“I believe everyone can be a kid,” says up and coming rapper Clarence the Kid. “Everyone has an inner child locked up inside of them, buried behind an ever-growing pile of responsibilities and commitments that try to silence that part of your existence. My aim is to bring that child out. I think everyone is still a kid at heart.” With this sort of optimistic mentality, a notebook full of rhymes, and a heart full of passion, CTK is infecting the rap game with his happy-go-lucky persona.
Born in the suburban city of San Jose, CA with both parents, two sisters, and a little black Labrador, Joshua Smith grew up surrounded by a world he never felt like he belonged. From the very beginning, he was ostracized from his community. Being raised on a set of morals that differed from his peers, one of only a few black students in his classrooms, and the most economically disadvantaged of his friends, Joshua couldn’t help but feel different, lost, and alone. Eventually, these emotions got the best of him, as he was thrown into a bout with depression at the tender age of 15 years old. Writing poems was the only way he was able to get out the darkness. The poems turned into emotional, “simpy” rap songs that he used to deal with his emotions, but once he developed his skills, his songs revolved around other themes and topics that has fostered his love for writing ever since. Music is the only way CTK is able to vent and release the most raw and vulnerable parts of himself.
Once CTK was introduced to music, his therapy quickly turned into an addiction. Without any sort of musical mentor, he was forced to learn the tricks of the music trade, learning new things every day and applying it to his art form. Within 2 years of his starting, he released three full length projects into the world. However, the music still sounded different. CTK finally got into rap music and struggled to relate on a personal level, as most of the genre talked from a perspective that he had never really experienced. The silver lining in this was that the ambitious rapper was able to take note of grooves, sounds, and lyric technicalities and apply them to his own life to find his own voice.
If CTK’s music was a color, its vibe would definitely be heather grey. He has some dark sides that carry over from his past, but they are balanced out with the light that he carries with him every day. It’s a color that goes with pretty much anything, and when you listen to his music it’s hard to say that it is not relatable. It’s a mellow color; essential, but not in your face trying to stand out either. According to CTK, “heather grey is just a super cozy color and I love to stay cozy.”
His top five artists are Kendrick, Cole, Chance, Logic, and Gambino. He wants to eventually be able to make good, meaningful music as commercially successful as Kendrick does, be as authentic and real like J. Cole, master delivery and lyricism like Logic, be as unique in sound and as good of a humanitarian as Chance the Rapper, and master art in every form like Gambino. CTK also respects entertainers such as Jaden Smith because he is young and successful, Joyner Lucas because he is great at making impactful songs, and King Los because of his ridiculous freestyling ability.
CTK is unique because his methods of creating are somewhat unorthodox. One time he was trying to record a “sexy bedroom track,” so he set up his recording session at night right before going to bed, set his alarm for 5am, and when it went off, CTK went straight to the mike to capture that just-out-of-bed cloth talk voice that apparently is attractive to the ladies. Later on, when he was looking for models to act in the video for the same song, he sat patiently and swiped through Tinder for a solid 4 hours hoping to find someone to help him out. Unfortunately, nothing stuck, but regardless, his unconventional way of securing talent is truly something to mention.
CTK wants to make music that resonates with his values and doesn’t consider making money for a record label as his prime objective. He is confident that there is a place in the market for music that’s for people like him that want to hear something that’ll hit home. Following his Valentine’s Day release of “Bubblicious”, Clarence the Kid has a very busy spring planned, as he is set to release new music every Friday for the next two months (starting on March 16). I guarantee that if you are not shocked by how much courage this young man has to be his authentic self, you will definitely feel some type of way when he says something that you thought was only in your mind. The truth has a way of doing that, and this young rapper is the TRUTH, so let CTK set you free.