After a year on EMI’s backburner, singer/songwriter Citizen Cope (real name: Clarence Greenwood) will finally release his much-anticipated self-titled debut today (Jan. 29) via DreamWorks. “My first album was a Cain and Abel modern day story, but when EMI heard the whole thing, they thought it was too controversial and sat on the album. It took me about a year to buy it back,” he tells Billboard.com. Representatives for EMI had no comment at deadline.
Cope may be known to some via his appearance on mid-’90s albums by rapper Basehead, or his contributions to various soundtracks and compilations throughout the past decade. The new album, produced by Bob Powers (D’Angelo, the Roots) and featuring a cameo by Me’shell Ndegeocello on the politically minded “Contact,” blurs the already thin line between R&B and hip-hop.
Self-taught and self-educated, Cope weaves rhythmic, poetic tales of love, peace, war and pain throughout the album. He traces his messages back to Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, and Malcolm X, and attributes his musical styles to Stevie Wonder, Randy Newman, Bob Marley, the Beatles, and Woody Guthrie.
“When I was a kid, I’d listen to music that would make me go ‘wow’, and I just wanted to give that back,” Cope says. On Wednesday (Jan. 30), the artist will hit the road for his first tour since emerging from the underground, supporting Nelly Furtado in the U.S. through early March.
Here are Citizen Cope’s tour dates:
Jan. 30: Seattle (Borders Books and Music / 12:30 PT)
Jan. 30: Seattle (Paramount Theater)
Jan. 31: Portland, Ore. (Borders Books and Music / 12:30 PT)
Jan. 31: Portland, Ore. (Roseland Theatre)
Feb. 5: Denver (Fillmore Auditorium)
Feb. 7: Phoenix (Web Theatre)
Feb. 8: Las Vegas (the Joint)
Feb. 9: San Diego (Spreckels Theatre)
Feb. 10: Santa Monica (3rd Street Promenade)
Feb. 11: Los Angeles (Wiltern Theatre)
Feb. 14-15: San Francisco (Warfield)
Mar. 1: Boston (Avalon)
Mar. 2: Portland, Maine (State Theatre)
Mar. 4: New York (Hammerstein Ballroom)
Mar. 6: Philadelphia (Electric Factory)
Mar. 8-9: Washington D.C. (9:30 Club)