Atlanta-based rapper Clayt presents the Brandon Huntley-directed music video for “Yo-Yo”, produced by Andre Palace. Hailing from Newport News, Virginia, Clayt debuted “Yo-Yo” by performing it for a live stream on AdultSwim.com. Clayt has collaborated with Treez Lowkey (stream “Different Shadez”) and Masego (stream “Third Eye”). “Now more than ever I feel like everybody should be aspiring to be their own boss, to be in control of their own fate,” Clayt says about his new single. “When I was creating this song I just started to build off that energy and it came out to be this dope, different expression. When I say ‘pulling the strings’, I don’t necessarily mean just being able to make things happen, but also just being in control of my health, my mind, my emotions, my future, my finances etc. That’s how I’m feeling as a person right now, that I have more control than ever. With ‘Yo-Yo’, Palace really just gave me the canvas to reinforce and celebrate that idea. It was really dope being able to debut the song on Adult Swim’s website, at TBS Studios. It’s just surreal to have the opportunity now, knowing a few years ago when I moved to Atlanta I was just sleeping on the floor. It’s one of those moments you have to take a second to really appreciate. They have some really cool people over there though and I doubt this will be the last time we work together.”
What made you decide to become a rapper?
It really wasn’t a decision, more like a realization. I always liked writing when I was younger. Before it was rhymes, books, poems and stuff like that. The first time I really recorded was when I was 15, and I just fell in love with it basically. From there on out it was just a form of expression that I continued on with. I was in a rap group in high school (like most artists lol) and I just noticed they didn’t have the same drive for it like I did. I started doing my own thing and it was then I knew that music was something I’d want to really pursue.
Atlanta is one of hip-hop’s epicenters right now.
As an ATL artist what are the pros and cons of that? The pros are that you can literally run into somebody connected in the industry, anywhere. Literally anywhere, in Target or Walmart just chilling. There’s a lot of good energy too. You see and hear all of the success stories out here and it makes you subconsciously believe in yourself more. You see people that look like you driving fancy cars, and you see it for yourself. The cons are that it can be a little saturated with artists, but that’s just the world right now. ATL is actually smaller than people think though, so I don’t think it’s as hard to stand out as somewhere like NY or LA.
What’s the first rap song you ever heard?
Describe the moment. Man. Can’t really remember the first rap song I ever heard. It was probably something by Will Smith lol. That was the first hip-hop CD I ever had. I remember the first time I heard some real (no disrespect Will) hip-hop though. I went across the street to one of my neighbor’s houses when I was like 10. They had some Jay Z playing, probably Blueprint, and it was the first time I heard anybody cussing in a song. I was like woah this ain’t the version I been hearing on the radio lol. Hearing that actually drew me more to it I guess. It was like the forbidden fruit.
How did “Yo-Yo” come together? What was its inspiration, and what was its process of creation?
Yo-Yo came together after I hit up the producer, Andre Palace, looking for some beats. Dre is one of the best producers in the 757, my home area in VA, so I had been following him for a while wanting to work. I got the beat from him and I really can’t remember the process of writing too much. I just remember all the words flowed out really quick. Pretty sure I finished the whole song in one sitting which isn’t always my process. I really didn’t even have a chorus until I started recording. I literally just started messing around saying “yo, yo” into the mic in a singing voice. Hearing myself in the headphones I started thinking yo this is kinda tight, then the pulling the strings part just came to me. Before I knew it that was the chorus and it just worked with the verses and the concept of being in control. Magic.
How will you look back on 2017?
2017 was a dope year for me. I got to debut Yo-Yo on a live stream on Adult Swim’s website, dropped music more consistently than I ever have, and most importantly I just been getting more in touch with myself as an artist and a person. I’ve got things to improve on like everybody else, but I definitely feel like I’m making steps in the right direction.