Evan Dale // May 2, 2020
Rappers who rap. That’s what it’s all about, right? It’s a skillset that not all, if not actually less than most rappers throughout hip-hop’s history have possessed in legitimate doses. And in most recent times, too often noted by rap’s old-heads but fairly founded when taking the time to sift through the melodic soundscape of modern hip-hop, poetry is even less accessible – at least when looking at the mainstream. But, with so many hip-hop artists able to release their work to the world through a modern scene underlined by the internet’s effect, more rappers are rapping than ever, they’re just harder to come by.
Buried beneath the mire of a popular hip-hop scene that has become one of, if not the most popular realm in all of global music if genre delineations can really exist, rappers who build up their craft from the pillars of rhythm and poetry are out there. More often than not, they’re merging their impeccable pen game with that of a more approachable, more melodically centric end game. The rappers who are still rapping are the true merging of hip-hop epochs past, present, and ultimately future.
How They Compare
Young Artists Ahead of their Years
There is something inescapably retro in the aesthetic of both Serious Klein and Clairmont the Second. One, a Ghanaian-born, German-based rap phenom whose bars, regardless of the track’s more hard-hitting club banger tendencies or poignantly delivered poetic direction, come first, The other, born-and-bred Toronto, reminiscent of the 2000’s mixtape era, and ever-pushing hip-hop to its outer experimental limits without ever losing sight of an irreplicable rap delivery. The two young hip-hop stars are rappers first, and both are so very ahead of their years.
How They Contrast
Vocally Adjacent Hip-Hop Artist
Clairmont the Second
Toronto Through & Through
Rap, Rap, Rap
Serious Klein and Clairmont the Second come from two very different backgrounds. And though the spectrum of hip-hop brings them together, their roots (among other traits) certainly leave space for differentiation. Serious Klein’s sound is, however, not outwardly German hip-hop or West African by the directions of hip-hop, alté, or highlife. With his 2018 debut album, You Should’ve Known, there are undeniable moments of exploring his roots: pun all the way intended – listen to The Seed and dive even deeper with its music video. But, the sound itself is of an era, not a place more rooted in globalism and the modern sound of mainstream hip-hop than it is tied to a specific geographic or past epochal subset. What his sound is most reminiscent of are explorations from other lyrically-forward rappers – Isaiah Rashad always comes to mind – whose roots influence but do not direct their overarching creative direction.
On the other side of the collaboration, Clairmont the Second doesn’t make music born of the gloomy, emotionally unstable, R&B adjacent space that his Toronto compatriots have become known for. He makes music that no one has known before – at least not in its totality – and that’s by design. Equally influenced by classic R&B and modern hip-hop stars; by YouTube, classic videogames, and movies shot on film; by classic BET and by gospel music, Clairmont The Second is a patchwork of endless and indefinable variables. In result, his music is unique, boldly experimental, timeless, and 100% him.
Proof in the Past
Fond of Working with Neo-Soul Vocalists
Produces All his Own Work
Neither Serious Klein nor Clairmont the Second have a stacked canon of past collaborations. It would seem the two – for the most part – have done it all on their own. And when we’re talking about Clairmont in particular, the fact that he also produces all of his own projects himself speaks volumes to his brash individuality. But, that isn’t to say neither of the artists haven’t collaborated in the past. It’s simply to say that both lone wolves are choosy about who they work with. And that’s a good thing.
Starting with Serious Klein whose canon is much smaller and whose collaborative scale is heavier by percentage; tends towards work with supporting Neo-Soul and R&B vocalists. His voice fading in and out of a sing-songy delivery on its own, it’s only natural that he makes music with others that can really bring a melody together. And in his more vocal-adjacent hip-hop delivery, there is room for Serious Klein to stretch that to a new reach when working with a rap god like Clairmont the Second.
Clairmont the Second is a rapper whose distinct voice is never in question, but whose affinity for bars and bars alone - though be them wide ranging in delivery - is pretty well documented and established. With Clairmont playing the part of the rapper-producer, spitting intangible bars over a beat all his own; with Serious Klein fitting comfortably into the same rapper-vocalist role he has fit into through his short career, it could be a collaboration of immense productive, vocal, lyrical, and rapped breadth.
How They Collaborate
Clairmont the Second Produces
Serious Klein Bows in and out of Vocal Play
Both Artists Rap the Hell out of the Project
There is a whole swatch of different directions that Serious Klein & Clairmont the Second could take a collaborative track – so many in fact that the two could deliver one of the most hard-hitting, thought-provoking, head-banging hip-hop albums in self-produced, made-in-house project history. With Clairmont the Second delivering beats so complexly derived from a mosaic of hip-hop, R&B, videogame, and film that they become only an outspoken image of his inner influence, both rappers would have the fertile ground they need to bring their one-of-a-kind deliveries to something worthy of their individuality. And with Serious Klein playing the vocal role from time to time, hooks throughout the project would vary in size and shape without ever even outsourcing another collaborative name. Finally, if either felt the need to bring in more talent for something specific, both Serious Klein and Clairmont the Second are so revered and respected for their hard-nosed skillset and burgeoning careers, that they would surely fold in more names worthy of pure Collab Elation.