Chlobo­cop is see­ing red

The police and patriarchy haven't stopped the 21-year-old Glasgow rapper.

At the age of 21, Chlobocop’s stars seem to be align­ing. The imp­ish, albeit forth­right and fun­ny Glaswe­gian has only been rap­ping for nine months – her first track Tina cre­at­ed a buzz on Sound­cloud – but she’s fast devel­op­ing her own dis­tinc­tive sound. Her woozy, half-sung vocals glide across hyp­not­ic trap-inflect­ed beats, bring­ing to mind both UK rap­per-singer IAMDBB as well as the ici­ness of exper­i­men­tal­ists like Earth­e­ater. Now, Chlobo­cop has dropped her first pro­mo video for the intense­ly auto­bi­o­graph­i­cal sin­gle 999. As the track sug­gests, life hasn’t always been so easy for the young rap­per with a pen­chant for the colour red. 

999tak­en from her recent Pay As You Go EP – details the moment at the end of 2015 when she was arrest­ed on drugs charges aged 17 and forced to spend six days in a Lon­don Road Police Sta­tion cell because the courts were closed for the New Year peri­od. We were dri­ving home, like one minute from my house, and we got pulled over and searched,” she tells me in the LVLZ radio sta­tion stu­dio, a hub of the Glas­gow rap and club scene. It was hor­ri­ble.” A dif­fi­cult two years fol­lowed, Chlobo­cop unsure of what sen­tenc­ing she would receive. I was los­ing the plot because I didn’t know what was hap­pen­ing,” she con­tin­ues. When I was sleep­ing, I had a fear of dying, and then I would have pan­ic attacks. I was just like, I’ve fucked it.

The 999 video was filmed in Den­nis­toun, an area of east Glas­gow she proud­ly calls home. Along­side Chlobo­cop her­self, the pro­mo also fea­tures a hardy-look­ing, mid­dle-aged man. He’s like an old­er ghost fig­ure rep­re­sent­ing my dad,” she says, describ­ing how her father left the fam­i­ly ear­ly on. I always get told, he coul­da, shoul­da been some­thing. He was a DJ – old school, hard rave – but then he was an MC as well. I think I’ve got the same brain as my Dad.” 

Her moth­er, a keen rap fan, ensured music was always in the house as she grew up. My mum’s seen 50 Cent six times in con­cert,” she laughs. And she’s seen Kanye West four times.” Chlobo­cop start­ed find­ing her own music at the age of 11 and made an imme­di­ate bee-line for Nic­ki Minaj. She was speak­ing about things I could sing out loud,” Chlobo­cop says. You know, not like suck my dick’ or any­thing like that.”

In June 2017, Chlobo­cop was told she’d avoid a prison sen­tence. And since August 2018, when she laid down her very first vocals at a friend’s high-rise flat in Mary­hill, she’s made a con­scious break with her past, pur­su­ing music with a fever­ish ener­gy. Her sev­en track project LiL’ RED RIDINFROM THE HOOD came in Decem­ber and was fol­lowed by Pay As You Go this April. She tells me her upcom­ing album will be a big cock­tail of beau­ti­ful” draw­ing on rock, punk and jazz, which she hopes will only fea­ture only women because, in her own acer­bic words, Fuck men. I’ve proven myself as a woman in this city and I just want to prove women to the world.” Per­haps most telling­ly, Chlobo­cop isn’t con­tent with her own tracks being treat­ed as mere back­ground fod­der, sub­sumed into the del­uge of stream­able rap. I want my music to touch peo­ple rather than them just to like the sound of it,” she says. I want to cre­ate some depth.”

00:00 / 00:00