Koolade (real name Matko Šašek) is a Croatian hip-hop, electronic, and urban music producer. Born in Zagreb, Croatia in the late 1970s, he began his music career in the late 1990s. Along with other members of the Blackout family he played a major role in establishing hip-hop genre in the Croatian and regional (Balkans) music scene, rocking charts, record sales and winning a few national music awards (local equivalent to Grammy's) in Croatia and Bosnia. Soon after that, he and his partner/manager Phat Phillie realized that his production would make a good export, and continued to expand his work throughout Europe and the US, where he is perhaps best known for his production work on Masta Ace's "Beautiful" on the album A Long Hot Summer, as well as a number of other prominent American hip-hop artists such as Ghostface Killah and Masta Killa of the Wu Tang Clan, Sean Price (R.I.P.), Xzibit, Sadat X, Styles P, Diamond D, Das EFX, Peedi Crakk, Tony Touch, Rah Digga, Too Short, Bow Wow, and others. Koolade is locally and regionally known for his collaborations with the legendary Croatian hip-hop groups Tram 11 and Bolesna Braća, as well as Bosnian rappers Edo Maajka and Frenkie. Due to his long career and critically acclaimed success, he enjoys a legendary status as an artist in the Balkans region.
Born on 1 June 1978 in Zagreb, Croatia, he shows a great interest in music from his very early days. Growing up in the 80's he listens to artists like Queen (being a fan since age of 6), Michael Jackson, U2, Depeche Mode, New Order, Human League, Dire Straits etc. In 5th & 6th grade he takes piano lessons, but quits after two years due to lack of interest in classical music education. Never touches a piano again, until the start of his professional music career in the mid/late 90's.
In the years 1989/1990 his sister introduces him to Hip Hop music which he initially hates, but after a year or so, Hip Hop music becomes his obsession. Artists like Run-DMC, Public Enemy, N.W.A., Ice Cube, EPMD would very soon become "residents" in his tape deck. Due to a few shows like MTV's Yo! MTV Raps, Rap Attack, and his future manager Phat Philly's own Blackout Rap Show on Radio 101, he keeps track of the international scene and all the fresh new releases. Soon enough he starts forming his first high school demo bands of pretty much no significance like G-Style and Ill Behavior. Having interest in both rapping and beatmaking he makes his first tracks. Although those would end up being just tries and attempts, but a good practice for his later work.
As Hip Hop scene would start resonating more and more with the local kids in Croatia during the early/mid 90's he starts hangin around clubs and people playing, promoting and making Hip Hop music. Hearing the local artist's demoes being played on Blackout Rap Show, he wasn't overwhelmed with the production on those, and decides he wants to contribute to the scene with his musical talent as a beat-maker and producer. Eventually he focuses on beat-making and production, and gets embraced by the local scene very quickly, due to the quality of his material. Very soon he becomes a member of the Blackout Project, the DJ's, MC's and beat-makers revolving and evolving around the Blackout Rap Show. In 1998, his 1st production credit release, which marked the start of his professional career, were two tracks by Tram 11 "Des Mozges" & "Kog je briga za vas", on Blackout Project's "Project Impossible" album. He collaborates with many soon to be renowned local and regional hip hop artists like Tram 11, Sick Rhyme Sayazz aka Bolesna Braća, El Bahattee, Nered & Stoka, Edo Maajka, Frenkie, Shorty, Elemental etc... Meaning, they all make history together, rockin the charts and sales on a mainstream level. In the following years, he becomes a well respected, award winning, chart hitting silver and gold selling producer, respected not just in the hip hop scene, but throughout the local, regional, and European urban music scene. In the Balkans region he enjoys a legendary status. He and his manager Phat Phillie continue to work up to date, having a strong bond as partners in crime, and continue shopping and delivering the world music scene with some of that Koolade, placing his music worldwide. His probably most renowned production would be "Beautiful" by Masta Ace
Media & marketing
Being a music producer and sound engineer he does and scores quite a few commercials, locally and worldwide, and copyrights his music in the world of media, TV and marketing. Some of the references are H&M, Nivea, Alizee, EA Sports, Y2K, and TV shows like So You Think You Can Dance & Ugly Betty etc.
