Clip is a certified fashion scenester who’s shaking ass in the deli with Ice Spice and toured with Rico Nasty. Her own music exists in a haze of cloud rap and dubbed-out digicore: hyper-online emo alt-pop for hot girls. On Instagram in April, Clip wrote: “Although my Instagram can give off that I am living the life, which I’m very grateful for the life I live, I am constantly battling with my mind and reality.” Her new mixtape APPETIZER, which collects tracks that didn’t fit last year’s PERCEPTION EP, represents that struggle. Sparkling and woozy, it shields Clip’s vulnerability beneath layers of cranked-up bass. It’s like making your way through a smoky house party where music rattles the walls, only to find your best friend crying alone on the stairs.
On APPETIZER, Clip’s narrators are caught between outward sex appeal and inner self-loathing. She begins full of energy on opening track “yeahh(L’s),” raspy-voiced over a rush of video game synths reminiscent of Rico’s “Poppin.” Atop a menacing trap beat on “maybe I Am crazy,” Clip flexes, “Got your main bitch, she in the passenger seat throwin’ ass,” then confides, “They can’t relate to our pain/You either play your cards right or get played by the game.” If “yeahh(L’s)” was Clip in denial, “riot” captures her anger, crying out “fuck my fake friends, I’m slowly dying” over a shiny, throbbing beat by producer SACHY that would’ve fit in on Lil Uzi’s Eternal Atake. SACHY produced two of Clip’s biggest songs to date (“Sad B!tch,” “FALL BACK”), and they’ve clearly hit their stride together.
The most tender moment comes on “sandy toes,” where Clip sings about feeling untouchable as she runs across the beach, oblivious to everything except the peaceful, grounding feeling of sand beneath her feet. Though the heavy bass feels like it’s swimming in Jell-O, Clip’s syrupy voice cuts right through. Her songs have always felt deeply intimate, thanks in large part to the way her voice swirls in and out, layered with effects to match the vibe of each track. She has a talent for viscerally emotional songwriting, and in this way the tape’s brevity works to her advantage. APPETIZER isn’t reinventing the realm of gritty, foggy sing-rap, but the moments that make it special are defining for Clip at this point in her career. Her perspective and style are too interesting to get lost in the mix.