In one of his last interviews Coolio speaks of his love for Dublin and how Ireland revived his mojo

Coolio had spent the summer flying in and out of Dublin to work with Irish producer Evan Kennedy


Eddie RowleySunday World

In one of his last interviews, American rap legend Coolio, who has died at 59, told the Sunday World how he had found his mojo after losing interest in music and was back working on a new album with Irish producer Evan Kennedy.

Coolio, famous for his 1995 mega-hit Gangsta’s Paradise, had spent the summer flying in and out of Dublin to work with Kennedy.

“Evan is a smart kid, a talented kid,” Coolio told me during a break while recording a new track called Notice Me.

“He pushes me in the studio and I respect that as well. I don’t have a lot of ‘yes men’ around me. I’m always looking for a kid who will motivate me. I take criticism pretty well, it’s not a problem for me.

“Evan goes all out because he really cares about the music. He cares about what it sounds like. He’s not just trying to catch a pay cheque.”

Coolio with producer Evan Kennedy and Versatile

Coolio had previously recorded with Dublin hip hop duo Versatile, who also work with Evan Kennedy.

“They’re my little brothers,” the rap icon said of Versatile. “They were the first kids I heard from Ireland that were embracing their accent and I respected that.

“Later on I had a show at the Irish horse racing track (Leopardstown) and they came backstage, and the rest is history, man. We hit it off instantly.

"The next thing I know we were in the studio. Then I started working with their agent who books their tours. It was a match made in heaven.”

Coolio also told me that he loved Dublin city and enjoyed meeting people on the streets. “I usually stay in the centre where the action is,” the rapper said.

“I like the atmosphere of Dublin. It’s an experience being in the centre. Not only do you run into a lot of Irish people, but you run into all other kinds of people from all walks of life and all kind of different countries. That helps me to write about all kinds of different subjects.

“I enjoy mingling with people. I’m not afraid. I’m not looking for a bunch of new friends or anything, but I definitely like associating with people.

"I’m one of those cats that doesn’t like to be alone. I get bored with myself. I don’t take myself that seriously.”

And Coolio said that he was constantly recognised while out and about in the Irish capital. ”Oh every other person,” he laughed. Just walking down the street in Dublin, in the course of a day I’ll take at least 50 pictures.”

He didn’t surround himself with security. “Most of the time I’m just with DJ Wino, who is my DJ and producer for the last 30 years…he’s like my DJ/bodyguard,” he said.

Coolio told how for a long time he had lost his mojo and had stopped making music and performing.

“I had a period where I wasn’t sure why I was still doing the music, and I hadn’t put out an album in quite some time,” he told me.

“Now I’m working on a new album and that’s not because I’m into the money or anything. It’s first and foremost because I’m motivated again to do music and I’m doing it for myself.

“I vowed to myself many years ago that if it ever got to the point where I was just doing it for the money then I would quit.

"Being around people like Evan and being around DJ Wino helps me stay relevant and stay sharp and keep my skills sharp.

"They make it easy for me.”

He got caught up in drugs, including crack cocaine, back in the day, and Coolio told me how he felt fortunate to have come through it all.

“I was one of the lucky ones,” the rapper acknowledged. “I’ve been through some sh*t. It wasn’t easy by any means, but a lot of the bad things that happened to me were my fault.

"I could have avoided quite a bit of it. I put myself in that position.

"You reap what you sow and you suffer the consequences of your actions.”

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