No matter what your music preference there's a good chance you've at least heard of Coolio. You might even know of some of the hits of the rapper like "Gangsta's Paradise", "1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin' New)", or maybe even his hit with Kenny Rogers called "The Hustler." Coolio's concerts were always fun and always unpredictable. In 2009, he was a part of a day-long rock festival in Illinois. If wasn't for him, things could have turned into a disaster for fans.

Getty Images
Getty Images

You might be wondering how Coolio ties into the rock genre and the answer is nothing but "why not?" The backstory involves a simple idea, thinking outside the box.

We just thought it was fun to bring in "old school" rappers to do a couple of songs.

That's a direct quote from Jim Stone, one of the geniuses behind the now defunct festival. He shared a reflection on Coolio's day in Rockford. The rapper greeted many fans (especially the ladies) and nobody had a bad word to speak about their interaction with him.

Used With Permission
Used With Permission
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An Entrance Like A True Rock Star

Coolio's arrival at the event was something straight out of a movie. He was running late and his limousine could be seen speeding along a dirt path headed toward the back of the stage. Dirt was in the air tailing the vehicle and rocks were kicked up from the tires. When the vehicle came to a complete stop the doors opened, smoke billowed, and out climbs Coolio. He grabbed the microphone and headed to the stage with less than a minute to spare.

"...I've done this a time or two."

If you're not familiar with this day of rock, it was a day unlike any other in Rockford. Music, beer, sunshine, sometimes mud, and one giant party. Let's not forget the hemi's of beer. Truthfully, you never knew what would witness at the show when it comes to the crowd. This particular year the event was a scramble to make happen, according to Stone's story.

After almost canceling the show, the week before, due to an unforeseen expense (the City of Rockford forced us to pay for 100 police officers to be in attendance, or they wouldn't give us a liquor license) show day was upon us.

At this particular show, the crowd had to be separated, over/under 21 people so a fence was put up. As the crowd grew to thousands, concert-goers began leaning on the fence, which became a questionable situation.

SurroundSister via YouTube
SurroundSister via YouTube

They asked me to make an Announcement for people to move back. I went out on stage and begged people to move, to no avail.

As a spectator, I remember this vividly. I recall telling my friend, "nobody is going to listen. This is going to be bad." Then, Coolio stepped up to the microphone. I never knew the story behind what he said until writing this article.

He immediately said something like "If y'all love *******, take 2 steps back", and the crowd stopped and looked up. He repeated the same thing and the crowd took 2 steps back.

Everyone in the make-shift venue at Chicago Rockford International Airport did exactly that, took two giant steps back. Crews were able to fix the fencing and the music was able to continue.

See you were panicked, to me it's just business...I've done this a time or two.

If you're questioning how much a rock crowd embraced Coolio check out this video.

Coolio died on September 28, 2022. Rap In Peace.

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