Music

What Went Right With… Coops?

A logo for rapper Coops made with his image by What Went Wrong Or Right With...?

Coops is a very unique yet underrated (and underexposed) MC. His sedate flow coupled with his socially aware lyrics are like a breath of fresh air in a music scene oversaturated with dumbed-down and formulaic Trap. Coops once said “I want to be inspired by the greats, rather than what’s current” which I have to say is a distinctive point of view especially among a ’90s backlash occurring with some mainstream Hip-Hop artists. This North Londoner’s biggest boast is that his first live performance was opening for Nas at the O2 Arena, safe to say that Coops isn’t one to downplay his old-school influences.

Now signed to High Focus Records, his latest album Life In The Flesh is a highly satisfying listen with its relaxed and laid-back soundscape. The overall aesthetic of Coops’ latest LP (which is all produced by Talos except for one track) sounds as if it was plucked straight out of the mid-90s. Check out the lead single “Guerillas” which is a great blend of classic and contemporary…

Coops’ lyricism is distinctive and noteworthy, in fact the way in which he weaves social commentary with historical references hasn’t really been done since Nas and Ras Kass in their prime. Just peep these lines…

A child was born, into a world, scoundrel in form, Torn from his mothers fingers to be pricked by their forms. Adorned name brand labels, baby Jesus fresh out of the stables, coming home from school and getting taught by cable. Just another slave, this is Aesop’s fable, Tryna turn the tables, but not sure if I’ll be able

Coops’ vibe is casual yet pensive, and for me, his overall style is somewhere between Krispy 3 and Klashnekoff. The old-school comparisons don’t end there, “If I Die” is reminiscent of Teflon’s classic track “My Will” and more generally, his choice of slow, Jazzy samples is like travelling back in time to the Golden Era. That’s not so say that Coops is a clone of the ’90s, endlessly trapped in a singular decade creating derivative material, on the contrary. It’s just that he makes Hip-Hop that is so understated and lyric-focussed, the only correlation that can be made is one with the past.

That being said, Coops can flow over an orthodox Boom Bap beat…

…as well as a more contemporary beat…

If you enjoy underground Hip-Hop or have a taste for R’N’B-infused Rap music (and have the cash) Life In The Flesh is well worth the money…

…and his mixtapes What Do You See? from 2011, Lost Soul from 2014, and God Complex from 2016 are also worth a listen (and are available to download from his Bandcamp page).

Coops’ introspective lyrics sound very unique within modern Hip-Hop and given that his influences include A Tribe Called Quest and Jay-Z, fans can hope that his discography will include some contemporary equivalents to The Low End Theory and Reasonable Doubt in the coming years. This is definitely an MC to look out for in the future.

Lift Off.

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