In the year 2010 he meets a Slovene drummer Ivo Rimc, and they decide to do sessions together. Koolade found the idea of recording and sampling live drums very fascinating, and they continue doing sessions inviting other local Slovene musicians. The 1st one to join was a bass player Jernej Kržič, followed by a jazz pianist Erik Marenče, and a guitar player Andraž Mazi. Them five eventually form a band with the work title London, and continue doing sessions making funk instrumental breaks. Koolade being the producer of the band and their frontman playing talkbox. Later on they decide to take the band even further starting doing a unique combination of soul with a twist of indie music, inviting vocalists, songwriting, practicing, recording etc... The vocalist to finally join the band was Sasha Alexandra Danilova. Koolade eventually starts singing, becoming the other lead vocal of the band. They eventually rename the band to Zebra Dots due to problems involving web search engines (try googling the word london). The name Zebra Dots characterised their music well as being something that doest exist yet. Eventually, local and regional Universal Music offices start showing interest to sign the band, which eventually happens in spring 2012. In fall 2012 they release their debut single Walking On A Chance, soon followed by the debut album named after the 1st single.
Today Koolade enjoys legendary status as an artist in the Balkans region. He continues to produce for other acts as he always used to. One of the recent ones he's affiliated with would be Kandžija, High5, Geralt iz Rivije, Frenkie, Kontra, and the whole of Zagreb's and regional underground scene.
In the past few years he's been also putting out a lot of his own music mostly single releases, featuring other artists, such as his recent (2016) single "Say Nothing" featuring Rah Digga, Sean Price and Tony Touch, which came out on April 8 on Duck Down Music.
Koolade also has a stream of instrumental EP's, genre wise ranging from beats, alternative hip-hop, electronic beats to future funk. Since recently, he's been affiliated with a US label Blvnt Records.
He also performs his music live, which includes live sampling, fx tweaking, playing bass lines, talkbox and such.
Awards & recognition
Being nominated for national music awards in the region quite a few times (still up to date), he receives his 1st Croatian music award Porin in 2002 in the category "urban album of the year" for producing the entire El Bahattee's debut solo album "Svaki pas ima svoj dan". Funny enough the translation of the album's title would be "Every Dog Has It's Day". Although his award winning days weren't over yet. The next year he receives two Bosnian music awards (Davorin), in categories "album of the year" and "urban album of the year", for production credits on Edo Maajka's debut album Slušaj Mater.
In the years 2001 and 2007, he wins "the best hip hop producer of the year" category at Hip-Hop Unity independent music awards.
Los Angeles-based URB magazine named Koolade the best up-and-coming urban artist in 2007.
