I met Clyde on Rappad. I was trying to find out about popular Lo-Fi rappers in the space (I’d just started listening to those Live Stream late-night Chill-Hop videos with the cool Japanese anime – you know the ones – on Youtube.) I posted a question to the community there at large (“Any lo-fi rappers like atlas or samsa? Please post SC links”). There was a rift of responses, and the quickest was from a user with a strange purple motif avatar: “I only have two lofi songs but one of them kinda did something impressive so I count. Here’s the first one”. Pretty bold, right? I checked out his song and was actually quite impressed by a) the professional quality of the production and b) the quality of the lyrics – (the content quality on Rappad can really vary).
Anyway, over the course of the next month (this was early December 2017) Clyde and I were communicating back and forth over Rappad, and email. Between his hectic recording squedule and our respective time differences, I managed to pin him down for an in-depth interview.
The following dialogue uncovers Clyde’s unique take on life, addresses things such as who would win in a fight between Spiderman and Batman, and how the hell he managed to secure those Joey Bada$$ (Pro Era) and Earl Sweatshirt (Odd Future) endorsements. The conversation revealed an accute level of self-awareness on Clyde’s behalf, with resolute glimpses into the sensitivity possessed by a talented young rapper attempting to carve out a path to success in this rotten industry.
On occasion rare gems are uncovered that must be shared with the world, and I think Clyde Cabbage deserves your consideration of being that proverbial gem. It will be intriguing to re-read these answers in the future, with the perspective of Clyde having grown into a world-famous rap star, and realise he was already thinking like this at 19 years’ old! Watch this space in 5 years’ time…
Name: Clyde Cabbage
Age: 19-year old
Origin: Indiana, USA
1. HNHH: Do you prefer inside or outside?
Clyde Cabbage: Well, right now it’s winter so ya boy is definitely enjoying the indoors at the moment! However, I consider myself more of an outside person. Not only is receiving sunlight essential to my health, I’ve found that it increases my mood and creativity as well. Both of them have a lot of benefits, depending upon the season and I do recall coming up with some of my best work indoors. But yeah, I’m definitely an outdoor person. I’ve spent enough time locked up to appreciate the indoors for what it is.
2. HNHH: What’s your favourite season? Why?
Clyde Cabbage: Honestly, I don’t even know. I’ve always pondered this myself. As much as I love being outdoors during the spring and summer, I’ve come to notice that I have a little more of an edge during the fall/winter time. I am a Pisces, which is the last astrological sign prior to the turn of a new cycle of live new life and vitality, AKA Spring. So, with Pisces being the 12th sign, we’re somewhat of a culmination of all the signs that come before us. Also, you may notice I release bigger and better music during the fall and winter months somehow. I don’t know, I rock with all seasons to be real.
3. HNHH: Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer?
Clyde Cabbage: Gatherer. I remember being in different treatment centers and juvenile detention centers for months at a time and during that time, food was considered gold, especially in the kiddy jail. A lot of the kids with pasts that I presumed were rougher than mine were always on their hustle, betting and trading for extra snacks and portions with other delinquents and even staff members (even though this was against the rules in jail). I wasn’t really doing all that very much. I’m a skinny nigga but I love to eat so I’d save food in my cubby for a few hours in my cell (which was also against the rules) because I knew that it would last longer if I ate it periodically. Being hungry, sleepy and locked up ain’t a fun combination so I always made sure to keep myself fed. The staff looked out for me too, thanks to the local clout I had at the time. The food was always MUCH better with wider portions and varieties in the treatment centers like Resource, though. I never had to stash anything there but if I did end up with extra snacks, I would. I’m definitely a gatherer.
