Cal Scruby’s "Unsigned" Is A Captivating Introduction
Cal Scruby name is beginning to buzz, a flashback to the days in which “Unsigned Hype” carried special significance. Since departing his hometown of Ohio in favor of Los Angeles’ eternal artistic haven, Scruby has been honing each attribute of his skillset. His Jack-Of-All-Trades nature is evident across the fifteen track runtime of his recent album Unsigned, on which he wrote, recorded, mixed, and rapped over each of Corbett Music’s heated instrumentals. The manifestation of lessons learned along the way, from self-professed failures to collaborations with both Redman and Chris Brown, Unsigned may very well serve as the ideal introduction to one of the game’s emerging lyricists.
Opening track “Shut Up,” which doubles as one of the album’s main singles, immediately lays the groundwork of Scruby’s modus operandi. Over a hazy yet lively, jazz-infused instrumental, he playfully takes aim at hypebeasts while establishing an unwillingness to bend to the expectations of others. “No matter what you want to hear from me, there’s someone else out there who doesn’t want to hear that shit from me,” he states, in an introductory statement. “Instead, I’m going to make what I want to make. If you want to listen to somebody else - go listen to somebody else.”
Scruby’s laissez-faire demeanor and penchant for referencing bars and sharp wit make for an enjoyable, and refreshingly listenable experience throughout. For the most part, the production remains well-suited to his strengths, blending a slight underground aesthetic with contemporary hallmarks of the trap production landscape. Off-kilter woodwinds at one end, creeping chimes on the other; no matter where the music goes, Scruby remains grounded, never raising his voice beyond a shout. Yet that's not to say his combative spirit has been dulled by any means; he still makes time for his old foe Logic, calling him out with a few scathing lines: "You throwing money at your wife like a student aid, they were lying when they said that you were doing great / We can take 10 verses and shoot it straight - your best 10, my worst 10 - you 2 and 8."
As the project progresses, Scruby allows himself room for further mischief, with songs like “Really Trash Hook” highlighting a sharp mind for wordplay and imagery. “On the fence between reality and mild dementia,” he raps. “See I’m a superhero, I got many henchmen.” Reflections on hedonism, atheism, insecurity, inspiration, and most importantly, bars, can be found throughout Unsigned. If you’re looking a rising talent to discover - approved by both Chris Breezy and the legendary Funk Doctor at that - perhaps Cal Scruby is the answer you seek.