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Meet Cloutboy: The 16-Year-Old Rapper From Memphis

October 19, 2021

Read the full interview on AllHipHop.com!

CloutBoy is only 16 years old and already proving why he’s up next in the rap game. Hailing from Memphis, home to some of hip-hop’s greats from Juicy J to Yo Gotti to Moneybagg Yo, the rising star arrives with his own swag, own story, own braggadocious lyrics, and own dreams.

Speaking on his hometown, CloutBoy states, “It’s survivable, if you know what you’re doing.”

While he’s still a teenager, CloutBoy has his eyes set on turning his dreams into a reality. Dropping out of high school to pursue music full-time, the rapper plans on spending his waking hours perfecting his craft, building his fanbase organically and allowing the masses to catch on when they can.

AllHipHop: How would you describe your sound?

Cloutboy: It really depends on how I’m feeling when I write that song or when I’m in the studio. I grew up listening to different artists and different genres of music, but my sound’s mainly hip-hop and rap. If I’m feeling another type of way and I feel like singing or doing rock or pop, I’ll do that.

AllHipHop: How did you get your name?

Cloutboy: One day, I was at the barbershop and it was a trolley coming by with older women in it. They were all riding by, I got the idea to walk up to all of them and touch their butt on the thing. I posted the video, it’s still there, but I needed an internet name for the video. I said “I’ll go with this” because that was the most internet thing I could find to name myself. Then, I forever had the name. I never changed it. If you can find the video, it’s funny. It’s still up.

AllHipHop: What was it like growing up in Memphis?

Cloutboy: I’m used to it, but a lot of people think it’s difficult to be from a place like Memphis. Once you’re born into it, all the things that people would call bad, it actually turn into things that you can counter off of. They turn into good things. Being from Memphis taught me how to survive, how to watch my surroundings. It helps you grow up faster, you’ll become a man faster for sure.

Your parents 9 times out of 10 got a lot of kids, and they don’t have any money for real. They barely got food, barely got somewhere to stay so you have to grow up quicker. It helps you be more aware of what’s going on and makes you want to be something in life. Everybody’s broke, don’t nobody really got anything. It really helped, I can’t say anything bad about Memphis. It helps a lot.

AllHipHop: How did you fall in love with music?

Cloutboy: I got into music over quarantine because when Covid happened, everybody was in the house. I was really in the house, I said “alright, I’m finna try to be a rapper.” I ended up starting to look up beats and making songs. My first song was terrible, but it helped me get to where I am now. It helped me get better. I got freestyles from when I was younger but it wasn’t anything serious, I was just playing around with it.

AllHipHop: What artist were you looking up to?

Cloutboy: I really don’t want to say because how the industry is, they’ll take it back and paint the words around. I’d say Lil Uzi Vert. I got other artists I like, but I really want to keep it to myself. If you listen to my music, you can find out. I’ll say their middle or last name, but I won’t tell you directly because I don’t really want anyone to know. I don’t know why I like to keep it a secret, I like keeping it a secret. If you look at small details, you’ll find out what artists I like a lot a lot a lot.

AllHipHop: What made you drop out of school?

Cloutboy: I stopped going to school in the 10th grade. Out of all the people I hang around, I’m the youngest out of everybody all the time. Most times when I’m around people, the people I be with. I saw all them go to school, finish school and all that, but they’re still doing the same thing. Working regular jobs or still doing the same thing I’m doing, and they went to school and finished school. Instead of going to sit in class for all those hours, I’ll put all my time into my music. Studying the game instead of going to class and sitting here. When I went to school, we wasn’t really doing work. We’re in there chillin’, we were going to pass anyway because no child left behind. Instead of sitting in class and doing nothing, I put all my time into music. That’s when I decided.

AllHipHop: How do your parents feel about the decision?

Cloutboy: My dad died when I was 7. My mama’s the only person I told. If my dad was alive, he would’ve been the only other person. My mom is who I have enough respect for to tell, she’s the one that does everything for me. If I ever needed anything, she’d be the one to come through. No other soul on this earth would come before my mama. It’s really your own decision, but I had enough respect to let my mom know and explain to her why.

Of course, she didn’t really want me to drop out. She’s older and that’s what they believe in: going to school and getting your education. This new day and era, you can get money off the internet. You don’t really have to go to school anymore. They ain’t really teaching me nothing at my school about what businesses I wanted to get into. They were teaching me stuff about being a doctor, school, social studies, etc. I ain’t really trying to get into that field of work. This field that I’m in, they weren’t teaching me a thing about it. I decided to stop going to school, put my all my time into learning about this. My mama, she didn’t really like it. But it was my decision at the end of the day, so she went with it.

