Kenyan artistes remember American rapper Coolio
In the song Gangsta’s Paradise, American rapper Artis Leon Ivey Jr, popularly known as Coolio raps, “I’m 23 now, but will I live to see 24? The way things are going, I don’t know”,
As destiny would have it, Coolio lived to see 24 and many more years before he died at the age of 59.
The Grammy-winning musician passed away in Los Angeles on Thursday. According to AFP, Coolio’s friend and long-standing manager Jarez Posey confirmed the news without providing additional details.
His passing on is a blow to the Hip Hop world, who have eulogized Coolio as one of the greatest rappers to ever emerge in the 90s. And also the person responsible for the Hip Hop anthem.
The song Gangsta’s Paradise released in the year 1995 for the soundtrack of the film “Dangerous Minds” won a Grammy award for Coolio. The deceased singer is also famous for the song See You When You Get There, which also topped the Hip Hop charts.
In Kenya, Coolio had a huge following among the older generation of hip hop fans, many of who fondly remember his tour of the country in 1997 when performed at a sold-out concert in Nairobi.
This explains why, the death of the American rapper has been felt here in Kenya by hip hop fans and artistes alike. One of them is veteran disc jockey DJ Pinye who has very fond memories of Coolio.
“I remember my first ever concert where I played as a DJ was in 1997 when Coolio came to Kenya for the first time. I had just come back to Kenya and deejaying at different establishments. That moment really changed my life. I believe before Coolio there was no other international act of his status that had done a concert in Kenya,” DJ Pinye said.
Pinye remembers that concert like it was yesterday. Coolio performed at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) and at the Carnivore.
“I think it was in the middle of his concert he called the local artistes who were there I remember musician Hardstone got on stage and people started cheering, Coolio then told Hardstone that he was looking for someone who is not popular and other people came on stage. As a Dj, I was nervous because this was the first time I was interacting with him,” he explains.
His fondest memory of the late artiste he says is when Coolio and his entourage while staying at the Grand Regency hotel their play station equipment got a shot circuit.
“Apparently there is a difference in electrical voltage between their country and ours but the issue was resolved. He would play basketball on his play station all day long in fact this made him arrive late at his concert because he was at his hotel with his play station,” Pinye said.
“I love music so much and the sad reality is that we are not having enough artistes who are producing music that will last. I want to say thank you to Coolio for giving us music that are Hip Hop classics that will last us until we die,” he said.
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For rapper Jua Cali, it was Coolio’s unique style of music that made him one of his favorite rappers.
“The good thing about Hip Hop is that in those golden days you had to have a unique thing to stand out. The song Gangsta’s Paradise is a song brilliant song, it just speaks to the genius Coolio was as a musician,” Jua Cali said.
During his career, Coolio campaigned to dispel myths about rap music glorifying violence and revenge and this, Jua Cali says, was his uniqueness.
“The song When you get there was also huge and the message there had nothing to do with violence. We all know what other rappers of his time like 2Pac, Xzibit were singing about,”
Rapper Khaligraph Jones also shared his tribute.
“It is sad he has passed away, he is responsible for one of the greatest songs in the history of Hip Hop, the song is a classic,” Khaligraph said.