C Letter Spotlight: Cony
The moment that Cony first instructed my ex to stay “big mad” is a clear one. I was driving to grab some pre #dayjobbchronicles coffee and playing Right Now at the recommendation of Amber Le’. Nearly fifteen minutes of electro-tinged crooning later he had earned a permanent spot on my car’s playlist.
For the return of The C Letter Spotlight series I spoke with the artist who was willing to beg at a time where a watched Instastory constituted “effort.” We discussed keeping with his circle small, suffering from overthinking, and the importance of putting your work out there.
“I'd rather lose the argument than lose that person,” stated Cony, unabashed about the post-millennial Keith Sweat themes in his work.
My musical attention span being what it is, it took a while before I would get through the rest of the album. But eventually “Some Type Of Way,” and “Bottles” joined “Cater To You,” at the forefront of my Tidal app. The music was textured and effervescent. It was also familiar.
The messaging however was not. While the lyrics spat out by would be proto-R&B superstars read like extended subtweets there was a clear sentiment in Cony’s collection of songs. “Please don’t leave,” replaced “You Already Know I’m Out Here,” and soon I was curious about the person pleading from the speakers of my Ford Fusion.
His willingness to speak up has earned him a coveted spot in the rotation of DJ Drewski, a veteran tastemaker whose Love & Hip Hop stint has everybody sexy walking in his direction. But while other artists digitally elbow one another to prove their relevance Cony credits his buzz to, trying “to keep it inside the circle.” He prefers to work with a core group of collaborators instead of clamoring for features, an attitude likely to change as his career grows but refreshingly true to the personality he lets leak on his social accounts.
“I didn’t realize the album was already done because I just kept recording. My intention wasn’t to make radio records. I’m just like these are vibes that I’m on. This is where I was at.”
He also appears to be more impressed by supporters that really engage with his content than the clout that comes with radio spins. He refuses to cultivate a persona in order to gain attention. “I refuse like I feel like I’m gonna always beat whoever because of my work ethic.”
“I don’t try to fake it. I don’t say fuck females they bitches and hoes and shit. Everybody saying the same thing it's a different beat. I don’t talk about the streets ‘cause I don’t come from that. I don’t talk about guns cause I don’t come from that.”
Despite the music industry shifting to create space for the anti-tough guy, building a career from the ground up can still place one in sticky situations. His reputation as a, “pretty nigga,” who focuses on intimate subject invites criticism. Protecting himself from the downside of his growing popularity is a struggle. His raw emotions have been laid bare in many an IG live and story session, something that appears to be par for the course for artists that are women but is still considered taboo among men.
Our conversation is punctuated with the slamming of weights at his local Planet Fitness, somewhere he admits he retreats to when he needs to keep his mind busy. He is resolved to balance his commitment to transparency with the need self-care citing Eminem, and Machine Gun Kelly as artists whose struggles have enhanced their talent instead of overshadowing it. "People are going to judge you either way. A lot of people keep a lot of things in. I keep telling people I’m the voice of the voiceless. I speak for the ones thats broken or the ones that can’t be heard you know? I’m just trying to save the broken souls and the broken hearts.”
Those broken hearts often belong to women. “A lot of females fuck with my music, because I speak for the relationship. I’m saying a lot of things that they want to hear from their boyfriends.” Women like Le’ often lead the pack in the Jersey music scene placing artists like Cony at the top of the heap. “As males when something is hot, we're not going to say it, like we follow females. If they think its hot then we think its hot too it's females who run the world.” His upcoming project’s music is deceptively trendy but the lyrics echo the vulnerability that has served him well. He has even invited some young women to join him in the both and express their feelings on relationships taking what he calls a “different approach” to the status quo.
“I’ve got a lot of female artists on there,” he proudly reports.
Coney plans to use his next project Moments to expand on the vulnerability of his previous work and find a way to continue creating genuine connections with those who support him.
“Somebody has to do it God wouldn’t create us as humans with emotions if he didn’t want us to use it, and that’s how you now that you’re human.”
Looks like my ex is getting something else to be mad about pretty soon.