Atlanta natives Coco & Clair Clair come home

Coco (left) and Clair Clair (right) returned to their hometown of Atlanta to perform at Aisle 5 on Saturday, Oct. 16. The pop-rap duo gave a carefree, high-energy performance. // Photo by Priya Rajeev Student Publications

Halfway through their concert at Aisle 5 on Saturday Oct. 16, pop-rap duo Coco & Clair Clair take a break to shout out their hometown. With a smile on her face, Coco shouted out “Listen! You know how people will lie, and be like, ‘this is my favorite city’; I ain’t say that to any other city. THIS is my favorite city!”

The show at Aisle 5 was the second stop on Coco & Clair Clair’s recent string of U.S. tour dates, and the Atlanta natives had the small venue bursting with energy. It is not hard to see why. With a sound that has been described as “the soundtrack to your next night out,” Coco (Taylor Nave) & Clair Clair (Claire Toothill) rap and sing over spacey bubblegum-pop synths, with carefree, empowering lyrics about parties, being pretty and hanging with friends.

Their songs are reminiscent of rhinestones, paparazzi and the glitzy celebrity lifestyles of the early 2000s.

While it is easy for critics to dismiss their work as not serious or lacking in meaning, there is a certain freedom that comes with their braggadocious and lighthearted lyrics.

The audience at the show seemed to understand this too. Under the bright pink lights (“Pepto-Bismol pink,” as Toothill later clarifies during the show), a moshpit formed as the duo performs their song “Sims 2,” with the crowd jumping along to the lyrics “I’m in my own lane / Riding with the crew / Not thinking about you.” Coco & Clair Clair also attempted to have people crowd surf, which was quickly shut down by the venue staff. The two relented and instead let audience members onto the stage to bop along with them.

Even after running into technical difficulties with the playback during their set — Coco jokes, “this is what happens when you leave things to men” — the pair managed to keep the energy up, freestyling to their 2020 song “Smash Hit” and answering audience questions.

Atlanta’s rap scene is well recognized nationally, with artists such as Lil Yachty, who Coco & Clair Clair have previously cited as an influence, and Lil Nas X recently shooting to fame via the Internet. Coco & Clair Clair’s path has followed a similar trajectory. Following a string of viral songs on Tik Tok, including their 2017 song “Pretty” and a feature on Deaton Chris Anthony’s “Racecar,” along with Clairo, the duo found themselves elevated past the local scene.

The influence of Atlanta rap is clear in their music — the two have stated that their music is somewhere along the lines of “demon glam rock,” combining pop sounds with the energy of rap music. The pair unmistakably brought this energy to their show on Saturday, closing out the concert with “Atlanta Girls,” a freestyle by Coco and a rendition of Nicki Minaj’s “Chun Li.” The performance was solid all around, and as Coco & Clair Clair grow as artists, their genre-blending sound is sure to guarantee more high-energy performances from them.