Rox: Rapper Clemmye’s Toledo-based hustle evolves with the timesWritten by Martini Rox | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Toledo has many talented rappers, but few are as consistent and successful as Clemmye. He hails from the legendary rap group The Hollow Boys from the Hill area of Toledo.
Throughout the years, talented MCs have come and gone from the group, but Clemmye has managed to maintain and build his local fan-base while touring as a solo artist with national acts. He has consistently made music that represents the labor-intensive process he puts into making sure each track will pull his listener into the next.
He recognizes the value of face-to-face contact in business as well as with his biggest fans. An active rapper since 2000, he is a humble soul, a clever lyricist and a family man who understands the nature of the music business. His wordplay and flow has caught the attention of major artists like Freeway, Beanie Sigel, D12 and more. Clemmye’s latest mix-tape, “First 48,” is currently selling well and he is gearing up to release an album.
He has been a signed national act, only to watch his deal fall through the cracks when labels started merging. He is wise and open to sharing his knowledge and lessons while remaining committed to delivering music you can feel.
Clemmye has also discovered that you can make money performing and touring while putting out quality music. He is a serious businessman, just a few credits shy of completing a business degree from the University of Toledo. The knowledge he has acquired over the years is amplified by his work ethic. Clemmye lives in the moment, soaking it all in as he continues to assist other artists while on his journey to deliver great music.
Martini Rox: You have been on the local rap scene since 2000, how has your hustle changed?
Clemmye: Back then our goal was selling CDs. We would put them in stores on consignment for $10 a CD and sell out every day. It was crazy, we didn’t know and (we had sales) from all sides of town. It spread so far and I don’t even know how far it spread. We didn’t expect it to be like that. I put out the “First 48” and I’m older, I’m 31 now and so I’ve got some younger rappers under me some 18-, 19-year-olds and they’re like “The game is different, people don’t pay $10 for a mixtape no more.” I just told them to watch, it’s different. I sold maybe the first 200-300 CDs at $10 a pop and I never went to the clubs and asked them to buy it, I didn’t tag anybody on Facebook or anything.
Everybody who called wanted the CD and the young rappers are like “How are you doing that? It’s hard to get $5 or $3 or $2!” I’m like, people like good music, people don’t mind — like I don’t mind — paying for good music.
Martini Rox: What did you learn while touring with Freeway and being signed to Jay Z and Dame Dash’s Roc-A-Fella Records?
Clemmye: Everything. The maturity, the connections … business. Everything that could come from it came from it. I had a chance to be around the best label of our time, maybe ever, some of the best rappers ever, you know? The way they handled business, I learned from that. I learned what not to do.
We kind of got blindsided from Roc-A-Fella falling because we didn’t see that coming. When that went down I was staying out there with Freeway and Free was big and the second album was coming and we had signed with 50 [Cent’s G-Unit] so we thought we were going to be larger than life and the rug kind of got pulled from under us. It’s a learning experience man, you learn how the business is, you know? It’s always business at the end of the day and you got to be the one in control of your business.
Listen to Clemmye’s music at www.clemmye.bandcamp.com/album/first-48-the-mixtape.
As we continue on …