4. HNHH: You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What colour would you be and why?
Clyde Cabbage: Orange is like, my favorite color but you know I gotta go with green fam. Green is my favorite too. It’s the color of cabbage which represents money, marijuana and your mind. All of those things are green except for ya brain which is the opposite color but you catch my drift. Green is too clean. It symbolizes life, growth, harmony, freshness, and fertility and can even improve your vision if you look at it enough which no other color does as far as I know. It also represents some rather negative things such as green and envy but, aye. Green is my favorite now. Forget orange. My father was in prison for half of my childhood.
5. HNHH: You step outside after this interview and find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you spend the money on?
Clyde Cabbage: Off top, I’m putting a cool 1 million in a retirement fund that I can’t touch until I’m like, 63. Then I’d throw about 500K into my education because one day, I’d like to become a therapist or philanthropist or something of the likes one day. Growing up in the system increased my urge to contribute to the youth. Meanwhile, I’d throw in about 50K into starting my own record label and an additional 50K into getting all of my music goals off the ground. Let’s throw another 2.5 million in the bank account just because. Now, that I’ve spent half of the money on myself. I’d give 2 million dollars to my mother, and probably use the other 3 million to create a bigger, better Fort Wayne AND Indianapolis, considering I grew up in both cities. Facts.
6. HNHH: If you could work with one producer for your debut album who would it be?
Clyde Cabbage: That’s a tough one yo. I rock with DJ OG Chinese Food a lot, I’d do a full project with him in a heartbeat. To be honest, I’m probably gonna ask that dude about it once I’m done with this interview. He did send me a smooth exclusive beat free of charge that I’ll eventually release a music video too. It’s the lead single from my Clydeology project and it’s called Breezin’.
7. HNHH: What do you think about when you’re alone?
Clyde Cabbage: What’s the recipe to make it? How many years am I gonna sleep in basements?
How long with the industry keep me waiting? Once I’m famous, will it all be forsaken? But other than that, I’ve been jotting down mad dope ass invention ideas. I’m tryna get rich, fam.
“I put his earbuds in and one of the first songs I played was Numb. Tears. Not bawling, or nothing but I certainly cried that night. It related to everything I was going through at the time” – Clyde Cabbage, on hearing Linkin Park for the first time while a patient at Whites treatment centre.
8. HNHH: What’s your favourite non-hip hop song?
Clyde Cabbage: Rest in peace to Chester Bennington. Numb by Linkin Park may be my favorite song of all time. I remember I was like 11 or 12 when I first heard it. I was in a treatment center called “Whites” at the time due to the child abuse I was receiving on a nearly daily basis. I had done nothing wrong so the fact I was locked up surrounded by a bunch of unironically white kids I’ve never met over something my mother did was surreal to me. I rock with white people heavy, but it was just new to me and something I had to adapt to. A lot of them kids were straight up weirdos. Nevertheless, I had this one older roommate, he was a great role model. He was like 16 or 17 with aspirations to serve in the military or something. He was always playing Linkin Park and POD on his speaker because he knew I liked hip-hop. He was joking around with me like “Who said white people can’t rap? Listen to these dudes!” and I honestly loved what was hearing so he let me use his MP3 player one night. The only time I had experienced rock music prior to that was via video games. Anyways, I put his earbuds in and one of the first songs I played was Numb. Tears. Not bawling, or nothing but I certainly cried that night. It related to everything I was going through at the time and just hit me so strong. I’ll never forget about Linkin Park because of that. Bless those guys, man.
9. HNHH: If you could be any animal in the world, what animal would you be and why?
Clyde Cabbage: Yo, them kangaroos go hard bro. They’ll beat my ass in a boxing match. And them pouches are just too clutch. Unfortunately, they only live to be about a decade old so, I would convert myself to a turritopsis dohrnii. Look it up on Bing.
10. HNHH: What was the last gift you gave someone?
Clyde Cabbage: I gave my sister like, $21 on her 21st birthday. She looked at me all weird like, “Why $21?” I was like, it’s your 21st yo, that’s a special number. 3 and 7 are both divine numbers. Multiply them and you’ll get 21. I was also born on the 21st but that’s irrelevant to the topic.
