Calliko is a small town kid with big city dreams. A hometown hero best describes my motives and mission to succeed with music. I am the voice of every artist from a smaller area where taking your music career to the next level isn't the norm and failure is accepted. I came to defy the odds.
You've been associated with Twista for a while. How does it feel to be compared to him?
Being compared to Twista is an amazing feeling. Ever since he gave me the name Calliko, I always felt like my major breakthrough was going to be influenced by him somehow, someway. 10 years later, that gut feeling has turned into a reality and I am appreciative for everything I learned from him and his camp.
The mid-West has produced many great rappers.
How has this influenced you?
Me being from the mid-West has influenced my entire upbringing and has made a major impact on the development of my style. I grew up listening to 2Pac and idolizing the pictures he painted of a society I was accustomed to. I also had a cult-like following for Twista and Do or Die growin up because they were from Illinois like myself and I could relate to everything they spoke of because I'd seen it on a daily basis. Bring all those major artists together and you get Calliko.
Tell us about your mixtape 'The Departure'.
The Departure mixtape was initially supposed to be my take-off mixtape that was going to push me over the top and welcome me to the mainstream. Some bad business decisions were made and the demand of the record forced our company to put the record out early. Due to the improper planning we pulled the record and now are coming out with "The Layover". The meaning behind the title is, when your departure becomes delayed at the airport gives you a new ETA (estimated time of arrival) and in between that ETA you have 'The Layover'. I feel like that is where I am with this new project.
Calliko - Whip It Around (feat. Wiz Khalifa) by nochasermusic
'Whip It Around' looks set to be a breakthrough track for you - would you say there's more pressure on you now?
I most definitely think there is more pressure on me now. But I perform better under pressure! I used to play a lot of sports and I am used to watching the clock. I feel like God has a plan for me and nothing can interrupt God's plan for any of us. So I will follow the path He chose for me and give 110% throughout it all.
Are you worried that hip hop fans may just see you as "another Wiz Khalifa"?
Not at all! I think the fans are excited to hear an unknown kid on a track with Wiz Khalifa holding his own. Most of the feedback I got from the record was how I owned the track in my own way. Wiz and I have two completely different styles and lanes. When we come together it's magic. But this magician has A LOT more tricks up his sleeve! Ha ha!
You're working hard, collaborating with different artists in the US. Do you see yourself coming over to England in the future?
To be honest, its always been a dream of mine to perform, work, and collaborate with artists in the UK and overseas in general. I am looking forward to booking events, shows, and release parties in that region soon.
Thanks Calliko and we look forward to hearing loads more from you soon!
Be on the look out for Calliko's upcoming mixtape 'The Layover' out soon!
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Stace is a London-based freelance journalist/blogger with a love for all things musical, fashionable and artistic. (WATCH OUT FOR MORE FEATURES!) http://twitter.com/HIPHOPMANNEQUIN