Written by: Henry Siu
By day, he is senior Calvin Membreno. By night, he is still Calvin Membreno. But when the microphone turns on and the senior starts to rap, he becomes Coach Cal. Membreno, who performs under the alias Coach Cal (previously Killi Cal), began rapping seriously in the summer before ninth grade. “It was my only outlet at the time to express how I felt being on punishment for the whole summer,” he said. While grounded over the summer, he had time to build a foundation for his talent. Rapping has allowed him to positively express his thoughts. Membreno enjoys rapping because of the “sense of accomplishment you get as you create a new song or a hip catch phrase.”
Membreno’s previous stage name dates back to his childhood. “When I was a kid my parents use to call me ‘Killi Cal from California’ as a silly nickname and I guess it just stuck with me,” he said. Membrano’s current stage name originates from his friends who view him as a unique, alert teenage rapper. “I feel like I must lead by an example and always stay a couple steps ahead to live up to my nickname: Coach Cal,” Membreno said. “It means a lot to me.
Membreno’s many influences include rapper Tupac Shakur, R&B singer-songwriter Rick James, football coach Vince Lombardi, civil rights activist Malcolm X, and former president George Washington. “These people inspired me because they all contributed something positive to America at some point, and that gives me the motivation to do anything I want,” Membreno said.
Membreno has worked hard to develop his own distinct sound and style. “I feel that I am different from every rapper in the world because I am balanced at illustrating a honest relatable lifestyle, yet at the same time I keep people interested with my innovative lyrics and punctual rhythm,” he said.
Membreno believes that today’s artists produce either one of two songs: the “trendy and imitation type of songs” or the “unique songs that display lyrical ability which tends to convey any type of message.”
Membreno feels that his biggest accomplishment is seeing his audience enjoy themselves. Membreno plans to continue to make music for his friends no matter what his future holds. Membreno, whose records include “Killi Cal Livin,” “No Days off,” and “The Free Tape,” has two upcoming projects; “The Goon Tape” and “Go’er Gone Wild.”