|Title||Release Type||Label||Year||Featured Songs||Featured Artists|
|Koolade Presents...||12" EP single||Blackout Entertainment/Wordplay||2001||Survival b/w Hate Me Too||Masta Ace, Strick|
|Beautiful b/w Follow||12" EP single||Blackout Entertainment/ABB||2004||Beautiful b/w Follow||Masta Ace, El Da Sensei|
|Get Addicted||digital EP (single)||Blackout Entertainment / Foundation Media||2009||Get Addicted||J-Ro|
|You & Yours b/w Philly Morning||digital EP (single)||Blackout Entertainment / Foundation Media||2010||You & Yours b/w Philly Morning||Maylay Sparks|
|The Makings||digital EP (single)||Blackout Entertainment / Foundation Media||2011||The Makings||Diamond D, Sadat X|
|No More Music||digital EP (single)||Blackout Entertainment / Foundation Media||2011||No More Music||Styles P|
|Beautiful||digital single re-release||Blackout Entertainment / Foundation Media||2011||Beautiful||Masta Ace|
|Koolade Beats Rocky||digital LP (album)||Blackout Entertainment||2012||...||Maylay Sparks, Peedi Crakk, Rasheeda B, Lovro Ravbar|
|All Round Philly||digital EP (single)||Blackout Entertainment / Foundation Media||2012||All Round Philly b/w (Like On A) First Date||Peedi Crakk, Maylay Sparks, Rasheeda B|
|Walking On A Chance||digital EP (single)||Universal Music||2012||Walking On A Chance||Zebra Dots|
|Walking On A Chance||LP (album)||Universal Music||2012||...||Zebra Dots|
|Don't Try||digital EP (single)||Universal Music||2013||Don't Try original + remixes||Zebra Dots|
|Don't Try ft. SevdahBaby||digital EP (single)||Universal Music||2013||Don't Try Sevdah Baby Remix||Zebra Dots, SevdahBaby|
|Outta My Mind/Pokvareni Telefon||digital EP (single)||Universal Music||2013||Outta My Mind, Pokvareni Telefon||Zebra Dots|
|Koola od karata||digital LP (album)||Koolade Productions||2014||...||Koolade|
|Juice Crew Special EP ft. Masta Ace & Craig G||digital EP (album)||Koolade Productions / Blackout Entertainment Croatia / Foundation Media||2014||Love Crazy ft. Masta Ace & Strick, From The Soul ft. Craig G||Koolade, Masta Ace, Craig G, Strick|
|Park St. EP||digital EP (album)||Koolade Productions / Blackout Entertainment Croatia / Foundation Media||2015||...||Koolade|
|After The Storm EP||digital EP (album)||Koolade Productions / Blackout Entertainment Croatia / Foundation Media||2015||...||Koolade|
|Fallin EP||digital EP (album)||Koolade Productions / Blackout Entertainment Croatia / Foundation Media||2015||...||Koolade|
|Daze EP||digital EP (album)||Koolade Productions||2015||...||Koolade|
|Swan Pond EP||digital EP (album)||Blvnt Records||2015||...||Koolade|
|Pay Me What You Owe Me||digital single||Blvnt Records||2015||Pay Me What You Owe Me (Rihanna's "Bitch Better Have My Money rework)||Koolade and Ben Bada Boom|
|Greyscale EP||digital EP (album)||Koolade Productions||2016||Koolade|
|Night Shifts EP||digital EP (album)||Blvnt Records||2016||...||Koolade, ft. Robot Orchestra|
|Say Nothing (single)||digital single||Duck Down Music||2016||Say Nothing||Rah Digga, Sean Price, Tony Touch|
|Eastern Lights EP||digital EP (album)||Blvnt Records||2016||Koolade|
Croatian & regional production credits
- Project Impossible (Blackout Project album, Radio 101 1997), produced songs: "Intro", "Des Mozges" feat.Tram 11, "Kog je briga za vas" feat.Tram 11
- Čovječe Ne Ljuti Se (Tram 11 album, Menart Records 1999), produced songs: "Čovječe Ne Ljuti Se", "Znaš Ko Sam", "Kaj Ima Lima?", "Udri Brigu Na Veselje", "Za Sve Oko Mene", "Nema Škvadre" (featuring Major League Figures), "Mokri Snovi (Remix)", "Lažni Frajeri", "Lančana Reakcija" and "Mikrofon Provjeravam"
- Lovci na šubare (Bolesna Braća album, Menart Records 2000), produced songs: "Čiča miča", "Čarobna frula" featuring General Woo, "Sex" featuring Target, "Dame biraju"
- Vrućina Gradskog Asfalta (Tram 11 album, Menart Records 2001), produced songs: "Nisi Pazio", "Politiziranje" (featuring Prva petorka), "Crni dani", "Zlo i naopako", "A vi svi", "A vi svi RMX" featuring Prva petorka, Remi, Bizzo & La Bla, "Vrućina gradskog asfalta", "Jedno", "Jedno RMX" featuring KC Da Rookee, "Ti čašpri iskrivljeno" featuring Renman, "Eto šta ima", "Za 10 godina" featuring Ivana Husar, "Samizam" featuring Ink & Ivana Husar and "Ljubomora je kurva" featuring XL
- Svaki pas ima svoj dan (El Bahattee album, Dallas Records 2001), produced the whole album
- Od danas do sutra (Nered album, Menart Records 2001), produced songs: "Čuvari doline" featuring Remi
- Takozvani (General Woo album, Menart Records 2002), produced the song "Nema veze" featuring Stu
- Slušaj Mater (Edo Maajka album, Menart Records 2002): "Slušaj Mater", "Jesmo'l Sami?"
