Iowa rock-rapper Coolzey
is releasing two albums, Search for the Hip Hop Hearts,
a collaboration with 12 different notable hip-hop producers including Crown City Rockers, Copywrite, J.Rawls, and Giant Panda and a second indie rock project Live from the Cave @ Dougman
. MC Raashan
(of Crown City Rockers) caught up with his old friend and asked some pointed and entertaining questions about his latest albums.
RAASHAN: You’re a screenwriter, rock musician, home builder, you make art, drive back and forth between your life as a Los Angeles playboy and a low key dude in a small town in Iowa and a M.C. Who made this project where you did not only songs but videos for all of your songs in a short amount of time? You have so many sides!!! How do you see yourself?
COOLZEY: There’s a sample from the first Coolzey 12 inch ‘Akstoopid’ that DJ Ohmatic scratches into the song ‘Put Away’ from ‘Search for the HHHs’ that pretty much answers your first question: ’I am exactly what you make me into’. As for how I see myself, well that changes a lot. Today I was thinking to myself ‘I am lucky’. I don’t really know why, I just get overwhelmed with gratitude sometimes. So maybe I’m lucky.
RAASHAN: Working with all these producers must have been crazy! As a musician myself, how in the world did you get everybody to turn in their tracks on time? How did you connect with so many producers from so many different places and scenes to get involved in this project? Why did you feel the need to impose a time limit?
COOLZEY: Actually looking back on it, I have no idea how we pulled it off! I set it forth as a challenge, that’s for sure. I like to impose different types of structures for different projects. I had no idea who I was going to collaborate with it all just fell into place. I do remember different people involved saving it when I was about to give up, though. Like one week there was no music to work with or a topic, and then out of no where J. Rawls would send me just one beat, like, this is the one, you don’t get to choose, with a subject line that said “Life is a bitch” and then I opened the message and it said “Nah, son, lIfe is a wheel!” and of course, attached was a really inspiring beat. Immediately I knew what the song was about, and it became ‘Life is a Wheel’. A couple times, in the studio with my amazing engineer Luke Tweedy, I was ready to give up on a song because the mix didn’t sound right, and then he would say ‘Just hold on, Coolzey’, and make a a couple tweaks that would completely throw me for a 180, and then I would be celebrating. Of course, Jason Hennesy, who was in charge of making sure the videos were done on time, also had some amazing saves. Somebody could have given an exciting play-by-play of the whole experience, I’m sure.
RAASHAN: Who’s hip hop heart are you searching for and did you find it?
COOLZEY: I set off trying to connect with some of my influences out of a disenchantment I went through where I was becoming disappointed with rap and hip hop in general for many different reasons, including misogyny, homophobia, unoriginality, predictability, a whole lot of reasons that would take an essay to get into. Of course in retrospect I became aware that it was my hip hop heart I was searching for the whole time. I didn’t want to lose touch with something I at one time held so dearly. It was more therapy than anything. It was also just practice to keep my chops up. Good question, Raa!
RAASHAN: Your a funny dude. In the tour van, on stage, on-line (sidenote: you should really follow Coolzey on twitter) and in your songs. What role does humor play when your making music? Like what do you hope the listener gets from it?
COOLZEY: I think people take themselves too seriously most of the time. Of course, the flip-side is that if you don’t take yourself seriously enough, people will walk all over you. It’s a balance, just like everything in life. Duality. That’s why I love simple symbols representing heavy concepts, like hearts and skulls. Life is a game, but that doesn’t make it any less important, you know what I mean? Whoops that wasn’t very funny. Insert fart noise here.
RAASHAN: Can we go on tour again and run through another corn field? But this time I want a boom box blasting your song ‘Graduation Day’! That would be tight! And creepy . . .
COOLZEY: You know I’m down.