When Coolio died on September 28, the resulting avalanche of obituaries claimed that he launched his career with WC & the Maad Circle, whose debut album Ain’t a Damn Thing Changed dropped in 1991. However, the Los Angeles rapper’s career began in the mid-80s, when he floated through short-lived electro-rap ensembles like Sound Master Crew, Don Juan, and Nu-Skool. These goofy, protean tracks are typical of an era where nearly all the biggest West Coast acts of the 90s learned their craft, from Ice Cube and Ice-T to, yes, WC himself. Sadly, the omissions are typical. West Coast electro in the 80s continues to be under-documented, even when it comes to world-famous artists like Coolio.
Photo by Michael Miller.