Who is Coops? And what does music mean to you?
I’m 23, I’m a hip hop artist from north London and my lyrics are a way of self-reflecting and expressing my thoughts.
Your video for your song “Chillin’” has a 90’s vibe to it crossed with a modern lifestyle. Are you inspired by the “golden era” of hip-hop when making your music or was it a coincidence?
No it wasn’t a coincidence, I used to listen to music from that era growing up and still do. That’s the style of rap I like. The video had some film Noir elements to it which was a popular style for video directors of 90s hip hop, this is what I believe brought that 90s look (asides the track). Back room poker games, the seeping light catching the smoke through the blinds and seductive women (although not overplayed) were all noir references.
“Chillin’” is the introduction to your mixtape Lost Soul, what does the name Lost Soul mean to you? Why this name?
The systematic consumerist values that mainstream media promote piss me off, so “Lost Soul” is my perception of the world today. It’s what I see on the streets around me, it’s what I hear in the topics of peoples conversations and it’s in the music people are listening to, however it’s also about surviving outside of the system, needing to be outside of the system because it was designed to work against you in so many ways for some, that’s not just how I feel that’s how it is. Lost soul is a reference to histories of lost generations in a world that never seems to learn from past mistakes.
“Chillin” has soulful beat, who is behind the production of the beat? Do you do everything or do you have a collective who works with Coops’?
My friend Talos is behind the beat production I’ve worked with him for about 3 years now and he has had a large part to play in the jazzy boom bap direction the music has taken through his sampling selections and our growth together as musicians. Then there’s my boys that I’ve been around and rapping with from way back who also feature on the tape, we all drive and inspire each other.
When you created Lost Soul did you draw any inspiration from any other artist or anything in pop culture?
Good music continues to inspire everybody and I do continue to listen to and appreciate classic albums like Illmatic, Infinite, Beats Rhymes & Life, Hell On Earth and many more which hopefully comes through in my work. Still Lost Soul is a move away from overt influences from current pop culture as I am trying to break the mould not fit in to it.
You opened up for Nas in 2013 after winning the competition with Choice FM, what did that mean to you?
My first ever live rap performance, on the main stage at the O2 supporting the Hip-Hop legend Nas. It meant a lot and was a crazy first experience. I hope to have more like it.
Do you have any more live performances coming up this year to accompany Lost Soul?
I haven’t really been a live performer as yet my focus has been on creating material that I want to perform. I think I’ve done that now so I’m looking forward to getting out there and getting involved in the live scene
Who are your top 5 rappers dead or alive?
I don’t have a top 5 but I’d probably have to pick in no particular order
Tupac, Nas, Eminem, prodigy, Q Tip
What does 2014 look like for Coops?
Well the mixtape comes out on June 2nd so I’m just hoping to stay busy, start gigging, keep writing and maybe even earn some money