- Stole (Stoka album, Croatia Records 2003), produced the songs: "Plavi kaos", "Ritam Igra" feat. Jacques Houdek, "San nesan", "Svi to vole" feat. Nered & Ivana Kindl & Klinci s Ribnjaka, "Tepanje", "Tepanje (remix)", ""Vanka regule" feat. Dino Dvornik, also mixed the song "Od sumraka do zore" feat. Dino Dvornik
- No Sikiriki (Edo Maajka album, Menart Records 2004): "Kliše", "Samo za raju" and "Dragi moj Vlado"
- 1,68 (Shorty album, Aquarius Records 2004): "Iza Mene", "Apel za mir" featuring Edo Maajka, "To je hip hop" and "Politika je kurva" featuring Saba
- Baš je lijep ovaj svijet (General Woo & Nered album, Aquarius Records 2005), produced the song "Strogo povjerljivo" featuring Ivana Kindl
- The Album ...nastavak (Target album, Menart Records 2005, produced the song "Ljubavni Problemi" featuring Ivana Kindl
- Prvo Pa Muško (Connect album, Menart Records 2005), produced the song "Klade"; also co-produces 5 other songs on the album
- Stig'o ćumur (Edo Maajka album, Menart Records 2006): "Uši zatvori", "To mora da je ljubav" featuring Remi, "To što se traži" featuring Dino Šaran and "Nikad Više"
- Ovdje i Sada ( MC Popay album, Kingston Sound 2007): "Bashment danas", "Bum!", "Hrpa MC'ja" featuring Nightmare & Blunter, "To smo mi" featuring Edo Maajka
- Povratak Cigana (Frenkie album, Menart Records 2007): "Povratak Cigana" featuring Hamza
- Balkansko a naše (Edo Maajka album, Menart Records 2008) - produced the whole album.
- Narodnjaci (Kandžija album, Dallas Records 2009): "Narodnjaci", "Intro", "Bic", "Nije Zadnja"
- Sretan broj (Carla Belovari single, Dallas Records 2010): "Sretan Broj"
- Chuck Norris Rap (Frenkie single, Menart Records 2010): "Chuck Norris Rap (Koolade remix)"
- Koktel od rakije (Kandžija album, Dallas Records 2011): "Desno", "Smij se", "Polako", "Retoricka", "Kriza", "Mali mrznja", played bass on "Big Brother"
- Štrajk Mozga (Edo Maajka album, Menart Records 2012): "Soma", "Drukčiji" feat. Marchello & Kandžija
- Troyanac (Frenkie album, Menart Records 2012): "", "Gori", "Messi Rap" feat. Kontra, "Why You Want" feat. Vukašin
- U cipelama moga oca (Priki album, Menart Records 2012), produced the song "Ovo Piće" feat. Koolade, co-produced the song "Punije žene"
- "Zlatne Žbice" (Kandžija i Toxara album, 2012), Produced the song "Duge Kandže"
- "Kronika Betona" (Flamie album, Street13 Records 2013), Produced the song "Kronika Betona" ft. Nemir, Bobi Vejn
- "Zagreb Je Atlanta" (Gerald iz RIvije, 2015), Produced the song "U Getu"
International production credits
- Disposable Arts (Masta Ace album, 2001): "Something's Wrong" (featuring Strick and Young Zee)
