Rap artist Coolio canceled the remaining dates of his 18-City-Mission
tour after a van accident seriously injured two members of his backing
band Friday, according to the artist's publicist.
The entourage was en route to a Saturday show at the Fillmore Auditorium
in San Francisco, when one of the three vans transporting the rapper and
his band flipped over on Interstate 5, 40 miles north of Sacramento,
according to Coolio's spokespersons.
"This is the first time in my career I have had a near-death experience," Coolio said in a statement. "When the van was flipping over I thought we were history."
Six members of the Grammy-winning rapper's band and stage crew were hurt in the accident involving the seven-passenger vehicle. They were taken to area hospitals. Coolio (born Artis Leon Ivey) and others in his party with lesser injuries were treated at the scene. The most serious injuries were suffered by the keyboardist and the drummer, the publicist said in a press release.
"My keyboard player is only 15 and now has severe hand damage; I don't know when he'll play again," Coolio added.
Coolio was touring with fellow Crowbar labelmates, including DVS and Krazy Khrome. The entourage had completed only two dates of the tour supporting the label's first release, Coolio's Crowbar Records Presents
The tour was a continuing effort by Coolio to find new talent for his Crowbar label.
"I'm looking for real talent," Coolio said before the tour's kickoff. "There's too many people now with no talent [who are popular] -- singers that can't sing, MCs that can't rap, musicians that can't play. We're gonna do it the old-school way, the way people used to do it."
The tour was to tap local MCs in every city to open shows by DVS and
Krazy Khrome. Before the accident, the tour hit the Aro Space in Seattle on June 2 and the Roseland in Portland, Ore., on June 3.
The rapper also continues work on his fourth full-length album, Dead Man Walkin', which will feature a collaboration with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony member Krayzie Bone on the song "I Don't Wanna Die" as well as an unlikely pairing with country legend Kenny Rogers on a rap rendition of Rogers' smash hit "The Gambler."
Following the accident, Coolio played shows in Los Angeles on Sunday and Phoenix on Monday, but decided to cancel the remainder of the tour, according to the statement.
San Francisco concert-goers learned of the news over local radio stations; refunds for the canceled shows are available at the point of purchase, according to Tammy Martin, a Fillmore spokesperson.
The rapper, best known for such radio hits as 1994's "Fantastic Voyage" (RealAudio excerpt) and 1995's "Gangsta's Paradise," pleaded not guilty to a gun-possession charge April 19 in Torrance, Calif. He was accused of carrying a concealed weapon in his vehicle in September.
(Contributing Editor Teri vanHorn contributed to this report.)