Rapper Clayton James grows up on Rise and Shine

Wake Up

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James' latest mixtape was released on Feb. 7 - JULIANNA ANGELO
  • Julianna Angelo
  • James' latest mixtape was released on Feb. 7
Rapper Clayton James released his new album, Rise and Shine, on Feb. 7.

In it, James writes about a portion of life people don't necessarily know they're experiencing until they do: the transition of young adulthood into adulthood. It's a time that's marked by feelings, growth, and maturity alongside those of tumult, fun, and self-definition. James successfully captures this in his album through lyricism and the range of sounds presented in each track.


The second track, “Cheer Up,” is a relatable jam with a self-referential hook. “Cheer up, Clayton James,” is repeated by a group to bring the verses together. It's an upbeat and candid song that includes quips about life in Charleston, going out, and enjoying the moment with friends after being pulled out of self-imposed isolation.
Through this eight track project, James writes about what he knows. He braids together narratives of his own mental health struggles, his family history and dynamic, and life in Charleston to create a very personal account of his transition out of adolescence and into a more defined self that we hear today.



“Never Knew,” the sixth track on the album, does just that. It stands out from the rest, and serves as the microcosm of the themes expressed throughout the album. The song begins with an acoustic guitar sample and features James' singing a nice melody in the chorus, something we don't get in the rest of the album. The song tackles loss and change and defines this mature transition that the entire album alludes to.

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