Citizen Cope: The Clarence Greenwood Recordings

Recently named to Rolling Stone’s “10 Artists To Watch,” along with a sly name that spells of intrigue, Citizen Cope is about to dismiss any style over substance myths. In fact for Cope, born Clarence Greenwood, it’s quite the humble opposite, as he proclaims – “for me it’s about the song.”

On his second album, The Clarence Greenwood Recordings, Cope takes a bite from Eminems’s alter ego playbook, mixing fact and fiction. But rather than a straight hip-hop record, Cope fuses rock, dub, reggae, and blues into an eclectic effort that, although sleepy and moody, proves patient and drawing. His mellow, raspy, street smart voice introduces the listener to his troubled and passionate characters, and guest appearances from Carlos Santana and Me’shell Ndegeocello propel the hip-hop meets rock formula.

The lush, one versed “Sideways” shows Cope’s knack for minimalist orchestration, while “Penitentiary” strolls in the same lazy, yet chill vibe that enlightens Cope’s fascination with folk tales and films. “Hurricane Waters” incorporates his one man attack of guitar, drum machines and keyboards, while the first single “Bullet And A Target,” features strings and a striking chorus, helping make for a sticky hit. Meanwhile, Santana’s lingering lead on the groovy “Son’s Gonna Rise” ads a touch of familarity to Cope’s inventive hip/hop rock.

After honing such a crafty effort, Citizen Cope may either become the next Beck or fall prey to being the next Snow. But still, the young George Clooney look-alike has done well this time around, even if he’s only two albums deep.

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