Bring on the Fire: Co-ops Interviewed | Features

cooperatives is an old soul. It’s a term friends and elders often used to describe him, observing that he tends to have maturity and wisdom beyond his years. It is also a personality that he has come to attribute to himself. So it may be fitting to see him become something of a veteran statesman of the UK rap scene. His first mixtape, ‘Lost soul‘, recorded ten years ago with longtime production partner Talos, is now billed as an underground-conscious classic; one of those mixtapes that fans kept coming back to over the years, while the rest of the scene moved more and more towards the harder, grittier sounds of drill and grime.

Coopers’ own musical roots go back even further; in a house and kitchen in Stamford Hill where the music was still playing; raised by a reggae-loving mother and a father who always aspired to be a DJ; as well as a large collection of old VHS tapes and MTV videos, including classic hip-hop. “My sister and I were watching them, definitely some of the less explicit stuff than what I got into later, but I remember one video, like…Arrested Development – ​​Everda-yyy People!” he sings.

Darker ’90s rap came into his life a bit later, and a few years later he was writing bars and hopping to his homies’ tunes at a local studio up the street; producer Talos helped him write ‘Lost Souls’ primarily with the intention of trying to turn Coops and his homies into a modern-day Mobb Deep: “That’s how it started, really, it was a therapeutic process for us. We loved to write, even though we didn’t like school, didn’t like English – deep down we were really poets, but we didn’t see it that way at the time.

Despite all its qualities, it is possible that the music of Coops, like that of many up-and-coming artists, simply arrived a little ahead of its time. It certainly paved the way for bigger artists like Kojey Radical or Loyle Carner, who would eventually bring soul rap to the Mercury a few years later. Kojey, for his part, seems to want to acknowledge this debt, and the two recently found themselves in the studio together.

“Those were jokes, in fact, I was about to delete my Twitter, because I hadn’t used it for about five years, but just before I did, I checked my mentions one last time. time. And I saw Kojey was like ‘I need new music Coops like yesterday, because I’m greedy!’ And I was like.. what? So I contacted him, said he might have that Coops music when I got a verse, and then he waved the Batman sign back at me, like he was summoned.

Ultimately, Coops is just happy to be making and releasing music again, “maybe at some point I was isolating myself, not reaching out to people I respect and value. , or I felt like they ain’t been fucking with me since I was doing my own thing… and now I’m definitely stepping out of the space where I’ve been silent, and it’s a call coming together , you know ? »

Words: Louis Torracinta

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