Born Clarence Greenwood, a child of the seventies, Citizen Cope's life journey is as singular as his art. He is the radically mashed-up product of Greenville, Mississippi; Memphis, Tennessee; Vernon, Texas; Austin, Texas; Washington, DC; and Brooklyn, New York. These locations are felt everywhere in his stories. His sounds are southern rural, big sky lonely, concrete urban, and painfully romantic. Rolling Stone wrote, "...Cope melds hip-hop with folk, soul and blues...and 'feels' this combination deeply....Cope's uncommon chords and harmonies combine delicate dissonance with unexpected flashes of beauty..."|
Greenwood steers his band's sound, serving as keyboardist, guitarist, lead singer, DJ, songwriter, and producer. He first broke into the music business by appearing on albums by Maryland-based rapper Basehead, and he used that momentum to issue his first Citizen Cope album, Cope Citizen, in 1992. Citizen Cope’s compositions have been recorded by artists as varied as Carlos Santana, Dido, Pharoahe Monch and Richie Havens. Greenwood currently records and produces for his own record label, Rainwater Recordings, which he founded in 2010 after deciding not to work with major labels any longer.
“Rawness improbably balanced by a mixture of danger and delicacy is what gives Citizen Cope his edge,” says one Rolling Stone writer, “As a singer, songwriter and producer, he stands alone — an artist immune to corruption.” The Washington Post called the D.C. raised artist the "city's most soulful export since Marvin Gaye."