love themselves and rise above social pressures and limitations.

A creative on multiple levels, Caleon Fox is a sensation over the internet, sharing his dynamic style in both his sound and visuals. He often edits and directs his own music videos, such as his single “Max Mode”. His single “Bubbly” is a constant feature in Steereo’s “In Transit” playlist on Spotify. Now he joins us for an exclusive Under The Influence interview, exploring his unique style, the artists who inspire him, and his honest message.

Listen to “If Only You Knew” & Read The Interview with Caleon Fox Below

What was your first introduction to music? Can you describe the moment?

I was always surrounded by music as I was growing up. My mom always played her smooth Hip-hop and R & B jams, while my pops played nothing but Rap and dancehall. I guess you can say I’ve always loved music but my interest in making music didn’t peak until I started spending more time with my Uncle Milton. My brother, cousin, and I spent a few days in Seattle when I was around 12 years old. I can’t really remember the exact age but we were visiting him out there. While we were out there, my uncle was working as a producer and making some DJ sets. Watching him spend so much time working inspired the hell out of me. It was really dope and I’ve always been a curious person and it’s safe to say that was my first official introduction to music.

 

You’ve been writing and rapping for 10 years, what’s the journey been like so far? Has your style changed over time?

The journey has been life-changing. I’ve always known that I wanted to go big in the creative field. The thought of “that day will come someday” has always been in the back of my head. I’m not saying that I’m there yet. I don’t think I’m anywhere close to it, but I’m definitely making progress every day. It’s crazy exciting to see my evolution of an artist really begin to pay off. I don’t really think my style changed too drastically. My second EP is actually inspired by an old mixtape “Double 07.” Then again, the topic certainly fluctuates. It all depends on what I’m going through in my present life.

 

You embrace individuality and artistry in your career over conformity. What set you on this path to being authentic in your music?

I’ve always been the type of person who wanted to help others, so I set this path to be an example to others. I’ve been judged for who I am all of my life. Whether it was so-called friends, friends of friends, random people or even family. It sucked. However, it was weird because I always wondered why I had trouble being accepted by others, but accepting myself never felt wrong. As a young teen coming up it was really odd because I felt like I was still trying to figure out who I was and what my purpose in life was. It was a very challenging and interesting journey but once I came to terms with fully accepting who I am, things became clear. It’s so easy to lose yourself based off of others judgment, especially as a young teen or adult. If you stick by your beliefs, commit to them, and know yourself then nobody can stop you.

 

Which rappers or musicians inspire you as an artist? Can you share how they’ve impacted you and/or your music?

Tyler the Creator, Donald Glover, Nujabes, The Dream, T-Pain, Toro y Moi are all artists I’ve listened to heavily growing up. All of them have impacted my music in their own way. Out of all of them, Tyler has the biggest impact. His impact went way beyond just sound though. Tyler represented the outcasts that needed guidance in how to love yourself. Yes, his approach was aggressive and people hated him for it but it was authentic, and true to him. You can’t help but respect that.

 

Hip-Hop is growing and changing. Where do you think the genre is headed and where do you see your music within the genre?

To be honest, it’s hard to say where the sound will transition to, but I don’t think the mumble rap will be around for long. As for my music, I don’t think I’ll ever stick to one specific sound. Like I started off with the humorous tracks like “No Swag No Swag” and “The Durag Song.” Then, I came out with my EP “If Only You Knew” and that had a mixture of hip-hop and pop. Following that project will be my next untitled EP, which will be on the complete opposite side of the spectrum in comparison to “If Only You Knew”. All I know is, regardless I’m here to stay. That’s a fact.

A striking aspect of your style is the influence of anime in your work. Can you share how important it’s been to you?

I relate to all of the challenges that the characters in the various shows go through. I’ve learned a lot from it and it’s also gotten me through a lot of the tough experiences I’ve gone through in my life.

 

You recently released a music video for your song “Max Mode”. What was it like going from song production to creating a music video?

Producing the song was extremely fun. The process flowed. It really helps when the artist and producer get along. Now the music visual was a bit more challenging to create. Creating the concept with the director (Tragik) was easy though. It was my first time meeting and working with her, but that was smooth. Filming started off a little rough but that ended up working out. The editing was ROUGH! I decided to use Adobe Premiere for the first time and it was just ugh, a lot. A tip to anyone doing video editing, DO NOT EDIT 4K FOOTAGE ON A 2.8 GHZ INTEL CORE 17 PROCESSOR! I go really in depth with my edits so that’s why it was tough but overall we got it done and it came out amazing so I’m grateful.

 

What do you hope listeners take away from listening and watching “Max Mode”?

“Max Mode” is a warning to those who are unaware of what’s to come. I feel like people are still curious about who Caleon Fox is and what I have up my sleeve. All I can say is mannnnnn, if only you knew. Just stick around and be patient. I promise you will be in for a ride.

 

Were there any intentional lyrics featured in the song? If so, what is the meaning behind them?

I threw in a lot of playful references like the Pootie Tang reference in the second verse. For those who don’t know, Pootie Tang is an old film that was made in 2001. If you watch the trailer and listen to what I’m saying it’ll make more sense. Another fun one is the reference to me blowing up from the “NOW I’M MAD” and “what are we” skits I made a year or so ago. There’s a lot of cute little metaphors within the song. You just have to listen out for them.

 

Watch the Music Video for “Max Mode” by Caleon Fox Below

 

Are you working on any new projects? Do you have any upcoming performances?

We’re actually in the process of wrapping up the second EP. I might have a name for it already, but the Title is TBD. As for upcoming shows, that is TBD as well.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Self-Love bro, self-care bro. Love yourself.

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Kai McDaniel is a Los Angeles-based writer, lover of entertainment, art, and film.