There was a time when rockers who incorporated hip-hop elements really stood out in the crowd. But these days, so many rockers live and breathe hip-hop that it comes as no surprise when someone brings an obvious hip-hop influence to an alternative rock foundation. Clarence Greenwood, aka Citizen Cope, is such an artist; hip-hop has always been a strong influence for the Brooklyn resident (by way of Memphis and Washington, D.C.), and his hip-hop-ish (and R&B-ish) inclinations don't let up a bit on The RainWater LP. It isn't as though Greenwood inundates listeners with rapping on this early-2010 release; Greenwood is a singer/songwriter, not a rapper. But from Greenwood's rhythmic leanings to his vocabulary, there is no overlooking the hip-hop sensibilities that assert themselves on introspective tracks such as "Lifeline," "I Couldn't Explain Why," and "Keep Askin'." Greenwood's albums have tended to be melancholy and bluesy, and The RainWater LP is no exception. But while The RainWater LP isn't a stylistic departure from previous Citizen Cope releases, the good news is that it is one of Greenwood's more consistent efforts. Greenwood has had his share of what could be described as "remote control CDs" -- that is, they are uneven CDs that inspire the listener to keep a remote control close by so that he/she can easily skip from track to track instead of listening to the CD nonstop from start to finish. Typically, "remote control CDs" have memorable tracks as well as forgettable ones. But The RainWater LP, it turns out, is a Citizen Cope CD that the listener can enjoy from beginning to end without having to reach for the remote control constantly. This time, Citizen Cope doesn't let listeners down.
The RainWater LP Review
by Alex Henderson