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Gangsta's Paradise - Coolio

Gangsta's Paradise

Gangsta's Paradise
rap 90s Hip-Hop Gangsta Rap hip hop


Gangsta's Paradise is a rap song by Coolio featuring L.V. from the movie Dangerous Minds (1995) (starring Michelle Pfeiffer). The song was later released on the albums Gangsta's Paradise and Dangerous Minds soundtrack in 1995. Coolio was awarded a Grammy for the song/album. The song was voted as the best single of the year in The Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics poll. It sampled the chorus and music of the song "Pastime Paradise" by Stevie Wonder (1976). The song was also listed at #69 on Billboard's Greatest Songs of All-Time. In 2008, it was ranked number 38 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop. Following Coolio's appearance in the UK TV show Celebrity Big Brother 2009 Gangsta's Paradise re-entered the UK singles chart peaking at #31. L.V. released a solo version of the single in 1996 on his debut album, I Am L.V.. This version did not feature Coolio, and featured additional lyrics written by L.V. himself. The single did not repeat the popularity of the original with Coolio. The music is a reworking of Stevie Wonder's "Pastime Paradise", a song from his album Songs in the Key of Life. "Gangsta's Paradise" uses the same tune, and a different orchestration of the same backing music. Coolio changed the lyrics to be more relevant to life on the streets. The song begins with a line from Psalm 23:4 from the Bible: As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, but then diverges with: I take a look at my life / And realize there's nothin' left. Adding to some of the religious overtones are choral vocals in the background. Many of the lyrics are very dark and tragic and are meant to be a criticism of the violence and tragedy of the "gangsta" life. The choral lines (sung by L.V.) Tell me why are we so blind to see / That the ones we hurt are you and me offer an especially plaintive self-criticism. The music video for the song was directed by Antoine Fuqua of Propaganda Films, and featured Michelle Pfeiffer reprising her earlier role in Dangerous Minds. When Coolio won the Best Rap Video at the MTV Video Music Awards in 1996, he said in a press conference that Bone Thugs-n-Harmony deserved the award for "Tha Crossroads".


Coolio (born Artis Leon Ivey, Jr. on August 1, 1963 in Compton, California) is an American rapper and actor whose G-Funk sounding beats and funky flow make listening very pleasant. Coolio started his career as a member of the rap group, WC and the Maad Circle. In 1994, Coolio released his debut album It Takes a Thief which featured the hugely successful singles, Fantastic Voyage and It Takes a Thief. In 1995 Coolio released his second and most successful album Gangsta's Paradise Show more ...

Gangsta's Paradise - Coolio

As I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death,
I take a look at my life,
And realize there's nothing left,
'Cause I've been blasting and laughing so long
That even my momma thinks that my mind has gone.
But I ain't never crossed a man that didn't deserve it.
Me be treated like a punk, you know that's unheard of,
You better watch how you're talking, and where you're walking,
Or you and your homies might be lined in chalk,
I really hate to trip, but I gotta Loc,
As they croak I see myself in the pistol smoke,
Fool, I'm the kinda G the little homies wanna be like,
On my knees in the night
Saying prayers in the street light.

[Chorus:]
We've been spending most our lives
Living in a gangsta's paradise.
We've been spending most our lives
Living in a gangsta's paradise.
We keep spending most our lives
Living in a gangsta's paradise.
We keep spending most our lives
Living in a gangsta's paradise.

Look at the situation, they got me facing,
I can't live a normal life, I was raised by the streets.
So I gotta be down with the 'hood team,
Too much television watching, got me chasing dreams.
I'm an educated fool with money on my mind
Got my ten in my hand and a gleam in my eye.
I'm a lok'd out gangsta, set tripping banger
And my homies is down so don't arouse my anger.
Fool, death ain't nothing but a heart beat away,
I'm living life do or die, what can I say?
I'm twenty-three now, but will I live to see twenty-four,
The way things is going I don't know.

Tell me why are we
So blind to see
That the ones we hurt
Are you and me?

We've been spending most our lives
Living in a gangsta's paradise.
We've been spending most our lives
Living in a gangsta's paradise.
We keep spending most our lives
Living in a gangsta's paradise.
We keep spending most our lives
Living in a gangsta's paradise.

Power and the money, money and the power,
Minute after minute, hour after hour,
Everybody's running, but half of them ain't looking
It's going on in the kitchen
But I don't know what's cooking.
They say I gotta learn
But nobody's here to teach me.
If they can't understand it, how can they reach me?
I guess they can't,
I guess they won't,
I guess they front,
That's why I know my life is out of luck, fool!

We've been spending most our lives
Living in a gangsta's paradise.
We've been spending most our lives
Living in a gangsta's paradise.
We keep spending most our lives
Living in a gangsta's paradise.
We keep spending most our lives
Living in a gangsta's paradise.

Tell me why are we
So blind to see.
That the ones we hurt
Are you and me?
Tell me why are we
So blind to see.
That the ones we hurt
Are you and me?



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