Published Feb 01, 2019Clairmont The Second is becoming an ever-more important artist on the Toronto music scene. He's one of the only platinum acts who can claim 100 percent self-sufficiency; even notoriously featureless MC J. Cole had help in the overall process. Needless to say, being the sole orchestrator of a project isn't the norm. But then, neither is Clairmont's new project.
Do You Drive? Is an absolute gem, accentuated by the sheer level of artistry that he's able to put on a pedestal, both as the producer and the artist — on top of the engineer and overall captain of the ship. The eight-song effort manages to make an eclectic melding of sonic influences sound fluid and comfortable, while the content itself is rich, exciting and loaded with replay value.
The meticulous sequencing as he carries you from the project's more commercial fare, "Grip," into the deep musicality of "Grace" — with its unorthodox structure and Kanye-esque attention to instrumental detail — preceded by the almost Californian aesthetic of possibly the second strongest record, "Grain," is magical.
The project's vibe isn't about riding any waves — or conforming to what the current sound of Toronto has grown to become over the past few years on a mainstream level. This is the soundtrack to a late night drive through the city, filled with meaningful content and hyper-localized references that never regionalize the overall listening experience.
While you could try to draw comparisons to other artists, he himself says the only person who can put him in a box is his barber (on the song "Po'"). Do You Drive? is a jazzy, neo-soul, hip-hop triumph. (Independent)