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Coolio's heroes

”A Dramatic Experience” from the Dramatics is the album that changed the rapper’s life

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Coolio recently raised a few eyebrows by using elements of German composer Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major on his current single, ”C U When U Get There.” But while the Hydra-haired rapper (who has a bit part as a villain in Batman & Robin) obviously has good taste in classical music, he readily admits that his biggest influence is old-school soul — particularly of the sort contained on the Dramatics’ 1973 A Dramatic Experience.

”That was one album that really, really stands out in my mind; I can still listen to it over and over. It started me thinking about being an entertainer. I was probably 9 or 10 when I heard it. We used to have one of those old record players and my mother and stepfather used to play their records in the house. [The Dramatics’] songs had real meaning, too. They weren’t just about sex and all of that; they were about life, things people their song ”The Devil Is Dope” for my next album [My Soul, due Aug. 26]. They came and sang on it. It was fantastic. I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I can’t believe I’m in here chillin’ with the Dramatics.’ It was totally an experience.”