Katija Reflects On Collaborating With Coolio On ‘Do You Want It’

Unexpectedly marking a posthumous release for one of the most successful rappers of his time, the new single Do You Want It by the legendary Coolio and featuring Australian rap and pop artist Katija is a cheeky yet dominant jam loaded with lashings of vivid sensuality. Having been in motion prior to Coolio’s untimely passing, Do You Want It has been released as previously planned by both Coolio and Katija; and, by sheer coincidence, the track’s unveiling falls exactly one month since the world lost the pioneering rapper, producer and actor.

Bringing together Aussie rapper Katija’s sharp delivery with Coolio’s trademark flair, Do You Want It was inspired by the music and cheek that Coolio himself was feeling while visiting Australia. Having met Coolio while he was in Melbourne, Katija’s fateful in-person introduction to Coolio at the time inadvertently grew into creative and collaborative magic, with Coolio soon reaching out to Katija to feature on a new song he’d been working on. Katija tells Hi Fi Way more about the experience.

Congratulations on the single Do You Want It, how much has your life changed since it came out?
Thank you so much! It has definitely been a whirlwind of emotion with the release of this single “Do You Want It”. It doesn’t feel the same having lost Coolio one month before the song was set for release. Of course, I wish more than anything that he was here to share it with him. But the release of the single has given me a lot of inspiration to keep pushing forward with my music, as this has reminded me life is just too short!

How did the opportunity to collaborate with Coolio come about?
Coolio was here in Australia for the made in the 90s tour. When he was in Melbourne, he was introduced to the studio Cosmic Bounce Records that I have been working out of. Our paths crossed on the night of my first video clip shoot and he had just finished a session in the studio. He was sitting on the couch when I arrived and he ended up stayed for the night to hang out and we got to know each other. A couple of weeks later he was working on this single Do You Want It and he really wanted a female feature to make the single complete. Because we had already started to build a relationship and he heard my sound and what I can do, I came past this studio to work on the song with him.

Did he have the ideas fully formed for the song before you met?
Coolio was inspired by the beat that he originally heard from producer KB. It reminded him of an old 90s type beat and straightaway he wanted to write something to it. When I came into the writing session, he had already written a couple of verses however he was still forming ideas for the chorus and of course I was able to add my verses at the end.

Was there much scope for you to put your own spin on it?
I was definitely able to put my own spin on the song in the way that I executed my verses. However, my challenge was – how can I match Coolio’s energy and work in well with the sound he has already created so that the song sounds complete and we complement each other. When I executed the first verse I incorporated my own style and flair and in the second part I tried to match Coolio’s sound to give it some light and shade. Coolio said himself that he had not worked with many features before over the years who were able to pick it up so quickly the way I had and match his energy. That was really nice feedback to hear.

How was the studio experience and did you learn a lot from him?
The studio experience was incredible. The energy in the room was magical and he was there to work and he worked harder than any other artist I have seen writing for hours on end. The main take away I had from our time together was seeing how many times he would do vocal takes of the same part. Each time he did a take he made little changes to the way he executed it which created the opportunity to capture some unique sounds. It’s actually in the mistakes where you can sometimes capture the magic and you can’t make those discoveries if you don’t do multiple takes. I also learnt I have a lot of work to do with my vocabulary and to practice making things rhyme in ways that you least expect it. It’s all in the way you deliver the words, they may not actually rhyme but if you say them a certain way you can make them sound similar. I am so grateful that Coolio told me I could reach out to him anytime to help me with my writing of future songs. It’s really hard now knowing that I can’t reach out to him and pick up the phone.

What is Coolio like personally that fans from afar wouldn’t see?
I now truly understand why he has the name Coolio. He is such a chilled, down to earth and just cool guy. He always had time for anyone to stop and have a chat, take a photo and answer questions. You could see that he really appreciated his fans and that was such a nice quality he had about him. He wasn’t flashy he was just easy going and you could see how important his family and friends were to him. He was very creative and loved matching his outfits and making things with his hands. I got to watch him make his very own gold light up mic-sabre as he called it one day when we were in the studio. He appreciated the little things.

Did his passing hit you hard?
Yes, very hard – I still remember the morning – I was in Bunnings paying for something at the counter when the message came across my phone. I went into shock and thought the news must have been fake and struggled to comprehend that it was real. I had only spoken to him a week ago and our song was set for release in exactly a month from that day. We had so many things we were looking forward to next year, as he was planning a return visit to Australia and we were going to get to perform our song together and also film the video clip. I am so heartbroken that we never got the opportunity to perform together because I truly believe that our audience would have loved our connection on stage together. He is another legend gone too soon, however I am eternally grateful for the time I was gifted to share with him in his last few months with us. I will always cherish the memory.

Do you think his legacy will continue to live on for quite some time to come?
Absolutely it will! Gangsta’s Paradise will always be one of the most OG rap songs of our time and will last throughout the generations. He has built a legacy with that song and the person that he was and his uniqueness really shined through in everything he did. Coolio helped pave the way for many hip-hop artists to break into the more mainstream pop music scene. The music industry will always be thankful to him for that.

Has this opportunity opened up doors for you overseas?
I think having done a song with one of the biggest hip-hop and rap icons to have lived will definitely give me a strong platform at the start of my career and hopefully a bit of street cred when it comes to breaking into the international market. Not having had the opportunity to develop our relationship further and perform together internationally has changed the scenario a lot now. I plan to continue building a connection with my Australian audience and just focusing on the creative process and enjoying the ride of what’s to come.

What’s next for Katija?
I will continue to release a few singles over the coming months so that I can continue to grow and connect with my audience and showcase a bit more of who Katija is as an artist. Each of my singles will be treated as projects and I look forward to creating a lot more visual content. I really love dancing and choreographing and everything that comes with making a video clip so that also excites me. Early next year I will also be running a hip hop night in Melbourne and start doing some live performances locally.

Interview By Rob Lyon

Connect with Katija
Instagram ~ Spotify

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