AllHipHop: How’s the independent grind?

Cloutboy: It’s pretty rough. I see a lot of artists out making music in the beginning, they go back to doing nothing. When nobody’s invested in you, nobody’s helping you with it, it gets rough. You don’t know where the money’s going to come from to invest back into the music. For me, I’m taking it day by day and step by step. Whenever I can get some money to go back to the studio, that’s what I do. I see that’s why a lot of artists stop making music, because there’s nobody’s helping and pushing them. Even though they probably are good at music, nobody’s helping them so it can be hard at times.

AllHipHop: Who or what inspired the record “All In?”

Cloutboy: The actual title is saying I’m “All In” for the music. Everything’s going to be invested in the music. All my time, money, and everything I got, I’m all in. Everything in me is for the music now. The record was another song that I made, another piece of my art and a piece of the journey. I really named it that because I’m “All In,” I have nothing else to fall back on. I don’t have a plan B, it’s one dream.

AllHipHop: Who’s on the cover art?

Cloutboy: That’s the neighborhood. I’m from Foote homes, but as I got older I went to Fowler homes. That’s two different neighborhoods, they’re right down the street from each other. That’s in South Memphis. On the cover art, they’re people from the neighborhood. Real close friends, I grew up with them. I ended up in the neighborhood that day to shoot the video. We ended up taking a picture, and I used the picture for the cover art. They’re kids, my friends’ little brothers in the cover picture.

AllHipHop: What do you want people to take away from your project, The Start?

Cloutboy: That was the beginning of my music journey. The start of it, that’s why I named it that. You can listen to it for your own opinion on it but I’m a totally different artist from there now. I’m still the same artist, but it was just the beginning of what I was making. It was leading me onto this, that’s why I named it The Start. It was all the music I had at the beginning, I released it and called it The Start. Now, we’re keeping it going. We’re in the middle of it.

AllHipHop: Where are you distributing through?

Cloutboy: Right now, the only thing I could find to distribute through is a company called Distrokid. That’s who I could find since I’m independent.

AllHipHop: How do you record? Do you write or freestyle?

Cloutboy: I actually write. I’ll get into freestyling and punching in a lot — the more money I get, the more time I can get going in the studio. Right now, I’m writing it. If you don’t have money to waste and you’re going into the studio freestyling it’s a bad idea. You’re wasting time, and that’s not a good idea. Right now, I write, then go in the studio and lay it down. I can get more songs done like that instead of going to the studio, freestyling a full song. I’ll get into that when I get more money. When I can go to the studio whenever I feel like it.

AllHipHop: How did your fathers death affect you?

Cloutboy: It’s really what my whole life is based off of. My father was in jail the first 6 years of my life. When I turned 7, I really only spent one year with him. He was my best friend for that one year for real. He used to come and get me every weekend. How it affected me, it really changed my perspective on everything. I can’t really say, but he had a huge impact. A lot of things changed. It got hard, everything was different when he left. You don’t have a dad to fall back on. Your dad teaches you how to grow up and be a man, but when you don’t have a dad, the streets teach you how to be a man. That’s the hard way but it’s happening, I’m getting through it. I’m using my brain to get through it, getting through it the best I can. It was tough for me, and still is to this day.

AllHipHop: How did he pass? I’m so sorry.

Cloutboy: Normal Memphis activity, he got shot.

AllHipHop: What rappers do you look up to from Memphis?

Cloutboy: Memphis is so small that most of the Memphis artists that come out and pop, I’ve already known them before they were rapping and before they got big. I took a lot of stuff from all of them. Different small stuff, they don’t know they gave it to me. I’ve been knowing them before they were rapping and they did certain things a certain way, so I knew what to do and what not to do when I got into that position. Right now Memphis, it’s a warzone going against each other. I look at everybody, take small details from them and use it for myself.

AllHipHop: What message do you want to give people through your music?

Cloutboy: It really isn’t a certain message I’m giving you, I’m just telling my story. You can take whatever message you want to take from it, I’m telling the story of how my life went, going and still going. You take what you take from it.

AllHipHop: What can we expect next from you?

Cloutboy: I’m really doing it as I go. I’ve been really working on a lot of music. You can expect more videos, more songs. I really want to drop a mixtape or an album whenever I’m able to. Just more music and more of the story.

AllHipHop: Any goals for yourself?

Cloutboy: Corleone Marciano Tuggle. I want to be the biggest I can be. I’m not competing with anyone but me. For me, I want to be the biggest that I can be and go as far I can go with it, until I can’t go anymore. If I fail at this, I failed because I’ve put everything into this. That’s a big one for me.

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