Clever was once known as a “secret weapon” in the music industry, having written songs for and with the biggest names, including Justin Bieber, Post Malone, and Juice WRLD. Now, Clever is focusing his energy on his solo career with his album Crazy, slated to drop on March 13th. His latest single off of Crazy, called “Rolls Royce Umbrella” features R&B legend, Chris Brown.
“Can you tell us about your new song? Do you have a ‘Rolls Royce Umbrella?’” asked Ryan Leutz, co-host of The Rockstar Experience Podcast.
“‘Rolls Royce Umbrella’ is a rags-to-riches song. It goes like ‘from misery to mimosas’ and ‘I was poor and now I’m poured up’,” Clever replied. “It’s really about how money can’t buy you happiness, but I’d rather cry in a Lamborghini kinda thing. It’s basically saying Champagne Showers might not make flowers bloom, but it’s still gonna rain, and it’s gonna rain on my Rolls Royce Umbrella.”
Although Clever is working in the inner circles of some of the biggest artists in the industry, his life wasn’t always paved with stardom. “Comin’ from nothing starting in Alabama and then trying to get to where I’m at has not been easy,” Clever told The Rockstar Experience Podcast.
“I did some freestyle battles. I started getting the attention of some radio programmers. I eventually had my own nightly radio show on a local station that had a 40-mile radius in Alabama. I did 106 and Park’s Freestyle Fridays and was a champion way back when on BET. I did the Spring Bling freestyle challenges and other stuff too. So little by little, I was getting my name out there. I spent some time in a bad deal that had me stuck doing more songwriting stuff, but I was able to network.
“I wrote songs for Snoop Dogg and Kurupt and David Foster, and other people. It got so broad at one point that I had all the connections I needed to make a way for myself. I don’t think it’s about being in the right place sometimes, it’s about being at the right place all the time. A lot of people are waiting on that one person to knock on the door but I think you gotta knock at the door and go through the window. There’s a way in, you just gotta find it.”
“Speaking of your freestyling days, freestyling is how you got your stage name. Can you tell us about that?” Ryan asked.
“I was in a freestyle battle, I was 14 years old at the time,” Clever explained. “It was a local $50 Freestyle Friday that this promoter was putting on at some hole-in-the-wall type joint. Somebody challenged me to come down there and do it. I ended up going like 6 weeks in a row, I was 14 and making $50 every Friday to out rap fools. This guy kept comin’ with these ‘W’ lines. Everything was a ‘W’ this and ‘W’ that, like a win. So to counter him I was throwing some ‘L’ lines back at him. It was ‘L’ this and ‘L’ that. At one point I said, ‘You can call me Clever, cuz I won’t ‘C’ [see] an ‘L’ ever.’ Somebody after the show came up to me and was like ‘Your name’s Clever, right?’ When he said that to me it reminded me of Common, and I’m a big Common fan so I liked it. So I ran with it.”
“What is your relationship with Post Malone like now that you are signed to him?” Ryan asked.
“Me and Post are really close. First time I ever spoke to Post was through a mutual friend named Tyla Yahweh,” he explained. “Post was playing my songs and playing the drums to them while he was on the road. I already knew that he was on to my music but he’s not the easiest person to say ‘Hey, what’s up’ to. He facetimed me through Tyla Yahweh’s phone and me and Tyla was cool. I guess he saw my number on Tyla’s phone. I answered Tyla’s call and it’s basically just Post Malone like, ‘Hey, I really like your music.’”
“We clicked immediately and went from there. We’re really close. I’m signed to him now under Grade A and Posty Co. and Republic. He’s been a big help. I have a song on his album, which might be coming this year or so I heard. I also have him on my album so it’s gonna be dope. We’re gonna tour together too. I’ve been blessed to have him on board.”
“You’re working on your album now, when should we expect it?” Brian asked.
“It’s lookin’ like march 12th,” Clever said with trepidation. “We’ve had to push it back several times for different clearances. It’s been tough to get the clearances because the album’s got Lil Wayne, Lil Baby, Chris Brown, Post Malone, Juice WRLD, I even put my 6-year-old son on a song with Lil Wayne. Just some ‘la la la’s’ but he’s already getting publishing offers at age 6,” Clever said with a laugh.
Clever’s next single off of his Crazy album is “Life’s a Mess” featuring Juice WRLD and Post Malone, which is part 2 to a previously released Juice WRLD record under the same name. Juice and Clever worked together closely before Juice’s untimely death.
“I was fortunate to travel with Juice WRLD and tour with him. I was fortunate to be around him and travel with him. I got to see Juice make 50 records in the studio, some of his biggest joints. This album has a lot of tributes to Juice, a lot of easter eggs on it, hidden messages, and some stuff you can play backwards. The album syncs up with a movie the way that The Dark Side of the Moon syncs up with Wizard of Oz. We deliberately did that. We deliberately did that for the Juice tribute as well. It’s definitely gonna be an experience.”
“Life is a Mess” featuring Juice WRLD and Post Malone is slated to release on March 5 and Clever’s Crazy is slated for March 12, according to his management. Be on the lookout for Clever’s new music and listen to his interview with The Rockstar Experience on all major platforms. ❖