Clyde Carson On Bay Area Influence, Rap Nostalgia and ‘Something To Speak About 2′
The Bay Area's contributions to hip-hop are extensive, but sometimes overlooked. Rap fans have seen some big names like E-40 and Too $hort come from Northern California, and the hyphy movement was well-publicized, but the Bay's influence on hip-hop has typically been undervalued.
Enter Clyde Carson. The Oakland native has been a significant voice in the Bay for over a decade now, and after working with luminaries such as DJ Mustard and Dr. Dre, he's released Something To Talk About 2 project to shine a light on the underdogs of the Bay. While he does feature veterans like E-40 and Keak Da Sneak, Carson is ready to show talent from the Bay that the world may have missed.
We got a chance to speak to Clyde recently, who discussed the differences between Something To Speak About and Something To Speak About 2, his forays into entrepreneurship, politics in rap, and the Bay routinely being slept on.
TheBoombox: Tell us some of the major differences between Something To Speak About and now Something To Speak About 2 that fans will notice.
The first difference is that the original Something To Speak About was produced entirely by Shonuff. For the second one, I decided to use various producers this time around. I was going for a couple of different sounds sonically. As far as the themes, I sticking to the topics that I usually talk about. I didn't stray too far away from what my fans would normally hear, but sonically there's just a little bit of a difference.
You have some veteran guests such as E-40 and Keak Da Sneak on here. Aside from them being close friends from the Bay Area, what made you choose them specifically for this?
They're reliable and great sources, on top of being great friends that I know. When I call them, I know they won't let me down lyrically. They've always kicked their feet on a record, and they've always shown love. So I think that's one of the main things. I would go out and get different features if the opportunity presented itself, but I think that I used the ones that I had on S.T.S.A. 2.
Not many people may know that you also dabble in business investments. What are you currently working on?
I have Big Momma's Kitchen right now, which is a soul food restaurant in Oakland on 50th International. It's been open for about a year. We of course have the beverage, Hyphy Juice, which were pushing in different parts of the world actually. I have a couple more projects that aren't finalized yet, that I won't speak on until they're up and running, but right now those two have a lot of my focus outside of music.
The Bay Area and Memphis are two regions in hip hop that are often overlooked. Why do you think that is?
I can tell you as far as the success of Juicy J, Yo Gotti, and the new success of Young Dolph, Memphis is proving that they have some bonafide stars coming up out of there. It always brings attention to any region. So I think that's what's going on for them right now, which is great for them. As far as the Bay Area, I have to give credit to the hyphy movement. I just remember specifically that no major artist, whether it was on 106 & Park, or any major outlets, we never really heard them say The Bay or Oakland. It was always about Los Angeles or just naming the West Coast. Growing up with me seeing that, it made me want to represent the Hyphy movement, and make sure that Oakland was on my heart. It wasn't just me. It was everyone involved in that movement, including the fans. Now you see hear Drake, Nicki Minaj, or even a Chris Brown name-dropping the Bay on tracks. I have to credit it all the way to the hyphy movement. It's a whole other culture that was never recognized, but it's always been around.
What role do you see hip-hop playing in today's political climate?
I believe that hip-hop has always brought people together. I'm black and grew up in America. In my experience, it didn't matter who the President was. It never mattered who the President was. All props to Barack Obama, but the ghetto looked the same. Crime is up, and police killing blacks is up. I can only see black people and people trying to get ahead, but I don't know. I'm not really seeing a difference. I see that Trump is going after Muslims, and different nationalities and cultures. If you're a black person, whether you're Christian, Muslim, or part of any other religion or culture, you're in a fucked up situation. We have people that make it and get out, but for the majority, our people are in a fucked up situation, and we've been in that place since slavery. I know Executive Orders are coming out, and different things are happening, but it doesn't seem like it's going to help black people any more. I'm still waiting to see some progress for black people.
There's been a lot of debate about artists and whether they have an obligation to speak on political and social issues. Do you think that artists should be required to use their platforms to teach their fans about issues?
For myself, I just use my platform to speak about my music, my projects, and my brand. Other than getting the word out about their projects, I don't really give a damn about what artists speak out about. I don't really care. It's cool to hear it. I'm here to see what you're going to do. Chance The Rapper just gave a million dollars to Chicago Public Schools. That's DOING something. I could give a fuck about what you're going to say. What are you going to do that's going to empower the community? Are you going to buy some property? As rappers, can we link up and buy apartment complexes? What are we going to do? I'm into that.
Over the years, you've worked with a ton of major producers, including Dr. Dre, and more recently, DJ Mustard. In terms of producer battles--who would you want to go head-to-head with some of your own music?
Well, Shonuff has definitely done most of the hits for me, and he's done so much in the culture in general. DJ Mustard always does his thing. That's a good question.
Who are some of the West Coast cats on the rise that you hope get that platform that they deserve?
A lot of Frisco cats is dope right now. Lil Yee is dope. He's from Filmore, and has a song called "Hopeless" that I have on repeat right now. I'm a little late on that record, but it's still on that repeat. When I heard him, I thought that he was making some music that wasn't just local-sounding. It sounds like it could be played everywhere. I just heard a new Kamaiyah record that was dope.
How do you feel about nostalgia? Is it important to keep certain eras alive?
The Internet has made everything so close, and I think it's an "anything goes" time right now. There's just so much information. You can always bring anything back, and there's always a pocket that people will connect with. Whether it's me creating new music that sounds like it's from the hyphy era, but with a new twist to it, or if it's something completely different, it's really anything goes. I'm hearing Bruno Mars revisit funk. Kendrick Lamar's album had a lot of funk on it. I'm a fan of nostalgia.
What do you have coming up in the next year?
So this year, we're going strong with the music doing some videos, pushing whatever markets will accept them. I'm just going to try different markets, and continue to work with different producers and musicians that are out there. I just love quality, good music, and I want to give that to my fans as fast as I possibly can.