It has been about two years since first meeting Clay James, who at the time was a hungry Atlanta artist not necessarily working for a label situation but more so focused on making music and engaging with fans. A route that takes longer but also means the most long term. You see artists performing 20 years later, it is because of that direct connection and Clay looks to add to that list of MCs with true longevity. Who better to learn from than Snoop Dogg? After all, his first album ever was released in 1993.
During our #SwaySXSW trip, had a chance to hook up with the Atlanta native and although he had to leave our broadcast a little early for show prep it was the right call because it landed him on Snoop’s radar. One thing is for sure, it never mattered if he was rocking in front of 10 people, 100 people or 1,000 his approach and energy remained the same. That practice paid dividends this week as he became the newest artist to spearhead Snoop Dogg’s label Doggy Style Records.
What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned on the road over these last two years going from indie to your brand new situation with Snoop?
In 2016, it’s more than just the music. There is so much music (sometimes bad) that gets put out and goes viral instantly but the thing that I’ve focused on being consistent with is the hustle! Hard work beats talent if talent doesn’t work hard. So I truly want to make dope music but also make sure my hustle matches, it’s non-stop. It’s been my key to success thus far and with the deal I plan to work even harder than before.
Why Snoop’s label?
They approached me after performing on the “Black Auerbach & Friends” stage during SXSW and we stayed in contact, just building a natural relationship with his artist Yung Zeke and his brother Young Hunnid. It eventually found its way to the head A&R over there Pocket Norwood, who played it for Snoop and the rest is history!
I’m working on an EP which will feature production from 30Roc of Ear Drummers, FKI and Big KRIT’s DJ Dibiase who will be making his production debut on my project. We are also putting together visuals for my songs “Long Way”, “Prince of the South” and “Kountry Sh*t.”
Carrying the motto “the South still has something to say” Clay James continues to share his story with the world as he celebrates with a new single featuring Southern Playas member Messiah Da Rapper entitled “S.P.S.” (Southern Playas Sh*t). Support via iTunes here.