Say what you would say about Coolio, but he sure knows how to make a bargain. When Review showed up at his Temple Bar hotel, he was amused. Reason? The veteran rapper has just returned from Brown Thomas with four pairs of designer sneakers he picked up for a total of 180€.
Look,” he said, happily holding up a pair of size 8 black sneakers with multicolored piping. “Down from €175 to €20!” Twenty quids are an excerpt from anyone’s book, especially when they seem to pair perfectly with his Adidas tracksuit. And, with that, he put on a pair of brilliant sunglasses and said, “So. What do you want to ask me?”
Coolio is in Ireland recording some new songs for the upcoming album. He just put together a track with controversial Dublin rapper Verspose and proceeded to play the tune for me. Some with a lot of bass, full is called Step exploded from his Bluetooth speaker. He raps to his part, passionately singing to the beat. “It was a demo,” he said, after the song ended. “It’s not finished, but it’s very tight.”
He’s worked with Verspose before and is particularly enamored with the talent of one member, Alex Sheehan, aka Eskimo Supreme. The versatile songs have been widely criticized for perceived sexist, homophobic, and racist perceptions, but Coolio didn’t have time for those criticisms.
“It’s some people who don’t like them, just petty and mean,” he said, looking miserable. “They are two young men who are just trying to be musically active. They’re having fun, man. “
It was revealed that the band’s Casey ‘Casper’ Walsh was wearing a black face while a teenager didn’t bother Coolio in the slightest. “How many times has someone done that? Continue? Why did they pick these two boys and say they are doing something racist?
“What they do is not racist,” he added. “It was a comedy. They are two of the least racist people I have ever met. When all that happened, they called me and said, ‘Coolio, what do we do?’ And I said, ‘Don’t do anything. Ask them all to leave. ‘ But someone scared them off and they started apologizing. “
Coolio itself has largely avoided cancellation attempts. “If one little thing can turn people against me and want to cancel me, so be it. If I did something wrong, I’m sorry – that’s what a man does. But if I knew I didn’t do anything wrong, I wouldn’t apologize – I wouldn’t have been pranked like that. “
It’s easy to forget now, but Coolio – Artis Leon Ivey Jr. born in Compton, Los Angeles – was once one of the biggest rap stars in the world. In the mid-1990s, he was inevitable. His song Gangster Paradise was one of the best-selling hip-hop singles of the decade, and the album of the same name caused a worldwide sensation. The Grammy Awards ceremony came dense and fast. After years of hard work on the sidelines, Coolio has risen to success.
“I’m ready for that,” he said. “I am already 30 years old. People, I don’t know but when I say [on Gangsta’s Paradise] ‘I’m 23 now, but will I live to be 24?’ I was much older at that time. I had some minor success getting into the group WC and the Maad Circle, but this [newfound fame] is different.”
Coolio had no shortage of mentors in his early years, and one of them would become something of a hip-hop patron. “Ice T taught me how to be an artist,” he said. “He is my biggest mentor. I used to cling to every word he said. I had the good fortune to tour with him in Canada 1990/91. In the morning, when he wakes up to do radio interviews – when everyone else is asleep – I’ll get up and sneak into the limo. He let me do it. And I will do what he asks me to do. I was a team player.
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“See how he conducts himself in interviews, in public, how he dresses, how he creates his personality and keeps it. I was very interested in what he did. He is very strategic with the way he does things. So when I got the chance to be an artist, I was basically Ice T.
Even though he was well prepared for fame, he was surprised by how different his life had become. He cut a special shape then, as he is now, and he was recognized everywhere. “When you walk down the street and everyone else knows who you are and calls you by name and every fifth person asks to take a picture with you or wants to shake your hand or want you to sign something, it makes you a Super star. “
The Gangster Paradise The album sold more than two million copies in the United States alone, and as Coolio remembers, almost every famous rap artist was eager to work with him. But success was short-lived. A follow-up album, my soulwas only a modest success, while each subsequent release failed in the charts.
The rapper says that his luck is down is unlikely. “I became severely depressed,” he said, simply. He believed the quality of his work had not diminished and blamed some of the people he was working with at the time for not promoting the music as well as they should have.
He reached for his phone and played me a song he released in the late 1990s called One more night. He believes it should be as big as Gangster Paradise. “That song means a lot to me. It’s about me dying and going to heaven. I met God there and I said, ‘God, hold on. I don’t want to die yet. Let me go back, one night, and say to my friends, ‘Hey man, check it out: I just met God. Damn that is real. So listen. You all have to stop this bull. You will all go to hell. ‘”
But, he laments, almost no one can hear the song. “I don’t have [publicity] machine anymore – and if you don’t have one, no one can hear it. And that’s part of my depression. And there’s another song that I have, Sunlight… I think they are important songs. I think someone is going to go after them and win these records and say, ‘Oh my God, you guys have to hear this.’ But it never happened.”
His mood darkened. He named a DJ on a Los Angeles radio station. “That little one. He seduced me. “Coolio was asked to replace rapper Xzibit during his Japan tour, but it didn’t go as planned. These fuckers just gave me $10,000. “Whatever you do, Coolio, we’ve got you covered, man.” I said, ‘All I want you to do is be champion. this record for me – make sure everyone hears it, get me in the swing.’ But when I got back to LA, they didn’t even pick up the phone for me.”
He says he has made his peace with where his career has gone. He has his own TV show, Cooking with Coolioand he floated above Famous brother, but it’s all about the music for him now. At 58, he believes he still has a lot to offer and he says, today he has behaved himself in a way that makes his three daughters – “and three granddaughters” proud.
“I don’t want to have to go back in line,” he said firmly. I misunderstood, assumed he was talking about dole queue. “No, buddy! I don’t want to wait in line. I’m Coolio! “
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/music/coolio-versatile-are-two-of-the-least-racist-people-ive-ever-met-41858651.html Coolio: ‘Versatile are two of the least racist people I’ve ever met’