Clifton Johnson, known by artist name Cplus, is a singer/songwriter, guitarist, and pianist hailing from Oklahoma City. He has opened for headlining acts such as Joe, Usher, Tony Terry, and Mint Condition. Over the last two years, Cplus has continuously toured and performed live with his band, Born in November, resulting in numerous television appearances and online interviews. “Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend”, is the artist’s latest single. Cplus has built up ever-growing career from pretty much ground zero, and has quite the resume for a fresh new artist. His main genre may be R&B, however he incorporates flavors from hip-hop, electro, jazz, soul, etc. to form a very unique brand of music that is undeniably his own. What makes Cplus so distinct from the saturated market of R&B artists, is his artistic approach to his music.
Yes, as an R&B artist he also talks about sex and talks about love, the typical norm, however, Cplus as an artist takes R&B to a whole other level. “Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend” is one of those rare tracks in the mainstream that lets listeners delve into the artist’s storytelling psyche, and thankfully Cplus is an interesting person to listen to.
He does not succumb to the pressure of making typical songs, while his lyrics are much more poetic and meaningful. This latest single quickly demonstrates some of Cplus’ storytelling ability; his lyrics contain poetic substance, and filled with one-liners that are neither corny nor cliché.
The track is an episode that plays into a grand arrangement of emotions. It’s absolutely wonderful from start to finish. Its breadth is complimented by its vibe, which is casual and conversational despite Cplus’ ambition and prodigious skill. Almost every bar on the song contains at least one breathtaking moment: impassioned, soulful vocals, clever lyrical insight, smooth melodic flourishes. That doesn’t mean it’s a track for showing off.
Cplus is never trying to sing you off the map. His virtuosity is fluid, natural; it’s working in service of emotions and the storyline. The same is true of his writing, which remains mysterious and ripe for interpretation. Even the minor moments on “Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend”, with its understated and restrained percussive beat, brings all of Cplus’ qualities together in remarkable ways.
His inimitability — the combination of vocal skill, lyrical ambition, and stylistic versatility that makes Cplus unique — is only amplified by the way he maintains a low-key attitude while excelling at what he does. If you enjoy this music and want to hear more, you can’t just turn on the radio for pale approximations, as he is in his very own lane. Cplus is like an outlier filling a void.
The nuance and serenity with which Cplus explores his songs, places him at a remove from his noisier contemporaries. Simultaneously poetic and plainspoken, his performances are so arrestingly smooth that all of its unusually shaped pieces fit together as a seamless whole. In an industry of declining record sales and infinite musical choices only a click away, “Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend” is both a promise and an affirmation that Cplus has found his groove.