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Clyde Guevara

Source: Dana Rice / D.R.

The point of the CRT FRSH (formerly Certified Fresh) segment of Hip-Hop Wired was to serve as a hub of up-and-coming talent in the Hip-Hop and fashion space. Today (Feb. 16), we’re introducing the Hip-Hop Wired masses to Clyde Guevara, a rising star who aims to channel his hardships into audio art.

Hip-Hop Wired had the honor of speaking with Republic Records artist Clyde Guevara from his adopted home of Los Angeles earlier in the month, and the Brooklyn native spoke in a tone that signified how much he’s endured over the course of his life along with how he is currently positioning himself as an artist with longevity at the core of his purpose. We opened the chat about his upbringing in the tough streets of Red Hook

“Growing up in Red Hook, it was strange at times,” Guevara began, taking measured steps to be clear in his description. “It’s a big and small place all at the same time. It’s big enough to feel like it’s the whole world but it’s clearly not.”

He continued, “It’s one way in, one way out. If you know Brooklyn, then you know Red Hook was a tough area when I was growing up and that’s where much of the music I make stems from. The emotion you hear in my music all comes from that tough upbringing.

Guevara’s unwavering Brooklyn pride aside, music was always the sweet escape from the temptations of the streets. While he did engage in some of the typical acts young Black people involve themselves in within the inner city, the artistry brewing inside him grew the more he delved into the art. Starting as a producer ahead of becoming a full-fledged artist, Guevara explained that his trajectory was largely born out of necessity.

“I always had that love for music and my production partner HARRY, who recently passed away, he wanted to get into production and I told him ‘I’ll do what I do with you’ and it just went from there,” Guevara said. “I got into it and I happened to be good at it but my true goal was to make other people better. I really felt my role was as a producer. I wanted to make people better like a hood Pharrell [Williams].”

The humility and desire to push others forward inspired a noble effort from Guevara and HARRY to develop an artist before that relationship eventually fizzled. Faced with a crossroads decision, the pair challenged the other to complete a song and whoever came out on top would be the next artist to push in their burgeoning business. It was then that Guevara made the switch from producer to front-facing artist.

Guevara moved west and continued to hone his production and studio work for other artists. The move would come after Guevara lost his younger brother JAH to street violence soon after his sibling was released from prison. The moment still shakes Guevara to the core, and we gently addressed the matter but he bravely stated that the loss is a motivating factor.

“Nobody expects to lose a brother like that, especially a little brother,” Guevara shares, audibly affected. “I was going through my own thing at the time but he was away for five years, telling me ‘yo, if you don’t make it,  I ain’t gon’ be sh*t’ and the whole time, I felt like I could’ve been going harder, but this moment sparked me.”

This coming Friday (Feb. 18), fans will be treated to a DJ Drama-assisted Gangsta Grillz offering from Clyde Guevara titled 486 Columbia St., named after one of the rapper’s past residences. This follows a trend Guevara set in 2021 with the two-track 75 Bush St. release. With the backing of his label coupled with his drive to succeed,  the moment ahead isn’t lost on Guevara.

“If nothing else, when I’m done with this, I can say I have a tape with DJ Drama,” Guevara says with a slight laugh. “Being a fan of Hip-Hop first, that’s the whole goal right there if you know what it is.  ”

Guevara concluded the point with, “I’m glad to say working with [DJ Drama] was important and had an impact, but more than that, I can say that I’m part of that Gangsta Grillz legacy for real, even if I can’t say anything else. I had to come in here and respect what Gangsta Grillz represents, so I went in with that mindset on this one.”

Clyde Guevara’s latest drop, 486 Columbia St. will drop this coming Friday (Feb. 18).

Check out “Old Me” below.