The 24-year-old rapper and producer Allegheny Cal, repping both Pittsburgh and TH3 FOUNDATiON INC. Collective, knows a thing or two about the reality of living in an environment that’s less than conducive to success. Coming up in the rough Arlington Heights area, he has spent countless hours studying the culture and honing his craft to the point he’s at currently. “Making beats and writing rhymes was my escape,” he tells AAHH. “ I knew being a rapper was what I wanted to do most. My music is full of soul—and it’s honest.
“Getting my messages out and staying true to myself is what is important to me,” he explains, “my passion for music drives me to continue being innovative, and to stand out from my peers.”
This is something he exemplifies on his new—and first—project, Wolves In Sheep’s Clothing. Across the 10-song LP, 40% of which is self-produced, he traverses a lot of ground, with a unique flow that sits slightly off-kilter, while remaining intricate and on-point.
His wordplay takes front street from the jump on the Epik The Dawn produced “6 AM” with its sprawling flute sample and the incredibly open book “Memories” with it’s soulful instrumental. On the latter, he recounts overcoming the hardships of his upbringing in Arlington Heights.
Singer Breana Marin makes two appearances on the LP, on the bassy “Focus” and on “Shadows,” which is easily one of the strongest moments in the project. Produced by Dreamlife Beats, Allegheny finds a comfortable pocket and really hits his stride.
A few points do falter slightly; the crucial off singing on On & On and “I Like That/I Don’t Like” is a little off-putting, especially on the latter, which otherwise actually has a pretty cool overall concept with a new beat switch up.
On a whole, Wolves In Sheep’s Clothing delivers on Allegheny’s mantra of innovative, unique Hip Hop, with a few pleasant surprises.