Bigger Than Hip Hop
By Isis Nicole
Making a dent in the world of Hip Hop is just the beginning for George Clark III, also known as Flow Clark and or Kidd Flow. Opposite of many flashy rappers with big chains and countless tattoos, Flow Clark by way of Dayton, Ohio enters Dwight Lofts with a low profile wearing all black everything from his jacket down to his shoes and a scarf to stay warm during the spring in Chicago. But his muted apparel does not reflect his wholly articulated music. The 20-year-old member of Cincinnati duo Young Duece puts his all into song lyrics with a vulnerable wit that stipulates success. Quite impressive for a Columbia College Chicago student who’s ultimate goal is to be happily involved in music. No fame necessary but very much included. “I know a lot of people get into the industry because they want it. I just became a lover of music,” he says. Flow’s adoration for music started during his years of junior high school after splitting up with his former rap group Blockbusters. He thereafter teamed up with PJ Milly Ricks to create Young Duece. “Working with Flow is awesome. When I’m with him I feel like I made it but we haven’t made it yet. We both are being smart at becoming genius,” says PJ Milly Ricks. “My step dad came to me with a torn out page of Essence that was having this song writing contest called Bring Back the Music. He said I should do and I was like shit might as well,” says Flow. “I sent in the song that me and PJ had done called “Turn the Music Up”, forgot about it and then one day on the way back home from school I had a voicemail from Essence saying that I made it to the top 10. At that point I really felt like I could do it. Being acknowledged by the magazine gave me the confidence to believe in my music,” he says.
In 2007 Young Duece released The End of the Beginning. Since then the group has put out ten CD’s which consist of mixtapes and original work, including their latest album Commercially Underground that is available to buy on iTunes, and The Remixtape 2, released in January 2011. “As producers we did the Traphik album along with some work for “High School Sucks the Musical” which has like 6,000,000 views on YouTube and our most recent feature on a major artist’s project was with Talib Kweli’s Black Smith Community mixtape,” he says. “I don’t know if I told you but Talib Kweli was one of the first real Hip Hop artists that I had grown to be inspired by. My uncle put me on to him at a young age and that experience definitely got me to learn the craft of Hip-Hop. So for him [Talib Kweli] to acknowledge my work was definitely a big moment in my life.” And while pioneers in Hip Hop are showing love to the duo, Young Duece continues to expand their presence on stage opening for acts including Afro Man, Curren$y, and Mac Miller. They have also gone on to make a name off stage through collaborations with artist of the Midwest and East coast. DJ Wellblended─ also a producer, is one of their gems who incorporates what Flow refers to as the craft of Hip-Hop. “When I’m producing for Young Duece I just try to keep the music upbeat and original,” says DJ Wellblended. In addition to aligning themselves with one of the illest DJ’s, Young Duece keeps close connects with some of their imminent peers. “One we have in the works is with a guy named Brandun DeShay who actually goes to Columbia College Chicago. He was just at SXSW,” Flow says. “I feel like in the case working with Flow Clark, it’s been more mutual. We both been able to introduce new ideas to each other and more importantly, new fans. Like minded artists always have great ways to benefit each other and I hope I can turn my fans onto his and his duo’s work because they got some really great work out there. Vice versa of course. We working on a song and video now, but won’t be able to finish it until our schedules free up more,” says Brandun DeShay. “We’re also working with Elbee Thrie from New York,” says Flow. “He was apart of a group called Phony People and he actually produced our tune “If I’m Awake”. *SIDENOTE: Elbee Thrie is also a featured model in Calvin Klein’s CKONE ad with Lara Stone, Cassie Ventura and more.
Young Duece has already shot their next music video for the single “Impossible”, and is scheduled to be released by summer. When asked about the hype attached to being seen with rappers, Trinh Tran, who plays the love interest of Flow Clark, says, “I’ve recently gotten comments by people who have seen me in another music video before and they automatically think I’m some kind of ‘video vixen’ simply because I want to help out friends. Its stereotypes of video girls that make the girls who are doing it for fun seem like they’re trying to get famous or whatever.”
With all the busyness and work Flow Clark faces on a day to day basis, it’s no surprise that his personal life and dating has changed as an artist too. “Well as far as girls, I don’t know. I guess I get more attention from girls but I pay less because I’m in a different mind state. The last time I had a girlfriend was in high school and I probably took it a bit too seriously. The outcome of that was bad for me and I’m just really trying to focus on what the fuck I’m about to do with my life and how I’m going to make this music shit work,” he says. “I really don’t have to cater to things that might be required with relationships you know. I have a lot of lady friends but not anything I would consider serious.”
Even though there’s not a leading lady in the life of Flow Clark, there is indeed a definite commitment between him and his music. With a voice laid back yet secure in his future he says, “In the next five years if I’m not actually being the face of music I wouldn’t mind doing production under our company Nu Theory Productions. If we don’t become famous artists as rappers I wouldn’t mind being behind the scenes writing songs for other people. Fame is secondary. If we have to become famous to make a living then I’m all for it, but I definitely don’t need fame.”
Over break I got to kick it with the @Young Duece fam && I cannot wait for this video to be finished! I’ve done a couple of intro’s for them on their mixtapes (FYI: I’m not a singer, I just talk!) but this will be my first cameo. It was definitely unexpected. Like I knew that I was gonna be on the set but NOT one of the main features. Once I got over being in HD it was a lot of fun. It took 2 days to shoot on such short notice, however that’s the business and I have no doubt that it’ll be fab. Excuse me. Dope. It was nice meeting some new folk and also seeing familar faces. We’re this close yall, keep posted :-) xxo