Chris Clay Visits “THE MIDDAY INVASION” on PNC

24 Jan

While some may view the Midwest as a quiet slice of American pie, the state of Minnesota has in fact spawned some of the most artistically influential people in history. As a songwriter and lyricist paving his own way in today’s scene, St. Paul native is continually drawing strength from the overwhelming artistic mastery birthed in the Twin Cities.

With his new DJ Whoo Kid-hosted mixtape The Christening slated for release on December 7, 2010, Chris Clay is poised to be the next memorable face of Midwest Hip Hop. Currently residing in San Diego, California, Clay has been working tirelessly on new music with Money Is Motive (MIM) Entertainment CEO Pat DiBello. As the months progress into the new year, a series of EP releases from Chris Clay will hit iTunes, and MIM will continue to grow in the indie label scene.

Growing up is never easy for teens, but Chris Clay found ways to overcome childhood challenges as they came to him. Academically gifted, talented in sports with a knack for acting, Chris focused on his crafts – despite troubles that led him to move from his mother’s care to his grandmother’s house in the suburbs. It was an adjustment that the spirited teen turned into a win-win situation, as he gravitated toward Hip Hop and began writing songs about his life.

Extending the passion beyond his notepad, young Clay began his rise as a competitive lyrical battler, taking out all comers in any cipher he entered. Eventually he caught the attention of a well-known local producer, which led to a production and management deal that allowed Chris to record and perform all over the Twin Cities. In September of 2006 he released his first solo mixtape The Passion of Chris.

Unfortunately, the intended follow-up mixtape, impending tour and debut album were put on hold when Chris was released from the contract in 2007. Soon after, the rapper faced the tragic death of his longtime girlfriend, and coped with the loss during his two-year hiatus from music. By 2009, Chris emerged with the mixtape Sotafied:Pyrolyricism, released under his own MNUE Entertainment.

With inspiration from impressive lyricists like Jadakiss, Fabolous and Lupe Fiasco, intertwined with the Twin Cities’ diverse spectrum of artistry, Chris Clay continued to create personal masterpieces as 2010 progressed. The Christening mixtape offers insight to Clay’s influences from various regions, with a good mash-up of industry beats and original production, including a track from musical phenom J-Skillz.

“There’s such a wide range of my sound on there,” Chris explains. “I’ve got stuff from the early ‘90s, old R&B joints and original work from a couple of local producers. I have a few acapellas that are more cipher-on-the-corner type of joints. I feel like showcasing more range with the rapping and storytelling. People have this misconception that Minnesota is just this place where it’s really cold with a lot of farmland, but there’s a strong Hip Hop culture and we have unique trends. I want to represent the side of Minnesota that people don’t see.”

Prince, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, funk band Mint Condition, playright August Wilson, Peanuts’ creator Charles Schultz, painter LeRoy Neiman, Hip Hop collective Rhymesayers and 2009/2010 National Poetry Slam champions Soapboxing have all made their mark on Minnesota’s pop culture, and Chris hopes to leave his own permanent imprint.

“I value my lyrical abilities, and I’m trying to become more mainstream too,” asserts Chris. “I plan on collaborating with R&B and Rock & Roll artists, and a little bit of whatever is different. I want to break into as many avenues and break down as many barriers as I can. I love what I do, and I want people to see I’m good at it. I talk about myself, where I’m from and what I’m about. A lot of the time I’m giving myself to people through my music and I just want them to feel it. This is who I am, and what I do.”

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