11. HNHH: What were you like in junior school (8 – 10 years)? How is that different to today’s version of you?
Clyde Cabbage: Uhm, junior high school is grades 6-8 here and high school is 9-12. So, I’ll give you a little insight on both. I spent too much time worrying about my perception instead of just focusing on progression in middle school. I was mad shy my initial year of middle school at New Tech Academy in Indianapolis. It was a dope ass school with hella computers but my self-confidence was diminished by owning approximately 4 outfits. I never got no girls that year and my grades even slacked because of it so my bad ass would sneak into teacher’s classrooms after hours and edit them. That was also around the time I got taken away from my mother for the third time so I ended up living with my grandmother on my father’s side for grades 7-10. That was technically foster care, too. She hooked me up with some of that allowance and I got to go to the mall at least once a month and cash the fuck out if I didn’t get suspended, which I usually did unless I was on my ADHD meds. Eventually, we got into it during the winter of 2013 and I got locked up for three months for an alleged battery that I simply didn’t commit.
12. HNHH: What’s the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it?
Clyde Cabbage: Judge Joe Brown. I can’t wait for someone to do me wrong so I can call that man and get paid. Forreal, tho. I bet he’d pay for my college and stuff too. Other than that, I don’t watch television whatsoever unless its Jeopardy or Brain Games or something of the likes.
13. HNHH: Any advice for your high school principal?
Clyde Cabbage: Quit tryna have sex with all the seniors and wash that lame ass make-up off your face
14. HNHH: What is the funniest thing that has happened to you in 2018?
Clyde Cabbage: I attempted to buy a beat from a producer who used to repost my music and support me and the next thing I know, I was blocked. I laughed my ass off.
15. HNHH: Would you rather be an underground rapper and never sell/stream over 10K per project, but get at least one grammy each time you dropped, or do a million first week sales for every project but be critically hated across the board?
Clyde Cabbage: I’ll take the million first week sales. Sales mean somebody caught the appeal of the record, obviously. Blogs don’t define an artist. A nice Metacritic rating wouldn’t hurt, though
“I honestly got a little star-struck when Earl replied which was December 6th, 2014 and I didn’t know that when he said “keep going” meant “send more raps”… I thought he was trying to tell me to never give up or something.” – Clyde Cabbage on getting a response from the Odd Future rapper Earl Sweatshirt on some of his bars, in 2014.
16.HNHH: Which rap collection (label or crew, eg. Odd Future, ASAP, QC) is the greatest of all time) and why?
Clyde Cabbage: Black Hippy. I mean, they got Kendrick whom is self-explanatorily great. Ab-Soul is one of my favorite hip-hop lyricists ever, he’s insane, haha #PiscesGang. Jay Rock is one of the most slept-on artists in the entire rap business right now. Q has infinite party bangers, imagery and never disappoints on a project. They’re all so ill. This may sound weird but I think Kendrick should do a project with Rock and Schoolboy should do one with Ab-Soul. That’d be the perfect balance of collaboration projects from Black Hippy. Unless they actually do a full project as a collective.
17. HNHH: Pretend you were the CEO for Def Jam. What three concerns about the company’s future would keep you up at night?
Clyde Cabbage: First off, I’d make sure we don’t have too many or too little amounts of marketing teams, press teams, radio pluggers, etc. I would make sure every department is [well equipped]. Secondly, who are our artists? I’d make sure we have a vast variety of artists from multiple genres who AREN’T getting ripped off. Without the artist, there’s no music and thus, no revenue. Why would you want to take advantage of the center of profit? Third and finally, I’d make sure nobody has to suck dick to win a Grammy or no kinda shit like that. Music over money on my label.
18. HNHH: If you were signed to a major label today and were granted three promises as signing clauses, what would they be?
