We wrote The Message the night before Caleb’s funeral. We stayed up working together into the night because wanted to express how much he has inspired all of us to be the best we can be, what he meant to L.T.O. musically, and how much we loved him as a best friend and brother.
Stories of Caleb
David Robert Lee (a.k.a. DLEE)
“The day I met Caleb we were in Chicago back in 7th grade and I wasn’t even supposed to attend the trip. After one of Caleb’s roommates on the trip was suspended from school I was placed in his room at random. I remember first shaking his hand, and feeling like I’ve known him my entire life. I remember saying some funny, weird stuff that other people would have judged me for, but me and Caleb just geeked. We would stay up every night on the trip and laugh and share stories about our young lives. Ever since that trip, me and Caleb had the kind of relationship where you could not see each other for months at a time and as soon as you saw them it was like we never disconnected.
This was the case when my homie had to go to Dunbar for a few years in high school and I was at Lafayette. Senior year came around and I found myself right back with that same clean, freshly dressed, gold chain rocking, fly young dude. During senior year I started having people over at my mom’s house on Nakomi Drive. This started to become a nightly thing but at first it was only Sherb, Nizzy, Buckman, Vonny, Matt Day, and whoever else decided to show up. In class Caleb and I started discussing how we needed to start chilling more like we did in the past. I mentioned how I would have get togethers at my house where we would rap and kick some dope vibes. That same night I invited him over to chill with the squad and I. He came through with a buddy of his and we all instantly clicked and this was the beginning of a bond that still will never be broken to this day, LTO.
We came up with the name Lex Town Operation, on one of those classic nights on “Nakomi” which eventually became the name of the hang out spot. I started throwing parties every weekend that he would attend and we always had a good time. We would stay up until 5:30 every morning to make trips to McDonalds for their chicken biscuits, that genius idea was Caleb’s. I remember when we first started chilling at Nakomi he told me that he wanted to start hanging out with us more because his best friend was going to the military and he needed people to be with. He loved the energy, whether it was hip hop or times when we were just chilling with good music playing. The night of my first official performance at Al’s Bar, Caleb came and brought several friends out to support me. After the show we all went back to Nakomi where he would give me endless, positive feedback about my performance and how he felt truly inspired.
From that time on Caleb never missed any of my concerts. For real he was at every one, up front hyping me up and getting me in my zone. Never have I met someone more supportive of what I do and love. As the time progressed, we all graduated high school together and continued to have our shenanigans at Nakomi until I decided to move out with some buddies of mine. Shortly after, he was there for me when I lost my father to a heart attack. Whenever I was feeling down he would always bring me up with a funny rap or a groovy, goofy dance move he concocted. He was there when I finally created the home studio me and my mom had been working on for a couple of years. He helped me put it together and even contributed with loud speakers and a receiver box to connect the speakers with the lap top and the microphone. He did all the wiring for the studio and often times in the beginning I felt like I couldn’t record or make the music sound right without Caleb being there in the room with me. He knew all about that stuff and how to work the software we were using. He soon took the role of LTO’s official music producer. Before I walked into the booth, every time he would hype me up saying things like “Kill that shit Lee.” And when I came out of the booth, he would complement me on how good he thought the verse was. Whenever he would see me slacking on my grind, for example, if I would spend days at a time playing a new video game and not making progress towards the dream, he would tell me to get right back to it and keep me on track.
By far, he had the most ambition out of anyone in LTO. He knew in his heart that LTO is destined to do amazing things in this world and he never stopped believing that. He was passionate enough to even drop out of the military just to be my partner in crime and take over the world together. He always told me things like, “We’re gonna be famous Lee” and “One day we’ll be on top” He was so happy with his decision to follow his music producing dream, he would always talk about how people would look down on him for his decision but in the end they would be looking up to him for chasing what he loved. He thought he was so cool for that and he was. I have so much respect for him it’s ridiculous.
He always told me that I was one of his biggest inspirations…but I’ve never been more inspired by any other human being on this planet. The way he carried himself and how every outfit he wore he knew he was killing the fashion game. The way he never showed a lack of confidence in any situation and how he had so many relationships with people that he loyally kept up with. I wish that I could show every single friend of mine equal attention, just like he always did, It’s such a hard thing to do and to this day it puzzles my mind how he could be such a real person with real ambition and real aspirations. There isn’t another Caleb Hallet that could walk this earth with the same amount of loyalty, dexterity, and humbleness.
