From the Vault...


"Gangsta's Paradise"

© Tommy Boy Records

track listing
  • That's How It Is
  • Geto Highlites
  • Gangsta's Paradise
  • Too Hot
  • Cruisin'
  • Exercise Yo' Game 5
  • Sumpin' New
  • Smilin'
  • Fucc Coolio
  • Kinda High
    Kinda Drunk
  • For My Sistas
  • Is This Me
  • A Thing Goin' On
  • Bright As The Sun
  • Recoup This
  • The Revolution
  • Get Up Get Down

  • WSVNRadio Archives
    A B C D E F G H I J K L M
    N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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    "Gangsta's Paradise"

    Coolio may have "cool" as part of his name, but after listening to his Gangsta's Paradise album, the million-dollar question is "Did he get actual permission to sample/use well-known 1970s hits?" The reason why is the story behind Weird Al Yankovic using Gangsta's Paradise for his song "Amish Paradise," from Bad Hair Day. First of all, the title track from Coolio, was based on Stevie Wonder's "Pastime Paradise," which was from Songs In The Key Of Life. Weird Al Yankovic's secretary made the phone call to Coolio's "powers to be," and they approved Yankovic's use of the song for "Amish Paradise." When Coolio actually found out, he refused the permission, but it was already too late, as Yankovic already recorded the song. So the question remains, did Coolio get permission to use certain songs for his album Gangta's Paradise ?

    In the "Did Coolio get permission" category, there are songs from this album that uses various 1970s songs, such as Stevie Wonder's "Pastime Paradise" for "Gangsta's Paradise," which hit #1 on the Pop charts. Being so in this case, BOTH Coolio and Wonder would be sharing the pot of gold (money) for this song becoming #1, as we all know Stevie Wonder himself had quite a few #1 hits of his own, and he surely wrote or co-wrote some (if all) on his own. "Too Hot" uses Kool & The Gang's song of the same name, as Coolio gives it a more upbeat style, with fast rappin' vocals. Smokey Robinson's "Cruisin'" is used for the song of the same name, updated with rap vocals. Billy Paul's "Me And Mrs. Jones" is used on "A Thing Goin' On," as this song by Coolio is a very impressive good Soul song.

    Now for the "These songs are not really Bad Rap Songs" category... Most people who do not prefer Rap music cannot stand the "boom-de-da-boom" and/or the offensive lyrics. (The music attracts my attention first, then the lyrics later.) "Geto Highlites" certainly has the cool rhythms, and pretty much doesn't drive you crazy. "Sumpin' New" can be a good club dancing song, as it has a definite 1970s Disco feel. "Kinda High Kinda Drunk" can be another good club dancer, with its smooth rhythms. "For My Sistas" has a cool rhythm beat, with today's Rap vocal style, and "Bright As The Sun" has a good groove going.

    Now for the "ummm, Damn That Rap Music!" -- these are songs that definitely can irritate the "not-so-common" Rap fan ... "Exercise Yo' Game 5" is rappin' as it gets, the typical Rap style. "Smilin'" has the updated Rap style, while it maybe enjoyed by some, it just doesn't do anything for me, especially the (whining) vocal chorus. Likewise the same goes for "The Revolution." Some Rap songs I can listen (or tolerate), but this one just didn't do anything for me. AND the same for the album's closing number, (despite having a good rhythm going is the best I can say...) "Get Up Get Down." "Is This Me" just wants to make you say, "Yo Yo Yo - We be Rappin' on this one..." eh... NEXT... Some short skits can also be mentioned, with the use of offensive language is used... The opening of this album "That's How It Is" is a spoken little skit, on how things are in today's world, whether we like it or not. And the very violent "Recoup This" takes a look at a deal gone bad. (Here's a hint on what kind of violence: Get the gun, get the gun... Shoot Shoot Shoot... Ahem, should have I contacted VH1's Behind The Music: Ozzy Osbourne on that one?)

    Some of the songs look back at the music of the 1970s, yet they have an updated twist to each. Again, the controversial question remains of permission from some of the songs original samplings. It's quite obvious to wonder if Coolio went ahead and used these songs as Weird Al did, assuming everything was ok. I'd hate to see the double standard "oh, its OK when I do it, but it's NOT OK if someone else does." It seems the likes of Stevie Wonder and the rest didn't complain, as far as I know, but given the fact in Weird Al's case, he is well-known as a parody artist, and his lyrics are always in a jokingly, not-so-serious factor. In either case, both Coolio and Weird Al made their share of the money pot on both their uses of Stevie Wonder's "Pastime Paradise." Coolio didn't take it so seriously though. After all, if it wasn't for Stevie Wonder, both versions by Coolio and Weird Al would probably never have surfaced. (But I do like Weird Al's case with Dire Straits' Mark Knopfler: When Weird Al wanted to do a parody on "Money For Nothing," Knopfler would agree to term on one condition.. That he would play guitar on Weird Al's parody version. NOW THAT'S PERMISSION!!!)

    Again, Rap Music is not for everyone, but there are some pretty good songs here on Coolio's Gangsta's Paradise. Rest aside on the case between Coolio and Weird Al, the songs containing the samplings of the 1970s songs are the standouts.

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    Previous Review: #858
    Roseanne Cash--Hits 1979-1989
    Next Review: #860
    Pipapelli--Empty Scotch Bottle Blues