- Nexcalibur (KC Da Rookee album, 2001): "Hot Souls", "You Asleep" and "Somethin' Different" featuring Aqeel
- Born Wit' It" b/w Underdog (Strick 12 inch, Fat Beats, 2002): "Born Wit' It"
- Relax Relate Release (El Da Sensei album, 2002): "On and On" (featuring Sadat X) and "So Think Again"
- Truly Unique (Unspoken Heard 12 inch, 2002): "Truly Unique-Koolade Remix" and "Truly Unique-Remix Instrumental"
- Mood Swing feat. Talib Kweli (Asheru 12 inch, 2002): "Soon Come-Koolade Remix" and "Soon Come-Remix Instrumental"
- How We Do (Das Efx album, 2003): "Let's Get Money" and "B.S.A.P." (featuring Lovey)
- Innere Sicherheit (Curse album, 2003): "Rap Gesetze 11-20"
- 1 Pied Dans L'biz (IPM album, 2003): "Mon Univers" and "Exode"
- A Long Hot Summer (Masta Ace album, 2004): "Beautiful"
- That One Way (Czarnok album, 2005): "Pimp Tight"
- More Fish (Ghostface Killah album, 2006): "Good" (featuring Trife da God, co-produced by P-Nut)
- Don't Quit Your Day Job! (Consequence album, 2007): "Job Song" and "Disperse" (featuring Gangsta L. Crisis and Really Doe)
- Eddy Meets Yannah - Remix EP (Eddy Meets Yannah EP, Compost 2007): "Losing Wings-Koolade Remix" featuring Capitol A
- The Truth (Young Sid album, Move Te Crowd Records 2007), produced the song "Explosive" feat. David Dallas
- Face Off (Bow Wow & Omarion album, 2007): "Hey Baby (Jump Off)"
- The Show (EMC album, 2008): "Who We Be"
- Millionaire (Izza Kizza single, Decon/Spuldiggaz 2008): "Millionaire"
- Kizzaland (Izza Kizza album, Full Blast Music 2008): "Don't Stop Go", "Millionaire", "They're Everywhere", "Red Wine"
- The Wizard Of Izz (Izza Kizza album, Full Blast Music 2009): "Don't Stop Go", "Connect The Dots" feat. Collin Munroe, "Set it off", "Red Wine"
- They're Everywhere (Izza Kizza single, Full Blast Music 2009): "They're Everywhere"
- Connect The Dots (Izza Kizza ep, Decon 2009): "Connect The Dots" featuring Collin Munroe and "Ooh La La (remix)"
- This Is What It Feels Like (Spinz album, Vibra Music 2009): "1 In A Million" featuring Koolade also available as a 12" single
- What You Waiting For (Mizz Nina featuring Colby O'Donnis album, Mizz Nina Productions/Warner Music Malaysia 2010): "What You Waiting For" featuring Colby O'Donnis
- Take Over (Mizz Nina featuring Flo Rida single, Mizz Nina Productions/Warner Music Malaysia 2011): "Take Over" featuring Flo Rida
- Excuse My Imagination (Leeloo Jammais album, Dallas 2011), produced the track "Rain Dance" feat. Koolade
- Selling My Soul (Masta Killa album, 2012 Nature Sounds/Royal Lion), produced the track "What You See"
- Maylay Sparks ft. Last Emperor & Rucker Pawk - "Illadelph Elohim"
Remixed by Koolade...