Clyde Cabbage: I need a solid advance upfront as well as 85% of all sales/streams/merch profit. They should make their money back with the 15%. Then, they must promise to market and promote my album to the fullest extent. Finally, I need full creative control over my sound. That’s all I need.
19. HNHH: What inspires you to get up in the morning?
Clyde Cabbage: Knowing that any day could be my last sends a sense of urgency to my life.
20. HNHH: Tell me something no-one knows about you in five words.
Clyde Cabbage: I do not even exist.
21. HNHH: What are you known for amongst friends?
Clyde Cabbage: Being that wild ass nigga with no regards for the rules or authority. Rapping. Dressing weird and smoking weed in the bathrooms. Throwing a water balloon at my principal. All types of bad shit. That was like, back in middle school. In high school people knew I rapped. I started doing shows and dropping songs in high school, I was getting the most plays in my city for a teenager. People would always ask me to rap in the hallways and I never would. Like, show some respect, wait til we in the cafeteria fam.
22. HNHH: How would you rate your memory?
Clyde Cabbage: 9.5/10. I’d say a 10 if I had never picked up marijuana and slept every night.
23. HNHH: If you woke up and had 1,000 unread emails/comments and could only answer 1 of them, how would you choose which one?
Clyde Cabbage: I would search for whichever messages my hypothetical wife sent.
24. HNHH: How many pennies would fit into your bedroom?
Clyde Cabbage: Probably like 750,000 or so.
25. HNHH: Describe the colour yellow to somebody who is blind.
Clyde Cabbage: Big Bird knocking yo ass out.
26. HNHH: You’ve been given a rhino. You can’t give it away or sell it. What would you do with the rhino?
Clyde Cabbage: I mean, you didn’t specify what type of rhino, so I’m just gonna assume you’re referring to a 2018 Rhino GX US Specialty Vehicle valued at up to $239,000. I’ma swerve that hoe.
27. HNHH: Who would win a fight between Spiderman and Batman?
Clyde Cabbage: Spiderman, I think. I was always more a Marvel kid growing up. I think I still owe my library fines from 2003 where I borrowed two big goofy hardback books, one on DC, the other on Marvel. Spider-Man has powers and knows how to use his surroundings to his advantage more. He’s more intuitive too. However, Peter Parker himself shouldn’t stand a chance.
28. HNHH: Who is your favourite rapper of all time?
Clyde Cabbage: That’s too hard, so I’ll just give you Big L, Capital STEEZ, and MF DOOM.
29. HNHH: How did you get the Earl Sweatshirt and Joey Badass endorsement?
Clyde Cabbage: Both happened the same way, although neither one was necessarily an endorsement. Basically, I just spammed the fuck out of their messages until they responded. I honestly got a little star-struck when Earl replied which was December 6th, 2014 and I didn’t know that when he said “keep going” meant “send more raps”… I thought he was trying to tell me to never give up or something. The Joey thing happened through Snapchat but not only did Joey rock with those lyrics, he also heard my Capital STEEZ tribute through Steelo’s sister. I did that collaboration with Lexi the Lexiconist on April 7th, 2016. Long Live Steelo.
30. HNHH: And finally Clyde, can you tell us about any upcoming music projects, and what 2018 holds for you?
Clyde Cabbage: Cleverlasting mixtape was supposed to be released in 2016 but now it’s dropping this February 19th, 2018. I’ve progressed so much musically since I was like 14-18 when this project was written that it’s crazy. It’s my debut mixtape and I’m still proud of it but I’m ready to start working on this Untitled EP or Clydeology. Music video for Cleverlasting in the works, it’s gonna be somewhat like a short film. The lyric video for 1998 will also be out soon. I’m just gonna make power moves in 2018, not even worried about making music as much as I initially was because that’s what distracted me from growing overall as an artist. I’m ready to take over.
You can listen to Clyde Cabbage’s music here (seriously, we recommend checking him out):
Thanks, for the interview, Clyde Cabbage.