Meet the Savannah, Georgia native who turned his adversities into passionate music to inspire his peers to change the way they look at life. For Rapper and Activist, Clay Hodges having the freedom to dream didn’t come easily when the vision of success was hidden in a town where crime and destitute overshadowed. Here’s what he had to say about his music and growing up in Savannah.
How did your experiences while growing up in Savannah, Georgia affect your music career?
Growing up in Savannah is a big reason why I direct my intentions on creating content that will help the listeners. I’ve seen and experienced things that make it hard for me to rap about guns, drugs, or to glorify a lifestyle that led a lot of my friends, family, and peers in prison or jail. On a more positive note, growing up in Savannah taught me how to create my own opportunities. Savannah will really test you to see if you want your dream like you say you do. I swear opportunities are hard to come by. You either sit around waiting for the door to open or you kick it open yourself. I think it develops a different mindset and drive. You have to work harder just to get the minimum. Imagine applying that same mentality in a place with an overabundance of opportunities. It breeds greatness.
Do you think if you lived in a major city that your views of the world or people would be different?
Well, it depends. If I grew up in a similar area than no. I probably would have still seen and experienced the same things. Every city got their hoods and ghettos. Every city got that side of town they don’t want the tourist to see. I may not have had such a big chip on the shoulder if I stayed in a bigger city. I probably wouldn’t even work as hard. If I stayed in a bigger city, I would’ve gotten a record deal at 15. Things would have been handed to me career-wise because of my talent. That probably would have created a sense of entitlement and I’m pretty sure that mindset would’ve reflected on how I treated people and how I expected people to treat me.
What inspired you to write the song Visions?
When I first started working with Aphelion Records on the Savannah Weather project they would just send me beats and song ideas. Visions was a song idea they came up with. I related to it and wrote some verses to it. The track is really dark if you listen to the first verse and hook. I related because believe it or not, I’m a really dark person. I have some really dark thoughts but I don’t let them consume me because I have a vision. And that vision doesn’t have enough room for darkness.
In your opinion how important is it to visualize your future while focusing on the present?
It’s very important and I think you have to find a good balance between the two. Some folks get introduced to the Law of Attraction and think that you could just visualize the future you want and then get it if you think about it hard enough. Sometimes it works like that but most times the process requires more. You have to stay present and put that work in to secure the future you desire. Don’t be so much in the future that you miss out on present opportunities that could have provided you with the ideal future. Balance is key.
We understand that you are living a vegan lifestyle, what made you make this commitment? The animals man. I’m an animal lover big time. I have a great deal of respect and admiration for all of God’s creatures. I believe that animals have souls. The proof of that to me is the fact that they have personalities and can express love. Plus, they can think. Granted they may not be able to think on the level humans can but they think. They breathe, they feel, they live. I can’t see myself eating something that can do those things.
Why should mental, spiritual, and health self-care be important to black men?
There are so many roadblocks in our journey of life. We have to be mentally, physically, spiritually, and even emotionally sharp in order to overcome those roadblocks and obstacles. As far as health goes; here’s an old saying, “your health is your wealth.” Working hard and making money is great but if you’re unhealthy you can’t work and then there’s no money. Take care of your body and it will take care of you.
In 3 words how would you describe your music?
From the heart. When you make music from the heart, you connect with the listeners on a deep and intimate level. I live for those connections. I want to connect with as many people as possible and help them navigate through this maze we call life.