Clairmont The Second doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but it’s his real name—no gimmicks. Clairmont doesn’t have much time to talk to me on the phone, so I have to call him during his spare period of high school, where he is currently enrolled until he graduates at the end of this year. His current day-to-day is typical for a teenager in Toronto, filled with the same mundane activities that most other 17-year olds have no choice but enjoy, like going to class and playing basketball extracurricularly. But Clairmont The Second doesn’t want to have a typical teenager’s life anymore, which is why he’s putting all of his efforts into music.
Clairmont’s second ever project is imaginatively titled Project II and can be best described as being a post-Chance The Rapper, post-Acid Rap release. “I love it but I hate it at the same time” says Clairmont when asked about the comparisons to Chance, whose 2012 mixtape ignited the internet. “He’s one of my favourite artists and he’s a big inspiration, but I also want to be my own person.” But outside of the Chicago native, Clairmont counts some of his hometown Toronto peers as inspiration as well. “I listen to a lot of everything, but during this album I was listening to a lot of bizZarh, Dom Kennedy, and The OBGMs.” Clairmont recorded this project in the comfort of his own bedroom, which he has recently remodelled to help him achieve a better state of relaxation. “It’s a good environment and very chill space. I think better when I’m more relaxed and I’m more effective.”
Most of the raps on Project II are centred around the same tropes you’d expect an 17-year old to rap about: relationships with girls, the perceived invalidity of high school, and how terrible it is to take the bus. But the way that these seemingly insignificant topics get woven together through Clairmont’s sparse narration that builds into a sudden crescendo keeps the listener entertained throughout the tape. He also produced most of the tape on his own, adding to the already impressive laundry list of tasks associated with the project. With no classic training, Clairmont is learning lessons in unlikely places. “I have an orchestra class that I take this semester in high school, but it’s not really teaching me anything. It’s teaching me what not to do.”
When asked what he hopes people take away from this album, he pauses for long enough for me to assume the call has dropped. “I want them to take away that I’m mature for my age and ahead of my time. And that I can actually make music that's not like anything else.”
Photo courtesy of Devon Little