Coolio the chameleon
Reinvented rapper comes to Ketchum
By JENNIFER LIEBRUM
Express Staff Writer
Buzz for Coolio, the “Ghetto Gourmet,” started weeks ago and almost immediately stewed a sold out show.
Coolio is a lot of things—musician, culture stretcher, chef, reality TV star, dad—and when he comes to Ketchum at week’s end, he’s going to be performing for a sold-out crowd, which will make him very happy. But the success bringing his career full circle and landing him in the center of a ski-resort town is going to make him a bummed-out snowboarder.
“Right now, I am working on a few different projects that have me spread thin, so I will only be able to make it out for the show pretty much,” he said in an interview to preview his performance at Whiskey Jacques’, Feb. 28. “(Being there) is gonna be a tease to my snowboarding animal inside.”
Coolio recorded two unforgettable singles in 1987, titled “Watch Gonna Do” and “You’re Gonna Miss Me.” After connecting with the Los Angeles rap scene in 1991, he ended up joining the group WC and the Maad Circle, led by rapper WC.
In 1995, Coolio made a song for the movie “Dangerous Minds,” which was titled “Gangsta’s Paradise,” which became one of the most successful rap songs of all time. It reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks and was the No. 1 single of 1995 for all genres, globally. He took home a Grammy for best rap solo performance in 1996.
He then diversified into other genres and made hits from hobbies, like cooking. Proving his name still means “original” and “legend” to his fans, his show is sold out.
Coolio chilled for a few questions from the Idaho Mountain Express recently.
IME: What’s freshest in your world right now?
Coolio:I would have to say what’s freshest in my world right now is my new single, “Get Rich,” with my artist and business partner Goast. I am working on new music again because I have been refreshed and inspired in the past year to actually want to sit down and start writing what people need to hear as opposed to what they want to hear. Also, my Ghetto Gourmet Chef skills are still heavy at work, and I will be making a lot of noise in the world of food and cooking soon as well. Shaka Zulu Man!
Do you think music is the vehicle for social change?
I think music is a major vehicle for social change. I mean it really dictates modern cultures and modern society in a way people thought it never would. Especially hip-hop music. It has been the most influential genre, style, and culture of music that has impacted society and the younger generations the most over the past 30 years. Some for better, some for worse, but music is definitely a vehicle for social change and will always continue to be so.
What do you think of the new breed of rapper? Do you think things have shifted dramatically? For better, or worse?
I’m actually starting to like the new breed of rapper again. I was very disappointed for a long time with the state of hip-hop and where it was going. But today there are artists like Mcklemore and Hopsin who go against the norm and give hip-hop exactly what it needs when it has been desperately needing it most—truth. Even though Mcklemore is a funny-looking white kid from Seattle, he spits and it’s hardcore, in-your-face-truth. Hopsin’s “Ill Mind” is probably the realest song I have heard in the last five years. So I am really liking the new breed of rapper coming up now.
Things definitely have shifted in hip-hop. But it’s starting to come back to life now. Hip-hop was dead, but some of these newer artists are starting to bring the music and the culture back to life.
You spent a good deal of time in the last few years on reality shows. Was that fun? More fun than concerts?
Some of the reality shows I did were more fun than others. Don’t get me wrong, they were all very fun and exciting to do and try out. Reality TV is a lot different than actual film and movie acting.
Even though I love cooking and it’s my new passion, and I have been on some really great shows showcasing my cooking skills, music and the stage will always come first to me. I enjoy doing my music and performing in front of my fans more than anything. To be my age and to still have fans the way I do, and to still be able to even reach out to the younger generation of the hip-hop community, I am very grateful and I feel very blessed to be able to still do what I love, have my fans still appreciate and respect my music, and still be able to make a decent living doing so.
So in the long answer, the concerts are still always more fun than anything else I do.
So which Coolio are we going to see when you come out to Ketchum? New or old music? Chef Coolio?
You are going to see today’s Coolio bringing something new and exciting to my shows with my artist Goast & my sax player Jarez. I will be playing some new music like my new single, “Get Rich,” which features Goast. I will also be playing all of the old hits that my true hardcore fans love so much. They call me the “Ghetto Gourmet,” so you know I will be cooking up the heat on stage in Ketchum.
You will be coming the week of the National Brotherhood of Skiers. Are you coming early to ski or board?
Wow, I did not know it was the week of the National Brotherhood of Skiers, or would I have tried to plan on freeing up a little more time. I am a big snowboarder and I love to get my runs in when I can. But right now I am working on a few different projects that have me spread thin, so I will only be able to make it out for the show pretty much. Which is gonna be a tease to my snowboarding animal inside.
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