The Hippo


Oct 21, 2019








Cody Pope. Courtesy photo.

Cody Pope CD Release Party                                              

Where: White Birch, 222 Central St., Hudson
When: Saturday, April 29, 7 p.m.
Tickets: $10/door ($5/presale at

A healing art
Hip-hop show celebrates CD release

By Michael Witthaus

 For Cody Pope, art inspires religious fervor. His independent company is called Vatican Life, and he believes the muse is a deity. 

“Whether it’s photography, music, painting or whatever you do,” he said in a recent Skype interview. “If that’s what you want your life to represent, you should hold it in the highest regard, the same way that people do their religion.”
The Nashua native began playing punk and metal music during his teenage years. In 2010, he moved from hard rock to hip-hop, inspired by hometown acts like Granite State. 
“I was blown away,” he said. “These were such talented artists, doing something so different from what we heard on the radio.”
For his new CD, Empathy & Emptiness For Those in Empty Nests, Pope enlisted Granite State’s Bugout, along with New Hampshire rappers Ape the Grim, Tim Nihan and Mike Wing. At an all-ages release show on April 29 at The White Birch in Hudson, Pope will perform the entire record with these special guests, each of whom do their own sets. 
One of the reasons Pope left rock was the volatile chemistry of band life. 
“Trying to get five people’s goals to align, things would always fall apart for one reason or another,” he said. 
Making the new disc forced him to muster a new level of trust.  
“I don’t typically have features on my songs, so to have guys that I looked up to featured on these records … brings it full circle, and that’s what I want the show to represent,” he said.
Empathy & Emptiness represents Pope’s transition from defiantly independent to more accepting. “The Hunger” describes the challenge of succeeding in an often unforgiving business — “if money is the root of all evil, I’m a saint,” he raps — while “The Fall” is a confession of sins and hope for redemption. 
“That’s when I felt the darkest, and I was struggling to see a purpose in life,” Pope said. “Without Vatican Life and hip-hop I could have easily not been here right now … that song is about being OK with the fact that I did things I’m not proud of [and learning] how to grow from them.”
The vitriolic “Last of a Dying Breed” is a standout track. Though it sounds pointed, Pope had no particular target in mind. 
“It reflects my frustration with things that continue to happen year after year with so many incredible artists; they are not willing to make the extra sacrifice to get their art where it could be,” he said. “As a fan, it frustrates me. … People miss out on things that could change the world potentially.”
The struggle to overcome is a recurring theme on the record. Pope reflected on this in a recent Facebook post. 
“This record means so much to me, and yet life has been such a wild hand of cards lately that it didn’t hit me til we were in the moment,” he wrote. “Now I can finally share with the world all of these stories of growth and strength, in a time where I’ve needed it more than ever without even realizing it.”
In addition to performing, Pope ran the Misery Loves Company showcase at Carlo Rose Cigar Bar in Pelham for its two-and-a-half-year run; he still promotes an occasional show there. He’s a regular at Shaskeen Pub’s Sunday Rap Night, along with Seacoast and Maine  events.
“The hip-hop scene just continues to grow, and I  could not be more grateful to be part of it,” he said. “There is so much versatility in the music that you can acquire from hip-hop artists, so you never stop learning something new every day.”
Some proceeds from the upcoming show will benefit the sober living facility Homestead Inn. The all ages aspect is also important to Pope. 
“There are a lot of kids in junior high school that don’t have the opportunity to experience this music the way some of us older guys get to,” he said. “It was really important for me to make something that was inclusive. … This is an event that is cool for anybody who cares about music, live art and community.” 

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