Staying on your grind can pay dividends—Clyde Carson is a testament to that. The Bay Area native, who's been putting out solo projects and group work as a member of The Team for over a decade, enjoyed the greatest success of his career with his hit "Slow Down." The West Coast anthem remained on constant rotation on radio, spawned dance videos, and birthed a remix featuring Gucci Mane, E-40, Game and Dom Kennedy. Here, the MC talks about performing at Power 106's Cali Christmas, the reception to "Slow Down," his new mixtape and more. —Adam Fleischer How was Cali Christmas?
Clyde Carson: Ah, it was an experience. Definitely a great experience for me. It was my first time at Cali Christmas.

Take us through the experience.
For me, I think it just felt like a good experience to see different people and it made me want to go to work, man, to tell you the truth. I opened up the show and I had like 5 minutes. It was fun. But I was able to go and check out the other performers and look at their show and it just made me want to work. It just made me want to go further. It was a lot of motivation for me.

Obviously "Slow Down" is huge right now throughout the whole West Coast. Tell me about how that record came about.
I want to say I recorded it around November, December last year. Instead of dropping just one song I decided to drop a whole project. So that’s what I did with The Team Hell of a Night EP that I released on January 1st of last year. We released the whole project but of course “Slow Down” was the one everyone gravitated towards the hardest. Especially cause there was a dance to it.

When did it start to pick up?
When I saw the dance I was like, "That’s dope. That’s what’s up." I didn’t grow up dancing or nothing like that. It really wasn’t the era that I grew up in but when I saw it I thought it was dope. Then when I started to see other people upload their own videos to the dance and song I thought, "Oh shit, I might got something here. This might be bigger than we thought." Then of course ,when they started playing the record on the radio down here in Los Angeles and it blew up, I knew that I had a second chance and this could actually be a real dope song for the West Coast.

You used to live in New York for a little while though, right? Why was that?
I met Ty Fyffe. There was an artist who was signed to Bad Boy. He was on a remix record with a group called Dream that Puff had signed. It was an all-white girl group. I met them backstage. Ended up hooking up with Ty Fyffe there. I had gone to NY on a fluke and I never left. He signed me to a production deal. I was from the West Coast and I remember being there and I saw how clueless New York was of Bay Area culture. He was excited about me and all he kept talking about was, "Yeah man, we’re gonna have all these videos, with the '64s, and gangbangers and this and that.” And the whole time I’m thinking “I’m from Oakland, my nigga, I’ve never seen that shit in my life. Ever." I’ve never seen khakis. None of that shit. That’s why I went back with so much energy to represent the hyphy movement because hyphy really represented our culture. New York really changed my life. It was like college for me because I was there at a time that it was just poppin’ so hard. Being around Ty Fyffe, he had like 5 songs on Cam’ron’s Come Home With Me, he had placements on big records at the time. He was in the studio with Jay-Z to Eve to Busta, everyone that you could imagine, and for me that was huge at the time. I was from Oakland. I had never seen any celebrities ever. I hadn’t even really been to a club so it was just a whole experience for me learning about hip-hop and the industry. So I came back to Oakland with so much confidence. I was so juiced from seeing so much I knew what it took to take over or at least put myself into the game out here.

The STSA mixtape has been out for over a month now. What’s the response been?
Response has been good, man. It’s something people have been waiting for and they approve it. I been hearing positive after positive about it. That’s all I set out to do. People wanted to hear the music that they weren’t familiar with when I first got popular in the Bay Area. Then after I signed with Game, people had been asking and asking for that old shit. And of course you could say, like Jay say, “Go listen to the old shit," but if the music isn’t having the old fans excited, I still wanted to give it to them.

Are you gonna re-release the tape?
Yeah im working on some stuff right now. I want to put it out again with maybe four or five new tracks. I feel like people heard it, it’s only been out a month. I liked the response, but I think it needs to be pushed out a little bit more with more videos and more promotion and stuff. I have a couple more songs that I think are really dope so I just wanted to re-release it with those.

When are you planning on letting that loose?
More than likely January. Im finising up the songs now and am in the mixing process. We’re just trying to get some features and step it up a notch.