His favorite spot was in the chair sitting in front of laptop producing. He would stay over some nights and I would fall asleep but he would stay up cooking through the morning and he always had some dope music to show me when I woke up. He was the missing link that we always needed. A week or two before his passing he told me, “Lee, remember how I told you that I wanted to become a part of your friend group? Well, look at us now man. Thank you for everything.” And I told him not to thank me and it wouldn’t be the same without him…and its not – at all.
I’m so happy that Caleb and I became the close friends that we did over the course of us knowing each other. I remember us both talking about how similar we were and even when I introduced him to my mom I called him “the ginger version of me” and we got a good laugh. We always knew that we had what it takes to make greatness, so that’s what we set off to do. Caleb would have changed the world for the better if his life wasn’t taken so early, I’m so confident of this because I know the genuine, kindness he held in his heart for those around him. He touched every person he was around in such a positive way, I don’t think anybody ever had anything bad to say about him. If he knew someone was drunk and couldn’t drive, he didn’t care if your house was next to the castle on Versailles road, he would drive you home and insure you were safe and could see the next day of life.
Another amazing thing about Caleb was that he was always seeing the bigger picture and thinking ahead of the game. He was the only LTO member suggesting that we promote merchandise and do other things, like create a website that people could listen to our music on and create a logo for the team. He had all kinds of ideas and drawings that he shared with us. I’ll never forget the night when Caleb was over and David Dabney came through and spit some fire on the track. Once he was finished, him, Caleb, Matthew Reynolds, and I drove all the way out to Steak and Shake to enjoy a nice meal at 3 am in the morning. When we left Steak and Shake, we were taking Dabney home and playing instrumentals and straight vibing, rapping about anything and everything. Everyone was feeding off of each other’s energy so we all felt connected through hip hop.
Caleb understood the essence of hip hop better than most MC’s that I’ve met. For example, I remember how excited he was to tell me about a hip hop show he had been to, I can’t tell you the exact words that were said but he made an Instagram post that same day that said the following, “The energy last night from the 20th anniversary of the purple tape in Louisville was amazing. Nothing in life compares to the energy of people who truly appreciate and respect the creativity that the hip hop culture holds, to see two hip hop legends do as they did back in 1995 to set what the hip hop world is today was truly inspiring.”
The last thing I want to say about my good friend is that his soul is beautiful and I still feel his energy and presence with me while I’m doing what I love to do most, He’s gonna be with all of us as we rise to the top. There will be great things done to this earth and it will all be in his name. R.I.P. to the realest man I’ve ever been lucky enough to meet and we’re gonna kick incredibly dope vibes when I see him next.”
Nathan Neal (a.k.a Nizzy Neal)
“The night Caleb passed away, we were at Josh’s house and Josh asked if we wanted any pizza. Caleb gave me the first slice and heated it up for me. And even though I have many memories with Caleb his loss showed me that the littlest moments in life can make the biggest impact on an individual. After that we were outside on Josh’s back porch and then Josh was playing some kind of 70’s disco music and we all started doing scenarios of how guys acted, danced, and tried to talk to girls back in the 70’s. I remember looking at Caleb and we both started to do this dance we made up on New Year’s and we started to geek. We have so many memories but this one stood out to me the most because it was the night he passed away and I am thankful that I went with him to Josh’s house so I can keep this memory forever.”
“Every time I would show him a little verse I made he would tell me to keep working, to do what I love, and stay on the grind. He motivated me and always gave me positive advice. He made me half of who I am today and I can’t thank him enough for that.”
Keegan Gassett (a.k.a. KG)
“So when I first met Caleb, it was at University in DLee’s room, and he was sitting in the producers chair, playing GTAV and there was an instrumental in the background and he started to really feel it and then he started flowing real heavy and I remember he looked at me and was like “Yo, what’s up bro?” and I was like “Nothing much” and I just remember he flashed THAT SMILE that smile that everyone knows, and I will never forget that smile.”
“Losing Caleb was the first time I’ve lost anyone close to me. I remember waking up to the sound of my phone ringing, and it was a call from my best friend Thomas and he said, “Yo Keegan, Caleb died”, and I immediately thought there was no way he was talking about Caleb Hallett. So I asked him which Caleb, and when he said Hallett I told him I told him he was lying. I cried for an hour thinking about how none of us would ever be able to see that inspirational white smile ever again. The most valuable lesson I learned from Caleb was to always be myself and take life on to the fullest with a smile on my face. He was the most amazing free spirited young man the world has ever seen and I will continue to live for Leb, until the entire world knows his name.”