Toronto hip-hop, rap artist Clairmont The Second toured with SonReal this past fall/winter across the USA and Canada. The 19 year old sat down with us in a coffee shop across the venue they were playing at that night to chat about his debut album, how he got started in music, touring and much more!
How did you begin rapping?
I started music all my life. I think around the age of 5 my older brother taught me how to produce and then I starting rapping seriously around grade 9, so I was about 13-14 years old. I’m currently 19 now so its been a few years.
Very young! and why did you go towards rap/hip-hop?
I thought I was better than everybody else, that’s why I started rapping actually. I’m like, ‘these guys are not that good’ so that’s when i started and then it became something bigger than trying to be better than everybody else. It was as cliche as it sounds, it was an outlet. I love rap music anyways so it was something I wanted to do and I loved what you could do in rap music. You can merge so many different genres with rap music, like jazz and r&b are my favourite genres of music so bringing that to the rap world was something I could do, I liked writing, I like rhyming schemes things like that.
You released your album when you were still in high school or after?
Um, I was still in high school, wait no I had just got out of high school
Why did you want to release it so young and how did you have time to make it?
I’ve been putting out projects since- my first album came out in 2013 so that was the summer before I went into grade 10. I was always a fan of albums and full length projects so that was something I wanted to consistently do so I dropped one in 2013, 2014, 2015 was a mixtape and Quest for Milk and Honey was 2016 and we did a re-release in 2017. I was able to do it ’cause I wasn’t really focusing on school work. I didn’t care about that I just wanted to get the music done.
Did you have the support of your family and friends?
Yeah, for sure like, obviously my mom wanted me to go back to school but I didn’t want to go so I had to kinda ignore it and still do what i’m doing and prove to my parents that I can just do this once i’m done high school. They wanted me to go to university but I think I told them to give me a couple of years and i’ll prove to you that I don’t need to go and now im on tour with SonReal, first international tour so obviously I didn’t have to go.
You have tour vlogs, and you’ve been posting photos throughout tour of every city in black and white, why the black and white aesthetic?
I don’t know, I kinda just felt that way even with the rerelease (of Quest for Milk & Honey) its a lot darker. I wanted the album to be, all though you’ve heard it before, I wanted it to be a completely different album. It feels different when you listen to it now. That’s what I wanted to do, I was feeling a little more serious and a bit more focused and I felt like the first branding of the album and the first branding of the things I was posting wasn’t as serious as it should’ve been, or I wasn’t taken as serious. So, with the rerelease I was able to do so and I wanted an aesthetic that would look good if I were to put it on a vinyl or something crazy like that, something that would live forever, something that is timeless. With the rebranding I think it’s something that will be remembered forever.
You released your album with 4 new songs, why those four songs? Did you have more?
I had a lot more but it’s crazy, once the album was done there was a week I spent making a bunch of demo songs. I have enough demos to drop another project right now but they’re just demos so I’m not going to do that. But those were the songs I was feeling at the moment, like it was kind of an update of where i’m at since I dropped the project the first time, so yeah simple as that.
You got verified on Twitter and you now have a Vevo account, how does that feel?
It’s cool! Twitter was easier to do, you just request a verification and they ask you why you should be and you prove to them why. When that happened I didn’t even know it happened. For the Vevo, so with the rerelease, I got an album deal with BlackBox and it’s official now so everything is moving on up. Vevo is cool.
On Vevo, there is now a video for your song A Declaration, how did the concept of the video come about?
So, A Declaration is a continuation of the video I have that is called Flame Princess that I dropped a year prior or two, the video is mainly about me getting rid, throwing away everything thing that was in the past. Even in the video, the first song is an older song, the outfit i’m wearing, everything changes once me and my friends get shot. I change my outfit, the music changes, the vibe is all different, it’s about letting go of the past, that’s what it is and every video I drop from now on is a continuation, it’s gonna be a long story, everything relates to each other so stay tuned for the next videos.
On the album, one of the new songs is 5000, tell me about it
Legit, the melody of that chorus, I dreamt that. I woke up and I recorded it immediately before I forgot. I dreamt it, woke up, and all I had to do was put words to it. For my songs, the music genres influence me more. Like gospel music, r&b music, neo soul music, that type of music is what kinda influences the way I sing over certain melodies. Yeah, I think genres influence me more than artists.
Is there certain artists that have influenced you?
Oh yeah for sure, like Kendrick is one of my favourite artists of all time. Then there’s my older brother, who’s playing drums for SonReal right now, he influences me as well with music. But I dont really take, it’s weird, it’s hard to say I take influences from, I can’t really name artists cause theres so many that I like that I kinda just take pieces here and there and I just mold it and turn into my own thing.
You did Do What The Bass Says by Del Bel, how did that happen?
They asked me to do it and I was like ‘sure’. I like their music so I was like ‘yeah i’m definitely down to do it’. They sent it to me and I thought ‘okay how am i going to approach this’ and then i knew exactly what I wanted to do. I thought of the flow and stuff then I wrote it, got it done. I recorded it in my house and sent it to them. Sometimes its just that easy.
Cool, I wasn’t expecting that, and when it came out I was like ouf this is good. Okay, let’s talk about tour! It’s your first tour on a tour bus, how’s that going for you?
It’s crazy I have a bed on a bus. I usually get real sick when i’m driving for a long time and I dont get sick here cause im always laying down and sleeping. All the long trips i’m sleeping so that’s cool. I think the worst part about it is having to wake up at the border to show your passport and whatever, it’s just annoying. I’d rather you guys walk on the bus and look me in the face to know it’s me, other than that its been pretty smooth. Its been pretty cool.
What’s the best thing about being on tour?
Performing. And meeting new people with different experiences and making new friends. That all comes with performing and if you weren’t performing you wouldn’t be able to do any of this stuff right. The worst part is getting sick, that’s definitely the worst. Its annoying like I learned how to properly perform on stage vocally so I don’t lose my voice. My voice was perfect for the first 3 weeks and then I got really sick, still trying to recover right now and the only reason my voice is gone is because I got sick, not because I strained it or any of that. That and weird people, like weird situations also.
What’s one thing you learned about yourself this far while being on tour?
That I can stay alive, um this is the longest I’ve ever been away from home and I didn’t know if i’d be able to make it through all the way so now I know I can do it, its crazy.
Do you call your family a lot?
Here and there yeah. I was actually, when we were in Toronto, I went home and the night before I slept at home so that was cool. I forgot what my room looked like a lil bit ahah but it was good to be back. Talk to my family here and there and this is the last 4 days of the first part of the tour then were off for 10 days then were back for 4 more days so i;m just really looking forward to going home just cause i wanna rest, especially with getting sick i really just need to power through these last 4 days like the ideal thing to do would be sleep until soundcheck, do the show and then go back to sleep immediately but i can’t do that. I need to edit the vlog series and edit photos and stuff like that, but im just gonna power through
Favourite song on your album?
44 Me, 5000, Girls Women Ladies
Someone you want to make a song with?
What’s one thing that’s on your rider?
Someone you’d love to tour with?
Kendrick, Chance, Isaiah Rashad
In the song ‘Do What The Bass Says’ you say that you don’t have your G2, do you have it now?
photos by Jessica Doyle.