It started off as messing around with a Mac computer, but has since grown into a tangible dream.
“That’s the reason I rap. I want to prove to myself that I can do it,” Calvin Michael says.
Michael (senior-supply chain management) started rapping with his friends during the summer of 2008 before coming to Penn State. He said it was nothing spectacular, or off the wall, and was actually “really, really bad.” It was something he did to let off some steam, but Michael didn’t start rapping seriously until his sophomore year.
Michael said early on, people would tell him that he needs to get into a studio and record, so he did.
“That motivated me to keep doing it,” Michael said. “If people told me I was terrible I wouldn’t have gotten to this point.”
Michael said he currently has over 45,000 views on YouTube and will be dropping his fist album on Nov. 1, titled “Welcome to the Clinic.”
Michael said he tried to get a lot of different State College rappers on the album so that he could give them a chance to be heard, but “Welcome to the Clinic” is primarily Michael’s mash-ups.
“The album isn’t just about me, it’s about State College in general,” Michael said. “That’s why I got so many artists from around here [in on the album].”
The name of the album derives from his rap name, The Clinic. Michael said he got the nickname in 7th grade when street ball was popularized and he and his friends would frequently watch ESPN’s “And1 Mixtape Tour.”
Michael said the players from the show all had street ball names, so his group of friends created their own names.
“Mine was The Clinic,” Michael said. “People started calling me that and it just stuck with me, so it just felt natural to make that my [rap] name.”
While rapping, Michael said he hones in on the energy of his favorite rappers, like Machine Gun Kelly. Michael also compares his style of rap to that of Drake and Lil’ Wayne, calling it “punch line-based rap.”
He said his writing process starts with him playing a beat and then recording himself freestyling over it. From there, he listens to the flow he used while freestyling, then goes back and changes the words.
Marc Frigo, owner of Frigo Recording in Boalsburg, said he has been working with Michael for about a year and considers him a regular client. Frigo said that Michael gives him the freedom to change certain aspects of Michael’s rap, but “often times he knows what he wants.”
“Usually it’s kind of me mixing [his beats] together and helping him with vocals,” Frigo said. “Most of the time he knows what he’s done right and wrong, but he’s always open to my input.”
To promote the album, Michael said those who like and follow his Facebook page and Twitter account –– The Clinic and @ItsTheClinic –– by Nov. 1 have a chance to win $20. He will randomly choose five people from Twitter and five people from Facebook who will receive the prize.
Mike Farley has known Michael for about two years and has also taken on the role of Michael’s manager. Farley (senior-information sciences and technology) has been helping Michael promote the album and is hoping to book shows for The Clinic in the future.
The album will be available for free at www.datpiff.com and Michael said there will also be a sound click application so fans of his Facebook page can download all of the songs right from the site.
Farley said that he has had a good time collaborating with Michael and it has been a privilege to work with someone who cares so much about his music. Farley said if Michael puts in the effort, he has the ability to get where he wants to be.
“The Clinic will be a household name in five years,” Farley said.