Clay James. Interview with southern artist
There’s no stopping this versatile artist
Words by William Mydell
From the west-side of Savannah, Ga. to the busy streets of Atlanta this young hungry
recording artist is looking to kick in the door of hip hop with his southern swag and dapper appeal. We sit down with Clay James for a minute to see how life has been treating him.
7H: What’s good, what’s going on man?
CJ: What’s hap’n wit it.
7H: What do you go by?
CJ: Clay James.
7H: Clay James, okay. Appreciate you sitting down with us. Where you from Clay?
CJ: I’m from here. here being where the interview is being conducted, which is in the city of Savannah,Ga.
7H: You from here? See I always wondered that, what school did you go to?
7H: What year you graduated?
7H: leans back and smile Mannnnn….this man a Bulldog. I went to Beach as well. Clay…when did you get up and leave.
CJ: Uhhh…this what happened..I was born in Atlanta, then I moved to Savannah when I was about two. Stayed in Savannah until ‘bout the end of 2004. Then, January 2005 I moved to Atlanta…well actually, I moved to Potter Springs, which was a suburb of Atlanta. I went to go stay with my uncle and aunt and then I finished up high-school up there at Mceachin High School, and then after Mceachin, I went to Georgia State University, in downtown Atlanta. Ever since then, I done stayed on every side of town in Atlanta, the East, the West, South-side, all that.
7H: Your love for music came when you were in Savannah or in Atlanta?
CJ: Up there, I started rapping in 2010.
7H: How did you hook up with Trig?
CJ: My potna, Big Spade, he from out my hood, Cloverdale, I grew up on the Westside. He asked me if I would jump on one of his songs, so I was like “Yea”, I said “All you gotta do is setup the studio time, and I got you”. So what Spade did is bring me over here, because Spade and Trig potnas. So when I came over here to record the verse, thats when, I looked around I was like, well I do need a home studio whenever I’m in Savannah, and I was peeping his vibe, there were a few people trying to get me to come to their studio since I’ve been buzzing, but, it didn’t feel like a genuine situation. And bruh came to me real genuine and he seem authentic, so I just stayed over here. Now every-time I come home, this home for me.
7H: So what you go going on for yourself right now as far as music?
CJ: I’m working on putting together a couple of EP’s and an album with Snoop, I got a movie I’m about to be shooting with Snoop by his film company “Snoopadelic Films”, all my music is going to be put out under Doggystyle Records, that’s who I’m with. I got a phone call about a hour ago bout them bringing me on tour. So it would be Snoop, Method Man, Redman, Cypess Hill, and Wiz Khalifa going to be on a couple a dates. So I’m trying to see what dates I’m going to be on for that, so yea…I’m moving around like that.
7H: What do you notice when you’re out there dealing with A-List Celebrities and Artist, I know you don’t nut hug but when you’re around stars, anything you see that make you want to get to that level, or make your ambition peak even stronger?
CJ: It’s like, I aint really never been a nigga that was star struck, because I always felt like I was a star. I think that’s why they click with me so tough because, I dont be around these folk with my phone out, trying to catch footage, and…doing all that extra shit, speaking out of turn. I speak when I’m spoken to, I kick flav, and a lot of times…. I be fresher than these niggas. So they don’t know what to think anyway. They already looking at me as someone that they see eye to eye with, someone they got respect with. Especially when they hear the lyrics. I’m learning things from a different view point…if that makes sense.
7H: I think that’s how I wanted to word the question.
CJ: Me being around Snoop is different because I’ve been listening to Snoop since he came out, since I’ve been a kid. So if feels like I already know him. You dig. Just so happen lucky for me, he ended up being the nigga in the rhymes. A lot of these guys be frauds. So he ended up being, the same cat, you hear on wax. So when I came into the situation I really wasn’t star struck because it felt like I already knew unc. He everybody uncle, for real, you dig what I’m saying. So, when I started kicking it with him, I started getting a better understanding of what he really got going on in his head as far as like his plan for me and his other artist I grew an even more respect for him because I saw that he’s very business minded, that he’s compassionate, I see that he actually cares about the people around us, and the people that’s employeed by him. I also notice that, even with him having as much going on as is, and being like some black Elvis shit, the nigga mad humble. You feel me. So, being around him, and seeing how he handle his fans and his peers, it kinda made me soften up and be like, if Snoop can be this cool, you really gotta be even cooler. Because this man got the world in the palms of his hands but yet, he real smooth, he cool, and he treat everybody with respect rather you’re the janitor or the C.E.O. Dig what I’m saying. That’s how I move now, I treat everybody with respect.
7H: I know everyone has their own personal style, I personally dig the whole dapper style for the men, but what made you….or, did you use to dress like this in high-school? Or it’s just something you started doing when the maturity level kicked in as far as age
CJ: This what it is with me…from elementary all the way to me right now being a grown man I always was thee freshest. Like, that shit was uncontested, I never had like, “Aye, you fly, but such and such flying than you..” Naw, it was me. You dig what I’m saying. When you a kid, you the nigga that got all the J’s, all the Polo, all the shit that’s hot at the time…we were rocking Coogi & Guess, I had all that. That’s how I was going to the Coast Empire Fair. So, you take that, like with anything in life, you gonna level up, so, you take that phase of Clay James right, and then you go into the next phase. I moved into like, high fashion designer shit, like Gucci, Versace, I was a brand head know what I’m saying…, I was a hype beast. Then, my next phase was, ok, I don’t wanna be wearing everything everybody else wearing, but I wanna be fly as hell. That’s when I moved up to your uhhhh, You Know, your Ralph Lauren Purple Labels, your Brook Brothers, YSL, all that type of shit and I start, you know, you call it Dapper, you feel me, that’s when I transition into that. Like, I always had a fashion sense…Like them boys said, it’s levels to this shit. I’m just at the level now…you hit that 20+ age range it’s time to really start putting on, and if you a business man, you need to look like you bout your business. I feel like, this the best way to do it, and still stay southern, and still kinda stay hip hop, all in one, for me to kick flav, like this here.
7H: Alright Clay, Where can people look you up so they can listen to your music
CJ: You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, & Soundcloud it’s at WhoIsClayJames. My music is available on DatPiff.com, LiveMixtapes.com, Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, Google Play, every streaming platform, just type my name, Clay James, a bunch a shit will come up, because…I done put out a bunch of music.