Credit | Zach Pollack

Clayton James’ most recent song, “No Thrill,” catches a chiller wave with its downtempo trip hop, putting the listener in a more contemplative headspace like the companion track released March 2021, “Burn.” 

The lyrics traverse future anxieties and current controversies with a humble frustration, giving space to feelings of paralysis and confinement with a thin hope that one day social concerns won’t be made into political positions. 

He raps over the lo-fi track: “The great reveal is coming / can’t make predictions yet. / I just feel haunted / and that’s a feel I don’t forget.” 

“I wanted to do a darker vibe for this project,” he told City Paper. He intends to release a few more songs in the same vein as part of a short EP before switching gears for the next project.

“I haven’t released a full album in almost two years,” he said. “I have a lot of time to make up for.” 

To him, making rap songs is about realizing you’re part of a larger preexisting rhetoric about racial equality and social justice.

“You have to have respect for what’s come before you,” he said. “This was originally music that was not against mainstream white culture, but an alternative from it.”

“Politics aside, it’s music. It’s art. It’s meant to be enjoyed. It’s a trip hop song more than anything else. I’ve been trying to focus on being less wordy and making sure my opinions are straightforward.”