Rapper Coops has gone from Chillin’ to counting his Blessings as he drops Lost Soul mixtape.

Not many people can brag that their first ever performance was at London’s o2 opening for Nas, but that’s because they are not Coops – the laidback rapper who is earning so many stripes you would think he was sponsored by Adidas.

It was just last year the 23-year-old won Choice FM’s Breakthrough Competition, and since then Coops has steadily risen through the ranks; going from just “another rapper” to one worth watching.

Attracting international attention in the form of a shout out from Vibe magazine, Blessings was described as: “A gritty rap track that could’ve been born of the Queensbridge Projects.” Not bad for a north Londoner who is a relative newcomer to the game.

His popularity probably lies in the fact that while most rappers are screaming turn up, Coops is bucking the trend with songs that form the perfect soundtrack for kicking back with Mary Jane to. His boom bop beats, interspersed with soul, jazz and lyrics to ponder or bob your head to has seen him twice feature in GIITTV’s Eargasm selection.

“I’m a laidback person, that’s why you won’t see me making mad gassed music, because I am not that as a person,”
he tells me when I ask the key to making music so chilled you might get frost bite just holding the CD.

Acknowledging that many UK rappers face barriers because of the overly politicised nature of their music, Coops says: “My music is deep, but I am not clinging to those themes as much.”

Instead he speaks on everyday things such as chilling with his boys, smoking weed and contemplating the world – think a British J. Cole. The comparison with the Roc Nation signee doesn’t end there, as Coops too has a degree.

Studying Performing Arts at Southampton University, Coops found his time out of London a real eye opener. “In London there was only one white boy in my class, I get to Southampton and I’m the only black boy in my class,” he laughs recalling the most obvious difference between university life and the one he just left.

The whole experience was a grounding one for Coops who says it helped to mellow him. Joking he tells me: “You get that coming down to Earth feeling like ‘you’re not the dogs bollocks and you can’t get every single girl in the world. Calm down, relax.’”

Graduating with a BA Hons and a new perspective on life, Coops came back to London with the focus and drive to deliver Lost Soul, the immaculately crafted mixtape made available for free download on his website this month.

Coops describes the project as being: “My perception of myself and when I was doing that journey of self,” before explaining how it contrasted with the guys from his area, stuck in the same place “living lawless” while he had been away making something of himself.

The result is 17 tracks produced almost exclusively by longtime collaborator/ Producer Talos  delivering a sound Coops calls: “Truthful with a soulful essence behind the music.”

Signed to Deadicated Group, Coops admits that keeping everything in house is what maintains the organic and authentic sound. “When I work with new producers, I like the beats they make, but it’s like they haven’t quite hit the nail on the head,” he confesses.

Although he has already received a few industry nods, Coops is under no illusions that’s all it takes to make it in the industry. “It’s hard work. You do something and feel like this will be the thing to put you on, but it doesn’t happen like that,” he says.

While overnight success is not guaranteed, a loyal fan base almost certainly is if Lost Soul is anything to go by.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.