Hanaran in 2017
|Birth name||Anthony Cooper Hanaran|
|Also known as||Lil Coop, Cooperella|
April 27, 1997|
Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan
|Genres||Hip hop · Electronica · House · Neo-Disco|
|Occupation(s)||Rapper · singer · songwriter · actor|
|Instruments||Vocals · keyboards · synthesizer|
|Years active||2014 - present|
|Labels||Advance Music House|
Anthony Cooper Hanaran (April 27, 1997), better known by his stage name Lil Coop is a Sierran rapper, singer-songwriter, actor, and author. He first gained mainstream recognition after his single The Shades went gold in 2015, with over 40 million views on the official VidStream upload, and 640,000 sales on MyTunes. His Symphly channel has over 100 million views total.
In 2017 Hanaran released ten singles, five of which spent a cumulative 20 weeks on the Sierran Hot 100; Mental Litness in particular remained in the top ten of the Hot 100 for six weeks. His first album, to be entitled The Thomas Auxiliary Experience, was announced in 2017 and was released on February 9, 2018. It consisted of mostly new songs with some self-remixes of The Shades and Post-Discopocalypse.
In addition to music, Hanaran also produces comedy videos ranging from reaction videos to sketches on his VidStream channel CooperellaTV, which as of 2018, has 4.5 million subscribers. His most viewed video, entitled "ROOST NATION UNITE" has over 100 million views and has spawned various internet memes, notably "roosting".
Hanaran is politically active and supports what he refers to as 'nu-politics.' He previously expressed support for right-wing parties but rejected any sort of label. He was supportive of the current Prime Minister Nemesis Heartwell but has later recanted on this and voiced support for Social Democrat leader Susan Kwon. He has also endorsed various fourth party candidates with little name recognition. He attracted controversy in 2018 for statements he made which some have interpreted as him supporting flat Earth beliefs; "I think the hate for non-mainstream views is out of hand. [To] anyone who thinks the Earth is round: have you ever seen it yourself?" he said. He later clarified he did not believe the Earth is flat but "understands" flat Earth arguments. He said he believed in several conspiracy theories and was interested in extraterrestrialism.
Early life[edit | edit source]
Anthony Cooper Hanaran was born on April 27, 1997 in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, to Sierrans Louise (neé Finnit) and Vincent Hanaran. His father worked as a cultural exchange and foreign outreach executive for the electronics company Samdale. Not wanting to be away from his family, he moved them to Japan for the duration of an extended project he was involved with. Hanaran's mother mostly stayed at home but was able to get part-time work as a secretary after Hanaran's father taught her Japanese. Hanaran lived in Japan for much of his childhood but did not attend Japanese public schools and was instead educated by Sierran tutors both within the country and overseas via long-distance mail and later, internet. His family moved back to Sierra shortly after he turned eight years old and they settled in Riverside, Inland Empire. After enrolling in public school in Riverside, Hanaran said his time in Japan made him "super cool" and he was able to make friends easily; "They loved I could speak Japanese. I was the only kid who didn't need subtitles or dubs to watch anime."
Career[edit | edit source]
Beginnings (2013-2014)[edit | edit source]
After moving to Riverside, Hanaran took interest in the local hip hop scene and began creating his own tracks. Through hip hop he also discovered electronic dance music and other disco-influenced genres. In 2013, his first track was published on a music forum Hanaran frequented and was untitled. It received little attention and has since been deleted but Hanaran has said it was a critical moment in his development as an artist; "That was the first step. You know? When you take that first step into unknown territory. It sucks. But who cares? You did it. That's how I felt and it was amazing." After his first attempt, he refined his musical style and released another version of the track, this time titled I am Thomas, which was met with positive reception. This encouraged Hanaran further and he opened a Symphly account shortly after to publish his music on.
Symphly and VidStream (2014-2015)[edit | edit source]
During late-2013 and early-2014, Hanaran had released eleven tracks on his Symphly channel. He created a VidStream channel called "AuxThomas" where he uploaded all of his material thus far and was preparing to put together a mixtape of various unreleased material. There he began experimenting with comedy and re-worked some existing material into comedy pieces, lambasting and satirizing the state of hip hop and popular culture in general. The mixtape was released on May 11, 2014 and was titled THOMAS THE DANK ENGINE Mixtape. It was well-received and several music critics praised Hanaran's ability to write both serious and comedic content. Jim Gregory of Hip Hop Tonight wrote in a review of the mixtape "Here, a new voice comes out with a hilarious collection of satire that bites into the long-standing insecurities of our genre. Yet, as shown by his previous works, it is clear Lil Coop does this out of a place of love, not derision, for the medium."
Hanaran's success with THOMAS THE DANK ENGINE inspired him to create a second VidStream channel, this time called "CooperellaTV" dedicated soles to comedic content. For the first time, he revealed his face to the public, which Hanaran later described as a moment where he was starting to "make it" as an artist. Initially he filled the channel with videos of him reacting to what he considered to be "cringiest of the web." He also did music, movie, and television reviews which included short skits where he developed several characters.
