Coolio Hoped to Keep Playing as He Aged Like the Rolling Stones: 'Why Can't Hip-Hop Be Like That?'

Coolio had aspirations to continue his music career deep into his later years before his untimely death.

The "Gangsta's Paradise" rapper, who died on Wednesday at age 59, opened up to PEOPLE in 2005 about his hopes when it came to performing, and said he had plans to be the "first rapper to go platinum" at 50 years old.

"I'm going to be the first rapper to even be rapping at 50," said Coolio, who was 41 at the time of the interview. "I'm doing it because it needs to be done. How is it that rock 'n' roll cats can keep their careers until they're 60, but most rappers' careers are over in their early 30s?"

Coolio continued: "F— that. It's not fair, it's not right. The Dramatics are still doing shows. The Rolling Stones are still super rich and selling out shows at damn near 80. Why can't I? You got rock 'n' roll cats coming out performing in wheelchairs. Why can't I? Why can't hip-hop be like that?"

Coolio performs on stage during Riot Fest 2022 at Douglass Park on September 18, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois.
Coolio performs on stage during Riot Fest 2022 at Douglass Park on September 18, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois.

Daniel Boczarski/Getty Coolio

The Grammy Award-winning musician said he felt it wasn't "right" that the careers of artists like Grandmaster Caz and Melle Mel had floundered, and that he hoped to accomplish things other hip-hop artists had yet to achieve.

"I sit around and try to think of things that nobody's done yet, and nobody's had a successful rap career after 40," he said. "Kids today don't even know who Public Enemy is… Their music meant something to me."

RELATED: Coolio Was Working on New Music with Irish Singer Christy Dignam Before His Death: 'A Banger'

He continued: "A lot of the babies don't know who I am, but s—, even 10-year-olds know who I am. I still got a fan base, and here's the kill part: lyrically and skill-wise, I'm four levels above where I was when 'Gangsta's Paradise' was out. I'm much more skilled, I can rap."

Just as he'd hoped, Coolio did continue in music until his death. His final studio album, From the Bottom 2 the Top, was released in 2009, but he continued performing, and he took the stage for the last time on Friday in Cypress, Texas.


Des Willie/Redferns/Getty Coolio

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The star (real name Artis Leon Ivey Jr.) was also hard at work on new music, and told The Irish Examiner in July that he was working on a collaboration with Christy Dignam of the Irish rock band Aslan.

"We've just got into it. We're working on a track. We haven't even started writing any lyrics. The track is being built as we speak," he said. "Somewhere within the next four to six weeks we should have something tangible we could work with."

The rapper died at a friend's house in Los Angeles on Wednesday. No cause of death has been released.