- Truly Unique (Koolade Remix) (Unspoken Heard 12 inch, 2002): "Truly Unique-Koolade Remix" and "Truly Unique-Remix Instrumental"
- "Willy Overnight (Broke Niggaz) RMX" by Consequence (official 2004)
- "Motivators (Koolade Remix)" by A Tribe Called Quest ft. Consequence (unofficial 2004)
- "Mr. Slow Flow (Koolade Remix)" by Evidence (unofficial 2005)
- "Losing Wings (Koolade Remix)" featuring Capitol A by Eddy Meets Yannah (Eddy Meets Yannah EP, Compost 2007):
- "Hypnotize You (Koolade Remix)" by N.E.R.D (unofficial 2010)
- "Crabs (Koolade Remix)" by Respect Tha God ft. Smiff-N-Wessun (official 2011)
- "Chuck Norris Rap (Koolade Remix)" by Frenkie (Menart 2011)
- "Can We Be Friends (Can We Be Friends)" by CHUI (Dancing Bear 2014)
- "Iembi Hipster" by Bvandzija / High5 / Koolade (Zlatne Zbice 2014)
- "Meet The Frownies (Koolade Flip)", by Twin Sister (unofficial 2014)
- "tryingNOT2 (Koolade Remix)" by BILK (official 2015)
- "Let Em Know (Koolade Remix)" by Rasco (Threshold Recordings LLC / Diamond Media 360)
- "Tepanje" by Tram 11 (demo album Workshop Class 11, 1997)
- "Nema Skvadre" by Tram 11 feat. Major League Figures (album Covjece ne ljuti se, Menart 1999)
- "Pocasna loza" by Sick Rhyme Sayazz aka Bolesna braca feat. Dash & Koolade (album Lovci Na Subare, Menart 2000)
- "Ovaj ritam volim" by Edo Maajka (album Balkansko a nase, Menart 2008)
- "FM Jam I Like" by Edo Maajka feat. Disciplinska komisija (album Balkansko a nase, Menart 2008)
- "1 In A MIllion" by Spinz (album This Is What It Feels Like, Dallas 2009)
- "Rain Dance" by Leeloo Jammais (album Excuse My Imagination, Dallas 2011)
- "Ovo Piće", by Priki (album "U cipelama moga oca", Menart 2012)
Various artist compilation, film & theater placements and scores
- "Mimoilazišta" (adaptation of the novel "Passing Places" by Stephen Greenhorn), theater play music score (Satiričko kazalište Kerempuh, 2001)
- Phat Phillie & FRX present: Blackout 10 godina - The Best Of Hip Hop (album, 2003), features songs: "Čiča miča - Bolesna Braća", "A vi svi - Tram 11, and "Svaki pas ima svoj dan - El Bahattee"
- Speakin In Tongues (Stonegroove 2001) features track "Pocasna loza" by Sick Rhyme Sayazz feat. Dash & Koolade
- Birthday Girl OST (Miramax/Film Four 2001) features track "Pocasna loza" by Sick Rhyme Sayazz feat. Dash & Koolade
- Beats To The Rhyme (Play It Again Sam 2004) features track "Beautiful" by Koolade feat. Masta Ace
- Hits You Missed, Vol.2 (M3 2005) features track "Survival" by Koolade feat. Masta Ace
- The Nicest - Indie Hip Hop, Vol.2 (Regulatin' Music 2012) features track Survival by Koolade feat. Masta Ace
- The Nicest - Indie Hip Hop, Vol.5 (Regulatin' Music 2012) features track No More Music by Koolade feat. Styles P
- 10 Jahre Hip Hop Open Allstars (compiled by DJ Schowi) (0711 Entertainment/Four Artists/Warner Music Group 2012) features track Beautiful by Koolade feat. Masta Ace
Copywriting, marketing & media
- "Simpa Ti & Ja" TV commercial music score, HT 1999
- "Madden NFL 09", song placement, EA Sports 2009, Izza Kizza: "Millionaire"
- "Ugly Betty" song placement, ABC 2008, Bow Wow & Omarion: "Hey Baby (Jump Off)"
- "So You Think You Can Dance" song placement, FOX 2008, Izza Kizza: "They're Everywhere"
- "H&M Kids Fashion Flash Mob" song placement, H&M 2009, Izza Kizza: "Set It Off"
- "Y2K NBA Basketball 2009" song placement, Izza Kizza: "They're Everywhere"
- "Mix It Up" web ad score/song placement, Alize 2009, Izza Kizza: "Mix It Up"
- "Nice Ice" song placement, Nivea 2010, Buco aka Mali Dado: "Nice Ice"