R.I.P. Coolio

Coolio died this week—just 59, way too young. Back in 1996, I spent a week traveling around the world with him for a magazine cover story: a live show in DC, multiple appearances on MTV in New York City, and memorably, a visit to a bookstore in London. The opening paragraph of the article:

Coolio raps for a living, but he’d rather ride dragons. When he’s not onstage or in the studio, he reads and rereads Anne McCaffrey’s series of Pern fantasy novels. “I think it’s her compassion,” he says. “Plus I like the idea of speaking to dragons telepathically.” So today in London, Coolio has cancelled a smorgasbord of phone interviews with Scandinavian journalists so he can restock his Pern library. Once he’s completed his collection, he plans to line them up in order and read them all yet again. Coolio strides into a large Dillon’s bookstore, locates the science-fiction section, and starts snatching McCaffrey’s novels off the shelves. He quickly considers each one before shoving it back on the shelf or tossing it in the pile of keepers at his feet:  Dragonflight, Dragondawn, All the Weyrs of Pern, Firstfall, and Moreta: Dragon Lady of Pern. But he scowls: there’s a glitch. “Where the fuck’s The White Dragon?”

After I tweeted out that paragraph on Thursday night, it went viral, so I’ve put the whole article up in my archives: you can read it here. (The text alludes to a provocative photograph of Coolio taken by Jean-Baptiste Mondino, where Coolio agreed to be strung up by the neck to symbolize the ongoing death of young black men. It was powerful and unsettling, which is what I think attracted both Mondino and Coolio to the image.)

I hope Coolio’s riding dragons somewhere.

posted 1 October 2022 in Archives, Articles. no comments yet

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