||From the Vault...
© Tommy Boy Records
That's How It Is
Exercise Yo' Game 5
For My Sistas
Is This Me
A Thing Goin' On
Bright As The Sun
Get Up Get Down
Coolio related sites:
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
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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