Published Feb 01, 2019On the week leading up to his new album Do You Drive?, Toronto rapper Clairmont The Second is, more than anything, excited for people to hear his growth. The rollout wasn't flawless — Twitter temporarily suspending his account (he originally opened it at age 13 and lied at the time) and issues with TuneCore affected the release of his first single — but these hiccups only served as further examples of Clairmont having his hand in every single aspect of his career. From production and performance to art directing and marketing, his music is an absolute reflection of himself.
"I'm older now," he tells Exclaim! of his new project. "The music is better, the writing is better, the production is better — my ears are much better."
Part of his artistic glow-up, as he explains it, is the way in which he's learned to be calmer during the process of creating bodies of work.
"I'd be stressed out with making music and videos, and I decided that I don't want to be stressed. That's one of the things that is really important, especially when making a project, because you don't want to hate doing music."
Clairmont's learned to ditch the goal of appeasing any specific group with his final product.
"I'm not really trying to please anybody. That's a big thing," he notes; "I think, when you're trying to keep a fan base, you find yourself not being able to make what you want to make... you keep trying to fill this mould. I'm making what naturally comes to me and doing whatever I want musically. Hopefully, I'll have fans who are more interested in growing with me, as opposed to liking me for one thing."
Clairmont says he wanted to make an album that sounded like a late night drive, an experience he says recalls the period surrounding his 2014 release, Project II. The personal aesthetic he attempts to recreate is almost as specific as the album title's origin.
"There is this video of A$AP Rocky impersonating Tyler, The Creator on YouTube that really stuck with me," he explains. While poking fun at Tyler, Rocky blurts out "Do you drive" as a response to Tyler describing purchasing a McLaren. "It was an inside joke at first, but it worked perfectly," Clairmont notes.
The project is in many ways an apex for the artist, who describes himself at the top of his game, finally capable of replicating the sound he had in his head. "I'm at the level where the production is just top-notch. Capturing feelings and discovering new sounds is more natural to me, and it's easier for me to do.
"I'm very specific," he says with a laugh. "When I make albums, I don't just make a compilation of songs. They're obviously intended for each other."
Clairmont The Second's self-released Do You Drive? is available now.