Clarence Greenwood—aka Citizen Cope—has been combining rap and rock for well over a decade, and more recently has made his mark on the singer-songwriter landscape with molasses-thick vocals and soulful tracks perfect for outdoor concerts in the dead of summer.
Historically, Cope's recordings have aimed for positivity while simultaneously mining the depths of human struggles—like the ambling orchestral title track from 2012's One Lovely Day, which offers a ray of hope for the downtrodden. But some of his best work comes via gritty, unsettling social commentaries, like when he sings about people's fruitless efforts to get out from behind "life's Eight Ball" on the hip-hop-tinged rock track "Bullet and a Target."
Cope acts as a messenger of sorts with his music, proclaiming an uplifting gospel of possibilities and also providing chilling reminders of the crushing obstacles that lurk around every corner. He does so in a diverse way that listeners of a number of genres can get behind.
Citizen Cope plays the Wilma Wed., Sept. 25. Doors open at 7 PM, show at 8. $31/$27.50 advance at Rockin Rudy's and ticketweb.com.