Clay "Krucial" Perry talks major signing to DOA/Warner, upbringing, and debut album 'If We Must Die'

A wise man once told me, “If you surround yourself with four losers, you will be the next; if you surround yourself with four winners, you will be the fifth.” Clay “Krucial” Perry III is doing just that, surrounding himself with four of the most diligent minds in the music industry after signing with “Drumatized Over Everything” and their team Tay Keith, Cambrian Strong, Nick “The Mogul” Brownslow, and Tyland Jackson. Letting you into the world of “Krucial” with his debut album If We Must Die, Clay features some of the top artists in the game: Trippie Redd, BlocBoy JB, and Lil Migo. In the words of Charlamagne Tha God, “The best rappers in the game right now are from Memphis,” and Clay “Krucial” Perry III is no exception.

This past week, I had the opportunity to sit down with him and talk about Memphis, his journey from engineer to full-time recording artist, and his future endeavors. “Krucial” grew up in Memphis, TN, and has been brought up in music, playing the violin and saxophone. Quickly finding a passion for music, Clay shifted his focus to engineering and spent sleepless nights at Track Nation Studios perfecting his craft. Throughout Clay's time as an engineer, he solidified himself by working with artists like Yo Gotti, NBA YoungBoy, Rico Nasty, and many more. Clay single-handedly engineers and records his own music; Clay “Krucial” is the epitome of perseverance. My favorite tracks off of If We Must Die - "No Introduction," "Homies" (feat. Trippie Redd & BlocBoy JB), "Damn!" (feat. Lil Migo), "The Hussle Theory," and "4TheDayiGo."

Nick: What's good, bro? Thanks for hopping on Burbs Interviews. Tell me a little bit about growing up in Memphis and what is your musical background like?

Clay “Krucial” Perry III: Well, I'm 24, man; I'm from Memphis. When I was growing up, my parents kind of put instruments in my hand, like the violin, saxophone...shit of that nature. And, you know, that was viewed as lame. So, I always wanted to kind of stay in the musical realm, though. I want to say around the time, I was like, 17, I became an audio engineer. That allowed me to meet a lot of people. I was still making music at the time, but the narrative was a little different. Like, the shit that I did seven years ago wasn't heard of at all; the pain music, autotune shit was weird to people—especially where I'm from. Being other peoples' engineer from the city kind of changed the narrative. Normal upbringing; it was cool.

Nick: Throughout your journey, you were explaining that Tay showed a lot of interest in signing you. When the time came, you signed and Tay threw the chain on your neck. What was that moment like? I mean, that had to have been a milestone in your in your life.

Clay “Krucial” Perry III: Yeah, it was kind of unbelievable. I probably spent the last three years of my life around a good friend of mine and Tay Keith's, BlocBoy JB; I probably spend every day of my life around him for like the past two, three years. I used to put his chain on, and I used to be like, "Shit!" I was like, "Man I cant wait to get a chain one day," and I finally got it. I see how it feels. He was the first person I called when I got my chain.

Nick: I'm guessing you built a pretty good relationship with Trippie Redd considering he's on your project. Would you want to be working with him in the future? Also, I think you guys collided super well.

Clay "Krucial" Perry III: A lot of people don't even know this, either. I haven't told anyone, so I'm gonna say it here. We're about to shoot the video for the song "Homies."

Nick: Well, thank you for announcing that. That's awesome... If there was a Mount Rushmore of engineers, who would you put up there?

Photo by Dylan Olson

Clay "Krucial" Perry III: Mike Dean, for sure. Everything he does is just fucking amazing. Also, Hector Delgado, who's A$AP Rocky's engineer. He's a really good engineer, as well; he's actually responsible for teaching me how to get credited properly as an engineer. So, shout out to him. Leo Goff is Yo Gotti's engineer, and he was very hands-on with me because Bloc is signed to Yo Gotti; a lot of people don't know, but he signed to Gotti and Interscope. So, when I first got around Gotti, I knew what I was doing on the digital side, but I didn't know what the fuck I was doing in these big rooms—knobs and switches and big shit. I didn't know what none of that shit did, so Leo was really responsible for doing a lot of shit. He didn't have to do that. So, Leo taught me how to be a proper engineer; I'll give him that.

Nick: That's awesome. I was gonna say, or are you putting yourself up there?

Clay "Krucial" Perry III: Yeahhh.