From The Vault: Coolio – ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’

Published: Sunday 8th Nov 2015 by Joe

Coolio’s monumental mid-90’s hit ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ is this week’s ‘From The Vault’ pick.
Released exactly 20 years ago in 1995, ‘Paradise’ is one of modern music’s renowned efforts  and undeniably rapper Coolio’s signature track

The song – which features singer L.V. – tells the tale of an African-American “gangster” and the reasons behind his deviant ways. With his choral background vocals and his infamous Bible-extracted opening line (“As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death”), it is heavily based on a sample from the mighty Stevie Wonder’s ‘Pastime Paradise’ from blueprint album ‘Songs In The Key Of Life’, reprising the melody of said track’s chorus to build its very own impressive one.

It served as the first single from Coolio’s sophomore effort, also titled ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ but most notably was included in the Michelle Pheiffer-led movie ‘Dangerous Minds.’ The song’s lyrical content fit perfectly with the film’s vision on African-American and Latinos youth in America.

A worldwide smash, ‘Paradise’ reached #1 in over 20 countries including the US, the UK, France and Australia. It is also the first ever rap single to sell over a million copies.
This song earned its banner act a Grammy Award as well as a Billboard Music Award.
Antoine Fuqua helmed the cut’s visual, which features Coolio in a dark room spitting his rhymes in front of an attentive Pheiffer (who reprised her ‘Dangerous Minds’ role). Footage from the movie is juxtaposed to great effect. Adding to the awards haul, the clip for ‘Paradise’ was rewarded with two MTV Video Music Awards.
Two decades on, ‘Paradise’ remains potent both musically and lyrically. And though Coolio has been absent from the charts this past decade, he will forever be a figure in Pop Culture thanks to this honest take on what it means to be young and discriminated-against in the 20th century.

Your thoughts?

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  1. King Stephy November 8, 2015

    This song slays so HARD. Listening to it with BEATS Headphones on FULL volume is f****** amazing.

    • ImKing November 8, 2015

      Yes, it’s a classic.

      • Lil Kim thee ONLY QB November 8, 2015

        ……the fact that this was onthe radio tonight on the way home

  2. November 8, 2015

    still dope up to 20 years later, this is a classic right here.

  3. RihannaIsMadonna November 9, 2015

    Its so iconic, gives goosebumps 20 years on

  4. Truth November 9, 2015

    …and today we have cornballs like Drake. And weird hipsters like J. Cole and Kendrick Lemar. What happened to the alpha male rappers like Coolio, Pac, WuTang, Biggie, Snoop, etc. Rappers today are pussssies.

    • The King November 9, 2015

      Being an alpha male and being a one dimensional thug isn’t the same thing.

  5. bibi93 November 13, 2015

    Classic s***!!!

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