Lifes short. Some people go through there whole life not knowing what it is that they would want to do with their lives. Not the story for Oxnard, CA native, Joe Clark, he has been in the grind since the age of eight and a half, and doing mixtapes at ten, and he has no plans on pumping the brakes anytime soon. Its that type of drive and determination thats gotten him noticed by industry elite. Did I mention the fact that he has a mellow West coast demeanor and a raw East coast flow, cant box this and manufacture it.With that and the backing of his label, Starr Media Group, he has plans to take the music industry by storm with his direct approach on subject matter such as the inspirational track “Stand Up,” to the ode to the individuals that ripped the mic before him, “Payin Homage.”
Also, he has the club banger, “She Feel It,” that will have the clubs rocking all night long. AllHipHop caught up with Joe on a frigid NYC city block to pick his brain a little and find out about his whole story. AllHipHop.com: Whats good with you man, hows everything?Joe Clark: Ay, man! Nothing much, just focused, studying the game for what its worth, here with Starr Media Group. AllHipHop.com: Youre name is Joe Clark, is that your real name or a stage moniker?Joe Clark: Joe Clark is my real name, theres no reason why I picked it, you know. I figured as an artist the best thing to do is to be yourself. Instead of having a name to live up to why not have a name that you could be.AllHipHop.com: Isnt it ironic that you have the same name as the New Jersey school principal, Joe Clark, from the movie Lean On Me. What would you say your personality is like, speak softly and carry a big stick, or do you just bring the ruckus?Joe Clark: Its funny you ask that, I get that a lot. Id like to say Im a little bit of both I speak whats on my mind. At the same time, I conserve whats on my mind, say it at the right times. Thats just my personality; if I feel a certain way about something positive or negative. AllHipHop.com: You were born in Naples, Italy and your folks were in the armed forces how was it moving around as a military child?Joe Clark: Yeah, my mom was stationed in Italy, so was my dad, they met and here I am. I really havent lived there for more than a year after I was born. Then as a military brat, I lived in a lot of places but I most definitely got my roots in California; I spent fourteen years of my short life there.AllHipHop.com: When you came out to California was it hard steering away from the gang culture? Howd you manage to stay focused on honing your craft?Joe Clark: Um, California is not a recreation of Boyz N The Hood or what everyone interprets it to be. Theres definitely gang culture out there, as a young man, you know, you get into trouble, but, the trouble I used to get intomade me focus on what I really want in life is to be a successful black man. So as far as the gang culture goes, I got a lot of friends that dibble and dabble in that, but, as far as I go, I wanna stay positive. I wanna be an individual, I wanna be different than the hype that California follows.AllHipHop.com: Who were you listening to coming up? Joe Clark: I listened to a lot of people Kool G. Rap. Um, from Kool G. Rap to Young Jeezy, I used to listen to Young Jeezy [back] when his name was Lil Jay. Definitely Eazy- E, a lot of people. As far as now though, I listen to people who stand for something. AllHipHop.com: With that, howd you get into rhyming?Joe Clark: Well, my pops used to be a rapper. So, as a young kid, I used to watch him, see him in the studio and I wanted to, I guess, emulate like any son would with his father and I was blessed to have a father. So, I seen my pops doing positive things I definitely wanted to emulate what Ive seen him do. So I started around eight and a half, I was on my first mix-tape at ten and a half, and ever since then its been Joe Clark. AllHipHop.com: So were you always signed to Starr Media Group? Joe Clark: Im definitely Starr Media Group; its tatted on me, Im in it til the wheels fall off. Ive always been Starr Media Group, [points over to the side] my uncle is Dre Dinero; so its a family business. My pops Ronnie Knottz is also a director so its always about Starr Media Group and it always will be. AllHipHop.com: Youre based out in the West, would you say listening to East coast artists helped you find your style? Sort of like how Rass Kass had his own flow out there.Joe Clark: Its also funny you asked that question as well, as an artist from the west coast you definitely gonna have West coast swag. But Hip-Hop created in the east coast, you got to have that east coast swag as well, like, I forgot to say I listen to Rakim a lot as well. So, as far as me spitting like Im from the east coast and residing in the west coast- thats just basically who I am. AllHipHop.com: I see… Sort of like when Little Brother first came out and people didnt really know where they were from. Joe Clark: Thats why Im doing, what Im what Im doing. You dont have to follow a certain stereotype based on your origin at all. Thats why Im doing what Im doing- Im me. I cant be another 50 Cent, I cant be anybody but me. So, as far as me sounding like Im from a different place, or, as far as Little Brother sounding like theyre from a different place- thats just what Hip-Hop is, its an evolution.AllHipHop.com: You have worked with quite a few notables from the likes of The Pussycat Dolls, Trey Songz, Duane Ramos, and Tamar Davis howd you hook up with them?Joe Clark: Well, out there in California, like Ive said, Ive been doing my thing. I hooked up with Duane Darock Ramos at Interscope Records, we did a couple of remix propositions, remix auditions, a lot were heard from industry dudes, but being so my age didnt relate to my flow; really didnt get too much shine off of that. Im definitely well-seasoned, I worked with a lot of people in the game. As far as what weve [SMG] been doing now, we were in Acclaim magazine in Australia; Don Diva 10th Anniversary Edition; two editions of Rap Fanatic Magazine; performed at SOBs and the Remote Lounge [NYC]; P.G. County in Maryland; The District in D.C., did a lot of things opened up for Bone Thugs at the Ventura Theater in California. So Im definitely a well-seasoned artist.AllHipHop.com: you have some tracks like the joint Stand Up what were you trying to convey to the listener?Joe Clark: Exactly what it says stand up believe in what you want to believe in. You can be anything you want in this world. Were in America, you only get one shot in anything that you wanna do. Basically, thats where the whole idea of the song came from, putting in hard work, paying your dues. Never giving up itll eventually pay off in the long run, look at me, Im in the AllHipHop Breeding Ground. AllHipHop.com: You mentioned earlier that you had some labels interested.Joe Clark: Yeah, they still are showing a lot of interest. One day, as far as the majors go, you know, hope they grab theyre balls and make a manly decision. Instead of following what the sound is now.AllHipHop.com: How do you feel about music now that you are in the game?Joe Clark: If you heard Paying Homage, Hip-Hop wasnt dead it was just sleeping you got plenty of artists now that wont get the recognition they deserve. That are pro Hip-Hop all day. As far as the rap game goes, and saying that Hip-Hop is dead, I wouldnt say Hip-Hop is dead. I wouldnt say its dead at all. Id say Hip-Hop is very prejudice, its either you follow the gimmick or stay true to yourself. As far as I go I do both.AllHipHop.com: Anything you have planned upcoming?Joe Clark: I have a lot things coming got my new single produced by the Presidentz “Turn It Around,” is definitely a club banger, She Feel It, there is a lot of things not just with me but Starr Media Group as a whole check us out on the web at www.starrmediagroup.com, or check out the myspace page: www.myspace.com/starrmediagroup.