Born and raised in the largest cooperative housing development in the country, Bronx emcee Clap Cognac is increasingly becoming a bigger player on the underground rap scene. The college educated Cognac has a fierce and witty flow that commands attention.
From opening for artists like Lil Mama, Juelz Santana and Bronx icon Fat Joe to his recent mixtape sponsored by Karl Kani entitled Kani Life – Blessing in Disguise Clap is on his “Bod Mon Ting,” which is the single off the mixtape. Clap made several appearances on BET 106 & Park ’s Freestyle Fridays where he won a number of battles and garnered national recognition.
Seven mixtapes deep, Clap took some time to discuss his most recent project, the Bronx’s Hip-Hop scene and his future. That said take a five and scroll through Clap’s abbreviated story.
YaBoy: Clap what’s news, tell people who and what you rep.
Clap Cognac: I am Camouflage Ladj Attacking Problems. That’s what C.L.A.P stands for. And the Cognac is the smooth but strong side. I am from the northeast Bronx – Section 5! My crew is called the Paper Soldiers. And grind ‘09 is the campaign.
YaBoy: You recently released your seventh mixtape Kani Life – Blessing in Disguise. Do you have a single you’re pushing?
Cognac: Yeah, I want to give a special shout out to my dude Karl Kani for hooking up with me on the mixtape. Also special shout out to DJ Bedtyme 357, DJ Blazita, and my brother DJ Superstar Jay. I am currently pushing “Bod Mon Ting” off the mixtape and it’s killing the streets right now.
YaBoy: Cool I personally like “Bod Mon Ting.” You get your rude boy flow off on the hook. Tell us where the influence comes from.
Cognac: My father is from Africa – the Ivory Coast – and my mother is from Jamaica – Kingston. I grew up more around the Jamaican side of my family. My grandmother raised me since I was four so I figure I put the rude boy side of my heritage in some of my music and that’s how “Bod Mon Ting” came about.
YaBoy: Ok, sounds good. Now you reside in Co-Op City in the Bronx. A lot of Hip-Hop icons have resided there like Queen Latifah and Kurtis Blow. Where does Clap Cognac fit into that equation?
Cognac: Man I am just trying to make my mark. It’s been a long time since we had somebody from the Bronx make a stand in the industry. Shout out and free Remy Ma! She was the last one to really put the Bx back on the map until her situation happened. But I am trying to blow my hood up so the whole world can know about Co-Op City, Section 5. I’ve been living here all my life. The other artist you spoke of lived in Co-Op but I am gonna put it on the map god willing.
YaBoy: That being said, it only fitting to know who your musical influences growing up was; who made you want to become a lyricist?
Cognac: I grew up on KRS-One, Kool G Rap, A Tribe Called Quest. When I heard their music it made me want to try and do it too. I think KRS-One made me become a lyricist because his words had meaning and it was clever and witty. He said things that the average listener wouldn’t get the first time you listened. You would have to listen to him a couple of times to get what he was saying. Also Big L, Biggie, and Big Pun – they took lyrics to a new level.
YaBoy: With your seventh mixtape out now how has your sound developed since you dropped your very first mixtape, Henny & Haze?
Cognac: What’s funny about Henny & Haze is my people put that together for me after I lost on 106 [& Park] in a freestyle battle. The material on there was raw and the quality wasn’t that good but it got the point across. But from then to now I can make better music. I know how to make a song rather then just be spitting freestyles for like 5 minutes with no hook. Don’t get me wrong I could have done songs when my first mixtape came out but I sound much more professional.
YaBoy: “Clap is bringing the Bronx back without watered down images…” was one comment an industry-head said about you. Tell Hip Hop Ruckus readers what that says about your persona.
Cognac: No ringtone happy-go-lucky one-hit wonder business is going on with me. Everything with me is 100 percent real. Like I am not just doing music a certain way because that’s what the audience caters to right now. I do music according to how I feel. It’s all about the beat and the mood with me. But there is no fake gimmick with Clap Cognac. Everything is real with me.
YaBoy: You’ve opened for artists like Fat Joe, Souljah Boy, Juelz Santana, Lil Mama and several others. What advice have these artists passed on to you?
Cognac: Actually when I opened up for these people I never really got a chance to holla at them at the shows. But what I take from there performances is that they have songs that are on the radio so the crowd knows there music. For me it’s hard to please a crowd where no one knows who you are. But it makes you better in the long run to have opportunities like that to polish you to become an all around better artist.
YaBoy: Where will Clap Cognac be in the next year or two?
Cognac: I will be performing over seas in front of thousands of people while they sing along to all my songs. I will be the next big thing in Hip-Hop. I will be a songwriter for other Hip-Hop and R&B artists – man the skies the limit, god willing.
YaBoy: Any last words?
Cognac: Yeah this is for all up and coming artists that are not signed but grinding to live out their dreams. I am in the same boat now as ya’ll – don’t give up. No matter how hard the times get or if there are people telling you like negative things to stop your dreams use that as motivation to make it because there is no sweeter revenge then to answer the haters by being successful. Thanks to my manager G Money, my Paper Soldier crew and to HipHopRuckus.com the roughest toughest baddest website on the net! Ya dun know!