For a few years now, Clavish has been a name that has got people talking in the world of UK Rap music. He backed up a strong 2019 Mad About Bars performance with strong singles in 2020, and even managed to steal the show on Nines’ “All Stars 2” album cut. It is no surprise then, that 2022, the five track EP that is his longest project to date, has been awaited with eager anticipation.
The North London rapper has certainly held up his end of the bargain, bringing an assured presence on the microphone across production that is smooth and understated. The project thus shows a maturity beyond Clavish’s years, while the preemptive title of the tape sets him up for what could be an explosive new year.
2022 starts with the melancholic, sombre piano keys of “Blue Plate.” The production on this track is minimalistic, using no percussion whatsoever, instead relying on staccato piano chords to provide rhythm. Clavish is able to effortlessly find the pockets of this stripped back sound, flowing in a tone and style that fits the severity of the backing track. The opening line is demonstrative of the tracks tone, as he raps, ‘Eating off a blue plate, thinking about Nobu, Novi, Hakka’. There is thus a kind of aspirational quality to this track which is backed by the underlying solemnity of the production, as Clavish wishes to move away from his past in order to get a taste of the finer things.
The mood of the project is lifted by the next two tracks, “Like This”, and “Jungle Mood.” The former track uses bouncy 808’s and hi-hats to bring variety, as this production once again complements Clavish’s assured style. It should be said that the rapping style of the North London man is what sets him apart from his competitors. The pace that Clavish raps means that every word matters and is said with conviction, whilst allowing the artist to maintain a confident and comfortable microphone style.
“Jungle Mood” uses guitar chords and steady percussion to bring a new energy to the tape. It would be easy with the wrong production for the rapper’s style to get lost in translation, yet he is backed brilliantly across the EP with an array of different sounds. If there was ever a microcosm to sum up the rapper’s style, it would be in this song as he spits, ‘In a foreign car driving in my own lane, In my own race, At my own pace.’ Clavish has a unique rapping style that translates to any UK Rap genre, as can be seen in the jump up of production intensity on the next track, “Bad Influence”.
The tape ends with the introspective cut, “I Ain’t Gonna Lie”, as Clavish raps about the difficulties in trying to quit the roads in order to focus on making music. Elsewhere, the artist raps, ‘I ain’t gonna lie, sometimes I can’t fall asleep I can’t believe my n**** died, Imma tatt him on my chest, Look in the mirror back to real life I’m kinda stressed but laugh it off, I’m okay cause what you gonna do if I say I’m not?’ This lyric demonstrates the mental strain surrounding Clavish’s past, and a stoicism in the face of this pain.
2022 therefore seems like the perfect next step in a blossoming career for the North London artist. At just five tracks, many will feel that the best is yet to come from Clavish when he releases a full length project, yet what he has created here is demonstrative of the fact that he is on the right path. Blending a variety of production with great vocal performances and a maturity that is beyond his years. Clavish can no longer be seen as a one to watch in the UK scene, and now is the time to try and cement his place at the very top.