Clairmont The Second’s New 3-Piece is More than
Evan Dale // March 18, 2021
At the tail end of a short run of singles this year, Toronto’s – hip-hop’s – most experimentally masterful name, Clairmont The Second has reached a culmination of sorts – or at least another exclamation point. Upon the foundation built from 2020’s It’s Not How It Sounds – one of the most unique and dynamic projects anywhere in music through the year – Clairmont is now releasing a trio of tracks as an additional B-Side to the already expansive medley. Leading towards the B-Side’s release, he dropped two 2021 tracks: Hands & intres-ting – the latter of which now finds its way en media res of the short collection, and both of which blossomed further with dark and moody video accompaniments true to the broad strokes creativity with which Clairmont and ever-present cinematographer, Beee always craft new worlds.
As for the other two additions, accept this cliché: expect the unexpected. Clairmont, as he told us in a 2019 interview, is ‘…just not doing regular things and if [he is, he’s] still doing them differently.’ At first what may seem ambiguity is in fact stark clarity towards his adherence to the wavy experimentalism he’s always inventing not only to stay ahead of the trends, but to predict them – lead them – years in advance. ‘In [his] opinion, every album [he’s] ever made has been ahead of its time.’ We agree. And if you’ve ever heard his music, so should you. Clairmont The Second is the most wildly influential artiste du jour on the hip-hop spectrum, and an addition to It’s Not How It Sounds – his most refined work of genius to date – means more at three tracks than most full-length deliverables from elsewhere in the digital rap age.
The 3-piece starts off amidst the dizzying synth strokes that have come to define the introduction to Clairmont’s auditory universe. It’s within his layered, complex production – production that often turns into multi-part compositions track-by-track – where the differentiations between he and his hip-hop compatriots begins.
‘Don’t try and google this sample, I’m just a great producer.’ (Hands).
It’s not as if he’s mastered the complicated or simplified nuances of any sound from anywhere else through the hip-hop epochs, but instead, starting with his eerie synth strokes, has crafted a newer, darker sound for hip-hop to only one day catch up to. And from the synth strokes, as drum kit claps and hard-hitting bass start bleeding into no u don’t, so does Clairmont The Second’s voice. The differentiations continue.
Clairmont The Second’s voice – defined by an irreplicable qualitative pitch – is instantly recognizable. And what he does with that voice is second to none. A quick dive into an eruption of meandering flow, capable of mirroring the unpredictable changes of pace in his compositional production, quickly sets a precedent that Clairmont sits exactly where he thinks he does atop the hip-hop leaderboard of influence and risks successfully taken. intres-ting reaffirms his poetic, thought-provoking prowess in subsequence, again attacking an unnervingly unique beat with vivacious bars, albeit with a more subdued energy than no u don’t.
And lastly, a twist. With each passing album – each passing single – Clairmont has proven a stronger and stronger affinity for his sung identity. Towards, and eventually included in, It’s Not How It Sounds, Dream proved not only did Clairmont have the pipes necessary to carry a vocal bridge and chorus, but a track at length. And with the closing ballad to the 3-piece B-Side he delivered today, mi pce again proves his knack not only for a full vocally driven track, but for producing for the different vibe as well. Altogether, at three tracks, the B-Side drop paints in vivid color much of the range that Clairmont The Second boasts. A bass-heavy, hard-nosed rap introduction, an experimentally driven hip-hop anthem, and a removal almost completely from his rapped lane for an experimental, melodic composition bleeding with emotion and provoking thought about what’s possible when someone as uniquely talented and boldly raw as Clairmont The Second crafts so wholly to his heart’s own desires.
It’s Not How It Sounds.
Oh, and it’s not how it appears. Another visual of course is coming into play for mi pce.