Hanaran started using Symphly less as he believed feedback was easier to gauge on VidStream. He notified his Symphly followers of this and encouraged them to subscribe to AuxThomas in order to stay updated. By the end of 2014, he was uploading his material entirely to VidStream, with his Symphly getting a delayed release.
The Shades, Roost Nation, and mainstream success (2015-2016)[edit | edit source]
Hanaran developed his characters on CooperellaTV even more during most of 2015. He began collaborating with other VidStreamrs and created an elaborate canon and overarching plot his fans have dubbed "Auxlore". Knowing he was beginning to neglect his music, he took time off from producing videos to create a track that he "wanted to be very special." The single was much-anticipated by his fans and music critics alike. On April 20, 2015 he released The Shades, a six-minute track consisting of both hip hop and pop influences. In the song, Hanaran criticizes ("throws the shade on") various groups, subjects, and people both ironically and unironically. He declares that "western animation is an abomination" and hopes vaccines actually do cause autism because "otherwise y'all are just stupid on your own and I can't handle that." According Hanaran, the song is meant to be an amalgam of all his works up to that point and "define me as an artist." Arguably he was successful, as the track became one of his most popular among his fans, launched him to the public's eye, and has become synonymous with his other works. It officially went gold three weeks after its release when it sold 500,000 downloads on MyTunes. Critics, on the other hand, were very polarized. On the positive side, the track was described as "A masterpiece" and "An example of the post-ironic humor that is developing across the internet, injected with genuine views in what can only be described as artistic chaos." On the negative said, critics lampooned it for its inflammatory lyrics, some expressing concern as to which of the views showcased are actually Hanaran's. Another consistent criticism was the "Lack of artistic merit". River Commonplace wrote "It is easier to destroy than it is to create. It is easier to critique than it is to praise. Lil Coop does both in Shades, which shows to me he is a lazy artist indeed."
Riding on the success of The Shades, he returned to comedy, wishing to create an equivalent work on CooperellaTV. The result was "ROOST NATION UNITE", a five-minute video of Hanaran travelling throughout southern Sierra looking for his fans, whom he calls "Roosters." Once found, he "roosts" them by waving his arms in a manner similar to a bird flapping its wings while imitating a rooster crow. The video was described as an "epic" of cringe humor and it spawned several internet memes, "roosting" in particular. It remains the most viewed video on CooperellaTV with 21,930,000 views as of 2018.
Mental Litness and continued popularity (2016-2017)[edit | edit source]
2016 was described by critics and fans of Hanaran's to be something of a 'gap year.' He released only a few tracks, his primary being Mental Litness which, despite the semi-ironic title, takes a serious look and examination into the mental health crisis Hanaran believes is affecting Sierra, southern Sierra in particular. Mental Litness was very well-received although some fans questioned if Hanaran was in a creative box. Zarah Anderson, a long time fan of Hanaran's and contributor to various music publications said "With an ironic title but serious song composition, I can't help but feel Aux Thomas is in a bit of a crisis himself. Will he choose the ironic life, becoming the genre's court jester? Or will he become a diligent messenger of the issues our society faces? Or will he, in total Lil Coop fashion, do both while being the other?"
Hanaran used most of the year advancing his image, fueled by the popularity he had achieved in prior years. He embarked on his first tour, called The Aux Cord Tour, where he visited almost every major city in Sierra and the Deseret. His comedy channel saw no uploads during this period which Hanaran apologized for; " I know some of you don't care about the music and that's totally cool. I'll get back to [comedy] before you know it," he said on his Instagram account. On September 29, 2016 Hanaran signed with his first record label, Advance Music House.
He was a guest artist for several other music personalities including Q-Lo, Stephacide, and LoWavCee. The first half of 2017 was mostly the same as 2016 although it was clear Hanaran was preparing something. This was confirmed when, on June 4, 2017, Hanaran announced his first album, to be entitled The Thomas Auxiliary Experience, slated for a 2018 release. He also announced he would be compiling a mixtape mostly consisting of his most popular works until then, to be released at the same time.
Album debut[edit | edit source]
In preparation for the release of The Thomas Auxiliary Experience, Hanaran launched another tour, called Just Coop, this time with visits in some cities elsewhere in the Anglosphere. He also made his first foreign performance in Sendai, where he was born, and Tokyo. He started a contest on his website, SocialNet, Symphly and other social media accounts where he pledged to donate 90% of the proceeds from Just Coop to the charitable cause that received the most votes on those sites. Within 24 hours, the Sierran Foundation for Autism Research had received a majority of votes, followed by search for extraterrestrial intelligence-related groups. On January 21, 2018, Hanaran revised the contest so that the two runners-up will also receive a personal $10,000 donation by Hanaran.
Shortly after the release of Auxiliary Experience, Winslow announced a new album was already in the works. On April 18, 2018 the cover art for the new collection, entitled Anything Profound to Say, was published on Winslow's Bubbler account. The album was released on July 6, 2018.
