Last June, an agent for Coolio quietly reached out to singer Christy Dignam at an Aslan gig to ask if he’d be interested in collaborating with the rapper on new material.
After discussing it with his agent, Denise McCormack, they decided to work together if the right material came up. Coolio was so keen on working with Dignam on the project that he even spoke about it in an interview last July.
But sadly, given the star’s sudden death after a suspected cardiac arrest on Wednesday night, the collaboration never materialized.
Ms McCormack, Aslans manager, said that Irish Independent how Dignam had hoped to work with the star (59).
The Dublin singer has recently had to step back from all work commitments as he recently fell ill from his treatment for amyloidosis, a rare blood cancer, forcing her to cancel a sold out show at the 3Arena earlier this month.
But Dignam’s work had caught the eye Gangsta’s Paradise Star during his time in Dublin last summer while working on a new album with Irish producer Evan Kennedy. Kennedy also works with Dublin rappers Versatile, with whom Coolio had formed a solid friendship.
“Christy should record something with Coolio,” Ms. McCormack said. “But we’ve been waiting for more information. Then Coolio did an interview and said they were working on it. But at that time Christy wasn’t doing well and obviously we were planning and rescheduling gigs so nothing came of it.
“People call and ask, ‘Will it be released now?’ But there is no trace.”
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The two stars had no previous connections, but Coolio had heard some of Aslan’s music and was immediately intrigued.
“He was doing a gig in the middle of nowhere and someone was playing Aslan in the background and he was like, ‘Oh god, who are you?'” Ms McCormack explained.
“And that’s how he got interested. When we saw the news of his death, we all found it very sad and it shows how precious life is.”
Coolio – whose real name is Artis Leon Ivey Jr and has six children – has been a frequent visitor to Ireland in recent months as he works on his new album and collaborates with plenty of Irish talent. He made himself comfortable, shopped at Brown Thomas Dublin and even performed a surprising rendition of his monster hit Gangsta’s Paradise at Conor McGregor’s pub, Black Forge Inn.
Rathmines coffee shop owner Jonathan Smith also met the rapper and shared a video of him teaching him Dublin phrases like “scarlet for your mother”.
He met him through Mr. Kennedy, a friend of his son’s.
“They were filming a video with Coolio down at Ringsend at the time,” Mr Smith said Irish Independent.
“Evan showed him this sketch we’re doing about Dublin words and the way it’s almost a different dialect.
“Coolio thought it was funny and he wanted to meet up, so later that evening we cooked some dinner together and I asked him if he would be interested in making a little Dublin contribution and he said he would be delighted.
“It wasn’t the last time I saw him; he was at my house for dinner in July of this year.
“I got to know him a bit: he was a really nice guy. He was dating an LA producer – DJ Wino.
“I saw him a couple of times after that at some gigs he invited us to.”
Mr Smith said he remembered him as a “very decent man” who was very kind.
Coolio said in a recent interview that when he is in Ireland he usually stays in the city center and loves the atmosphere of Dublin.
“It’s an experience to be the center of attention,” said the Grammy winner sunday world.
“Not only do you meet a lot of Irish people, you meet all kinds of people from all walks of life and all kinds of countries. It helps me to write about all sorts of subjects.
“I enjoy mingling with people. I am not afraid. I’m not looking for a bunch of new friends or anything, but I certainly like being around people. I’m one of those cats that doesn’t like being alone.
“I bore myself. I don’t take myself that seriously.”
He collaborated with Dublin rappers Versatile on their 2019 release getaway car This included a video featuring the Ringsend apartments, in which he dubbed the area “the Compton of Europe.”
He said Versatile’s Casey Walsh and Alex Sheehan were like his little brothers. “They were the first kids I heard from Ireland adopting their accent and I respected that. Later I had a show at Irish Racecourse (Leopardstown) and they came backstage and the rest is history man. We hit it off straight away.”
Versatile, who performed with Coolio at the 3Arena in 2019, paid tribute to the star, saying last night that “our hearts are completely broken” following his sudden death.
Share an excerpt from his 2006 hit One more nightOn their Instagram they posted a picture and a clip with Coolio with the message: “Fly high brother.”
A video showed them toasting with Coolio as he said “Sláinte, brother,” adding there was “non-stop laughter while we were with you.”
“Thanks for all the messages to everyone, I’ll get back to you once I’ve gotten through this,” said Casey Walsh.
Marty Whelan also shared his own tribute to the star, who made an unlikely appearance on RTÉ’s afternoon show open house.
Archival footage went viral on Twitter yesterday. It featured some of the program’s crew being drafted as backup dancers. Whelan said he remembered Coolio “with great fondness.”
https://www.independent.ie/style/celebrity/celebrity-features/coolios-irish-connections-how-gangstas-paradise-rapper-planned-to-record-with-aslan-42028153.html Coolio’s Irish connections – how the Gangsta’s Paradise rapper planned to record with Aslan