Roland Henderson-St. Paul
R: Tell Me About Yourself. How did you become CLAY JAMES?
CJ: I was born in the city of Atlanta and raised in Savannah, GA. I attended Georgia State University where I started rapping. Eventually I started getting booked at college shows such as Georgia Tech, UGA and all the Atlanta area based schools started to pay attention.The track landed in the hands of the folks behind Atlanta hip-hop station HOT 107.9’s show Battleground with J Nicks from the “Durty Boyz”. I won battlegrounds week after week to the point they had to retire it off the air. I began to realize that a career as a professional musician could be worth the dedication and time and from there, it took off, with touring and playing noteworthy festivals throughout the country.
R: How did you get up with Snoop Dogg?
CJ: My hard work paid off at South by Southwest. A packed schedule had me performing at numerous showcases throughout the week. I did this show called ‘Black Auerbach and Friends,’”.Basically, I performed, and affiliates of Snoop Dogg came up on the side of the stage and told me they liked my sound, came to the rest of my shows and we ended up kickin’ it for the rest of the week.
R: Who influenced your sense of style ?
CJ: I can take this back all the way to my college days. I used to go up to the shoe store by Georgia State and get all the gear, all the clothes I used to stay fresh. I had a dope story to tell, a dope look and a lot of girls liked me and because I crossed Kappa Alpha Psi, ( Killer Kappa Theta). I wanted to be looked at differently from my peers. I looked at Louis Vuitton Don ( Old KanYe), Fonzworth Bentley, Andre 3000, etc. I wanted to give off the elegance of the Great Gasby.
R: What motivated you to become who you are today ?
CJ : Ultimately, I got bored with school. I was considering dropping out and I almost joined the air force but my frat brothers convinced me to stay in school. They told me I had a great story to tell and girls liked me so why not. By the end of the week, I was in the studio and I made my first mixtape The College Dropout : CJ The Fly Guy
R: How Did the Southern Playaz become one ?
CJ :. I always knew of “Sweet Tooth”. I respected his pimpin’. We saw each other doing our thing at our respective schools and that’s how we knew about each other. We actually met at the studio. As I was leaving, he was coming in. So once we got in the studio we just clicked.
R: How do you plan to use your platform to impact what’s going on in the community ?
CJ: I want to be a emblem of masculinity and real playa boss shit. I’m not too fond of the skinny jeans and purses. That makes the black man look soft.
R: Does your fashion fuel your music ?
CJ: The fashion most definitely fuels the music for me. When I walk in the room I know I’m different. I like to be thought of as a Classic Man.
R: Where does your taste in music come from?
CJ: Growing up my mother worked at the radio station. His mother listened to the likes of Marvin Gaye as she cleaned the house as a youngin’. In 2010, everything came out of me. I listen to all the greats, Hov, Pac, UGK, Outkast, Boosie, etc. The Geechie stuff is just where I’m from. I like that too.
R: Who do you look to inspire in your everyday walk of life ?
CJ: People who are comfortable in their own skin.
R: What does black excellence mean to you ?
To be a good example in the community. To keep kickin’ flavor in style even if we don’t get credit for it. Move forward as a unified front, Black Magic.