American hip-hop legend Coolio has hailed Canberra’s light-rail project as “dope” and told Yarralumla residents concerned their suburb could turn into a ghetto that it probably already is one.
The rapper, otherwise known as Artis Leon Ivey Jr and famous for the timeless classic Gangsta’s Paradise, has weighed in on some of Canberra’s more contentious urban planning issues ahead of his upcoming Australian tour.
While members of the ACT Legislative Assembly continue to trade blows over the viability of a light rail network in Canberra, the boy from Compton remained steadfast in his commitment to horizontal electric transportation.
“I think a light rail system is dope,” he told the Canberra Times.
“It's a very inexpensive form of transportation and very easy to get around, so yes, it's dope.”
But Coolio, a man with diverse credits including the creation of the Ghetto Gourmet cuisine, didn't stop there.
The dreadlocked rapper had some advice for Yarralumla residents worried their leafy suburb will be transformed into a “ghetto of crime and god knows what else” by the residential development of the former Canberra Brickworks.
“Don't worry about that because if you are it's probably already a ghetto,” he said.
“If you growing and coming up in the hood find a way to make it better or find a way to get out Shaka Zulu!!”
In his emailed responses to a range of questions, Coolio also had plenty to say about Australian hip-hop star Iggy Azalea whose track Fancy has risen to the tops of the US charts.
“I like her story of coming to America, she raps like she is from the south and she can get it so tell her I said ‘back it now back it now’,” he said.
Coolio, who has sold more than 18 million records and starred in two seasons of Celebrity Big Brother in the US, said his enthusiasm for the song Gangsta’s Paradise refuses to wane after nearly 20 years.
“It's a really good song,” he said.
“Every time I perform it it's like doing it for the first time. Every crowd is different so every time I perform it's different so no, I don't get sick of it.”
Coolio also shared hairstyle tips with the Canberra Times and said his trademark hairstyle was inspired by his continual frustration with his braids curling up at the ends.
“One day I told the person that braids my hair to braided [sic] my hair up and then ‘BAM!’, my hair was in the air,” he said.
Coolio said Canberrans can expect an entertaining night and “a real hip hop show” when he performs at Transit Bar on August 4.
“Of course I've got the goods," he said. "I been in this industry for a long time and consistently been working."
- with Erika Bacon