Nottingham based rap queen C-Mone is set to release a third and fourth album in 2022 on her independant label Dark Whisper Records. Leading up to the launch we thought it would be a good opportunity to reflect on the work she has put in over the last 25 years. The last time we spoke to C-Mone was back in 2006 shortly after she released ‘The Butterfly Effect’, so a catch up was long overdue. For anyone who is unfamiliar with her work, C-Mone started the journey by joining Out Da Ville, a super crew originally founded by Big Trev, alongside the likes of Lee Ramsey, Scorzayzee, Karizma et al in 1996, a year after she initially started rapping. She would then go on to feature on notable release ‘Notts Property EP’ in 2002. When asked about whether there could be future collaborations with Out Da Ville, she said “there maybe something in the future”. After working with the collective for four years she kick-started a solo career by releasing debut studio album The Butterfly Effect on Son Records to critical acclaim (making the Mercury Music Prize long list), which featured Nottingham counter parts Pariz1, Cappo and beat work from Nick Stez, Marga Boys, P Brothers and Barbie Analogue. She followed this up with sophomore album ‘Dancing With Mirrors‘ in 2011 featuring The P Brothers, Roc Marciano and production from Nick Stez and AR Mular. Beyond this there was ‘The Summer 2012 Project‘, an EP with a few notable remixes, as well as a mini-mixtape released in 2013, ‘The Monday Book Club’ that had her team up with different musicians and producers, a far more eclectic, folky piece which can be downloaded for free here. Others may know of her as Mike Skinner’s poor girlfriend on The Streets ‘A Grand Don’t Come for Free’ album or her work with Estelle, Morcheeba and Groove Armada, she also held the title of ‘Best Female MC’ at the UK Hip Hop Awards, clearly she is a hugely accomplished artist with a vast back catalogue, so if you don’t know you better get to know.
She is known for working with a variety of producers, artists and when asked about her favourites she said “Colin Mounsey’s ‘Let Love Win’ album collaboration on ‘Version 3‘ is beautiful I love that collaboration (it’s a must listen), ‘L.O.V.E 2012‘ collaboration featuring Yung UK, Skeme, The Ringleader Cizi, Papi & Face is dope and ‘Upside Down Girl‘ Sugardaddy featuring Jack Splash (Plant Life) is pretty cool too” (Sugardaddy is one half of Groove Armada and Way out West). She also mentioned her favourite recent single as being ‘Black‘ a piece produced by Atlanta based Buff Baggwell, someone she previously worked with on the book club release.
What are your thoughts on how far (or not) women in Hip Hop have come since you first started rapping? “I’ve been rapping for 25 years, time has flown. I started in 1995 and so I believe I have seen an increase in the number of women rapping, but I haven’t seen that translating into many women signing to major record labels, no where near as many males… and so I believe it’s time for a load of females to be signed to major’s as the female Hip Hop voice is missing from the global stage.” When asked who are some of your favourite females in the game? She replied with ‘Cardi B’.
So what can we expect from the new releases? The next (and third) album is called ‘Knock Knock’, which she describes as a comedy hip hop album inspired by legends like Dawn French, “It’s ten tracks, funny as hell and will be free”. The following fourth album is called ‘Herstory’, an autobiography out shortly after the third album, both set for release in 2022. Both are currently being recorded at the Pink Rooms, Nottingham and produced entirely by Barbie Analogue who worked on C-Mone’s previous releases. The two new albums surprisingly unlike her previous works will have no features, “On my two new albums there will be no guests. This’ll be the first time as I incorporated features on my debut album ‘The Butterfly Effect’ and ‘Dancing With Mirrors'”, and only Barbie Analogue will handle production duty, allowing her to produce a more consistent, cohesive body of work, intriguing stuff.
The highly anticipated ‘Knock Knock’ and ‘Herstory’ are set for release in 2022, this is seven years after C-Mone’s last album and will no doubt surpass all expectations when some incredible alchemy is delivered by the Nottingham stalwart, stay tuned.
What is your favourite song by C-Mone, do you remember Out Da Ville and did you know she was the hard-done-by girlfriend on Mike Skinner’s album? Tweet me your thoughts.
Words by Theo Specone