An interview with the Montreal rap artist following the release of his second studio album, Mascara Tears
CJ Flemings is growing into the best version of himself.
Since the release of the Montreal rapper’s successful debut album, Forever Wanted More in 2017, there was mostly silence from the artist across streaming platforms.
“I held back from releasing a lot of music,” said Flemings. “I still want to put all that music out. I just haven’t gotten to that yet, but hopefully in the near future I can share that with everybody. I was really just working on my craft though. I feel like I didn’t miss with this last project, it’s better than the last one.”
This “last project” is said in reference to Mascara Tears, the long-anticipated, most recent body of work from Flemings. The album was released on Nov. 22, the same day that Flemings opened up for New York rapper Lil Tjay at Corona Theatre. Despite the successful turn out, Flemings sad that he’s still in the midst of planning something special for his own show to celebrate the album’s launch.
Mascara Tears encompasses themes of honesty, love, betrayal, and heartbreak, showing Flemings at his most vulnerable. His drive to go the extra mile may have come from his pairing with Juno-award winning producer, Michael Lantz, who motivated him in the studio.
“I love challenges,” said Flemings. “When someone challenges me I’m more so like ‘Oh damn, you care about this right now.’ So I’m trying to get this, let’s get it right.”
Flemings did a lot of the work on his debut album, Forever Wanted More, alone. Though he decided to change things up on his latest project.
“On Forever Wanted More, I was picking a lot of the beats and I recorded a lot of it, mixed a lot of it myself, and mastered a lot of it myself. I just felt like when going into Mascara Tears, I met Lantz and he was very disciplined about the production and all that, so I dived into the best versions of myself and tried to correct a lot of the mistakes I made and trusted the whole procedure.”
The first song on the album, “Curtains,” was the first song that Flemings and Lantz recorded together after scrapping a previous, unreleased song. “Curtains” begins with a friend telling Flemings that he doesn’t see him anymore and that he’s acting differently. Flemings said he put in that snippet to remind others that there will be times in one’s career when you have to be selfish.
“I felt like I was going towards a direction where I really needed to care about myself,” said Flemings. “[I needed] to put myself in a vulnerable spot to show that there are times where you might feel like there are people who are distant from you, and it’s a problem, but if you’re focused on a goal and that’s what you’re working on, sometimes you just gotta overcome these challenges.”
Now that CJ Flemings has finally accomplished one of his goals with the release of Mascara Tears, one can hope to see more of the young rap artist in Montreal’s glowing hip hop spotlight.
Photos by Laurence B.D.