Artistry[edit | edit source]
Music style[edit | edit source]
Hanaran's style of music has been influenced by a variety of genres and artists. As a hip hop producer primarily, Hanaran cites many fellow rappers as influences, including Genesys, Big Frank, Roc Steady, and Q-Lo. Outside of hip hop, Hanaran cites artists such as The Landing, Living Still Lives, Planetaria, Nympho Guns, and Emma Chae as being influences. Hanaran usually incorporates lyrics which were meant to be satirical in tone and presentation but include a "kernel" of Hanaran's own views. This is definitely seen in The Shades where, in the last act of the track, he "disses" various companies and artists he had taken umbridge with.
Hanaran writes all his own music and never employs more than two writers to assist him. This is out of a desire not to become what he considered "a brand" and retain what he believed was artistic integrity.
Comedy style[edit | edit source]
Hanaran cites VidStream as his largest influence on comedy; "VidStream was a golden place for comedy. I have too many artists to name that have influenced my work in humor."
His style of humor is largely screwball and surrealist in nature, with some toilet humor mixed in occasionally. Irony and observational humor can also be found in Hanaran's videos. Lately he has begun experimenting with cringe humor, as seen in "ROOST NATION UNITE" which remains his most popular video to date. Although he believes anything can be made funny if done correctly, Hanaran tries to shy away from forms of humor he considers to be overtly offensive, such as certain kinds of gallows humor and especially race humor. These genres of humor were prominent in his early days as a VidStream comedian but said he moved away from them after realizing children make up a large share of his audience; "Nah, I'm [not] gonna become Forest Friends or anything. But I just don't want little kids shouting 'mungo', 'jeb', or 'cado' or some shit because they saw one of my videos. I got you, parents."
Personal life[edit | edit source]
Hanaran says he has never seriously dated anyone and said that he has "little interest." However, it was known to several tabloid publications that he briefly dated Sabrina Jackson, a writer for Tokki Studios. Jackson was present during the Tokki Studio shooting but was unharmed.
Hanaran is politically active and typically supported whom he believes to be underdog candidates or those with 'nu-politics.' He supported Nemesis Heartwell's Senate run and her prime ministership, saying "Oh I think she'd be fantastic for the country. Absolutely." As of 2019, however, he has retracted his support for Heartwell, saying "She was a mistake." He has expressed support for Social Democratic Leader Susan Kwon; "Her economics are something I can get behind." Hanaran has also endorsed, and even contributed to, the campaigns of various fourth party candidates. Records show that he donated $100 to both the Communist Party of Sierra and the Remove Kebab Party in 2017
Hanaran believes extraterrestrials have visited Earth and have abducted hundreds of people over the past seventy years; "I mean it started with Roswell right? We studied the alien pilot. Obviously they want to return the favor and study us." Hanaran also believes the government is concealing information about extraterrestrials.
Controversies[edit | edit source]
Alleged flat Earth beliefs[edit | edit source]
In 2017, Hanaran was accused of believing the Earth is flat due to a comment he made regarding the topic. In an interview he gave with Vanguard, Hanaran said ""I think the hate for non-mainstream views is out of hand. [To] anyone who thinks the Earth is round: have you ever seen it yourself? You haven't. So even you can't say for sure it's round." Hanaran received large amounts of criticism on social media, which he addressed in a clarification where he said "Look, I don't think the Earth is flat. But I understand their arguments. It doesn't hurt to challenge your beliefs."
Conspiracy beliefs[edit | edit source]
Hanaran believes in various conspiracy theories and frequently promotes them to his fans on social media and through his music. This has caused friction with the various platforms where he hosts his content. In June 2019, his VidStream channel was temporarily closed for violating its policy on hate speech. After a public backlash, the channel was restored a day later. Earlier, in 2016, Hanaran went into detail about his experiences with gangstalking. He believes he was gangstalked by the Sierran government, particularly the RIA. He did not offer any reason as to why, and claimed that they stopped after he turned 20.
On April 15, 2018, Hanaran posted on Instagram about the existence of a joint Sierran-Brazorian military installation known as Snrith Gulch. Hanaran went on at length about how he believed the base was used to keep various cryptids contained, the Snrith included. He compared Snrith Gulch to Area 51. The next day, Hanaran claimed he was visited by federal law enforcement officers and asked to take down the post, citing national security reasons, but he refused. He stated that the government's alleged gangstalking resumed because of his post. The incident drew confusion from fans and fellow artists alike. 17 Cliipper the Red God posted a link on Bubbler to Hanaran's Instagram post with the caption "Shit is Lil Coop alright?" Hanaran responded to Cliipper saying "Yes I am, thansk [sic] for your concern." Others wondered if Hanaran was experiencing some sort of psychotic episode but Hanaran insisted he was mentally sound and everything he posted was true. He made several references to the RIA in his music including "Sixth Dimension" where he sang about Project JUVIA, a 1980s RIA mind control program and Operation POSTAL, a cancelled operation where the RIA and RBI was to pose as postal workers from the Royal Postal Service to locate and assassinate dissident republicans.