Montana State University-Northern students and fans — and music lovers — have a chance to watch two homecomings during Havre Festival Days this year.
The day before the Lights football team plays its homecoming game against Dickinson State University, former Lights basketball player Clinton Shelton is performing a homecoming hip-hop concert Sept. 20.
“We’re planning a big event,” Shelton said, adding that he hopes to play some of his jams at the show and “bring a breath of fresh air up there.”
Part of his project in Havre includes filming for an upcoming video, he added.
Shelton, a native of Newark, N.J, came to Havre on a basketball scholarship to play for Northern. Since he left in 2010, he has been breaking into the hip-hop music scene, with one of his songs, “Life Isn’t Fair,” accumulating nearly 13,000 hits on YouTube since he posted it in April 2011, with more videos posted on YouTube from his upcoming album “C.O.O.L.,” which he plans to release in October, and nearly nonstop concerts on the road.
“What haven’t we done,” Shelton asked.
He said he and his compatriots — including his friend and fellow hip-hop artist Myke Bogan, who will be at the Northern homecoming show — make up a group that calls itself The Daltons. They have had some shows with some big names, including with Snoop Lion, formerly known as Snoop Dogg, and his group the Dog Pound.
He said he and Bogan will be coming to Havre after performing with up-and-coming hip-hop artist Dizzy Wright in Portland, Ore ., and will go from Havre to a show in Missoula — after watching the Lights-Dickinson State matchup Sept. 21.
“Missoula, that’s (Myke performing), but we move as a pack,” he said about The Daltons.
He said he grew up around music and would be standing on the corner rapping in Newark when he was 9, but he never planned to go into the business.
While he was in Havre, he said, he might rap for people at parties after games, but it was nothing serious.
“Havre wasn’t too open to hip-hop, as far as the bars are concerned,” he said.
Then Eric “Paul Finch” Andreson persuaded him to join a group and record an album in a Havre basement, and “Skye Bigg Nation” was born.
“We sold like 200 copies at $10 a pop (at the Great Northern Fair),” Shelton said.
He also did perform in a local bar — the VWF Club — after producing that album.
“My first-ever performance was in Havre … ,” Shelton said. “We had a $25 dollar mike. We’ve come a long way.”
That success sparked him, he said, made him think he could make it in the entertainment business.
“I took a leap of faith, decided I wanted to do music,” Shelton said. “I left in spring 2010. So far, it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.”
He now owns his own business in Billings, Play Hard Entertainment, and tours from there, he said.
“This is where the mail gets sent,” Shelton said. “I love Montana. MSU-Northern made that possible.
“We’re here probably 20 days of the month, then we hit the road again,” he added.
The group uses the Internet and social media extensively, with a website for their artist development company at http://www.thesoundlapse.com, facebook pages for Shelton and Bogan and their compatriots and businesses and projects including Skye Bigg Nation and Play Hard Entertainment, and posting their videos on YouTube.
He said he still uses what he learned playing basketball at Northern every day.
“Pretty much, it was doing whatever I had to do to win,” Shelton said. “It’s crazy ’cause I still use that. Whatever I do in life, I use that whatever-it-takes attitude.”
Tickets for the Havre show are $10 for adults, $5 for students. For more information, people can call the Northern Information Desk at 265-3561 or the Northern Alumni Association Office at 265-3770.