Calling the German police investigation into rap artist Coolio "a misunderstanding," his American publicist said on Monday that the trouble began last week after the rapper was duped into making an in-store appearance without his knowledge.
Nonetheless, police say the 34-year-old rapper, a.k.a. Artis Ivey, and an unidentified member of his seven-person entourage, who were on a two-month promotional tour of Europe to hype his new album My Soul, allegedly punched a 29-year-old employee of a clothing store in Boeblingen, Germany, and then left the business without paying for the clothes they were wearing last Thursday, according to Reuters.
Malik Bellamy of Tommy Boy Records, Coolio's label, said the misunderstanding occurred because a representative of a clothing company invited the rapper to visit his store for some free clothing, but failed to warn them that he had notified fans of Coolio's plans to make an appearance. "The rep came up to them at the show and asked them if they wanted free gear," Bellamy said. "They went to the store after the show and there were hundreds of people outside because they had advertised it as an in-store."
Coolio decided to stay "for his fans," Bellamy said, even though he was not obligated. The crew then went inside and picked-out some clothing, he said, although they were told they had to come back the next day to pick them up. "They came back and were told again to take anything they wanted," Bellamy said. "Then (store employees) started saying they couldn't take this ... as they were trying to leave."
The female store employee who was allegedly punched had tried to lock the door as the rapper and his crew were trying to leave, Bellamy said. He denied however that Coolio or his entourage had hit the woman.
A spokesperson for the Frankfurt police, who arrested the rapper there on Saturday after an investigation, offered this: "A well-known rap singer, who voluntarily turned himself in, was arrested shortly for one hour in Frankfurt." The spokesperson said the rapper, who he would not identify, was released after posting 150,000 marks ($80,000) bail and 20,000 marks ($11,000) for each of his group members.
Though he was granted permission to leave the country Monday for a previously scheduled television appearance in Switzerland, a press release from Tommy Boy said Coolio would return to Germany on Saturday to present his account of the incident to police. Bellamy said the incident would not affect the rapper's travel or appearance plans.
"To date, some media in Germany have presented a distorted picture of events with an obvious bias against the artist," the statement read. [Tues., Nov. 25, 1997, 9 a.m. PDT]