Gangsta's Paradise (song): Wikis

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"Gangsta's Paradise"
Single by Coolio featuring L.V.
from the album Gangsta's Paradise, Dangerous Minds OST and I Am L.V.
Released July 31, 1995
Format CD single, cassette, 12-inch single
Recorded 1995
Genre West Coast hip hop, Gangsta rap
Length 4:00
Label Tommy Boy Records
Writer(s) Coolio
Doug Rasheed
Larry Sanders
Stevie Wonder
Producer Doug Rasheed
Coolio singles chronology
"It Takes a Thief Bitch"
(1994)
"Gangsta's Paradise"
(1995)
"Mama I'm in Love wit a Gangsta"
(1995)

"Gangsta's Paradise" is a rap song by Coolio featuring L.V. from the movie Dangerous Minds (1995). 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). Wonder performed the song with Coolio and L.V. at the 1995 Billboard Awards.

The song was also listed at #69 on Billboard's Greatest Songs of All-Time[1] and #1 biggest selling single of 1995 on U.S. Billboard.[2]

In 2008, it was ranked number 38 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop.

Contents

Background and writing

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.[citation needed]

Lyrics and music

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.

Music video

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".

Chart performances

The single reached number one in the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Austria, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Australia, and New Zealand, making it Coolio's most successful single. 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.

Parodies/Covers

There are some parodies of the song, including "Amish Paradise" by "Weird Al" Yankovic, which was released the following year, reaching #53 on the U.S. chart. Coolio claimed that he did not give permission for the parody, which led to disagreements between the two. Yankovic claimed that he had been told Coolio had given the go-ahead through his record label, and apologized. Because of this incident, Yankovic now only does parodies by artists that he has spoken with directly, rather than through intermediaries. Photos from the XM Satellite Radio booth at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show suggest Yankovic and Coolio may have made amends.[3]

The Christian rock band ApologetiX also did a parody called "Shepherd's Paradise" based on Psalm 23.

Another parody by Paul Shanklin using Gangsta's Paradise is "Algore Paradise," in which Shanklin sings in the voices of Al Gore and Bill Clinton. The Choral Line as sung by Shanklin (as Clinton) goes, Tell me why is it / so hard to see / If he's really a man, or just a tree.

Death metal parody-group Ten Masked Men have also done a rendition of the song. The former boy band Blue used a sample of the instrumental for their single "Curtain Falls".

Metalcore band In Fear and Faith covered this song as well, as well as Death/Thrash band Artas.

The song appeared on the television show New York Undercover.

The song also appeared in an episode of Ross Kemp on Gangs

Sturman George Russian band ("Штурман Жорж") used a sample of the instrumental for their single "Ausweis" ("Аусвайс").

Sales records and awards

Billboard

  • Billboard Year-End Chart-Toppers 1995
    • Top Hot 100 Single number one
    • Top Hot 100 Single Sales number one (2.5 million copies) (2x platinum)

Grammy Awards

MTV

Track listings

CD single
  1. "Gangsta's Paradise" — 4:00
  2. "Gangsta's Paradise" (instrumental) — 3:49
CD single bonus tracks
  1. "Gangsta's Paradise" - 4:02
  2. "Fantastic Voyage (Original Version)" - 4:05
  3. "Mama I'm In Love Wit A Gangsta (Clean Radio Mix)" - 4:09
  4. "Gangsta's Paradise (Instrumental)" - 3:50
CD maxi
  1. "Gangsta's Paradise" — 4:00
  2. "Gangsta's Paradise" (instrumental) — 3:49
  3. "Fantastic Voyage" (album version) by Coolio — 4:04

Certifications

Country Certification Date Sales certified
Austria[4] Platinum January 8, 1996 30,000
Germany[5] 2 x Platinum 1996 600,000
Netherlands[6] Platinum 1995 60,000
Norway[7] 4 x Platinum 1996 40,000
UK[8] Platinum November 1, 1995 600,000
U.S.[9] Gold - Platinum February 23, 1996 3,000,000

Charts

Chart (1995/96) Peak
position
Australian Singles Chart[10] 1
Austrian Singles Chart[10] 1
Belgian (Flanders) Singles Chart[10] 1
Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Chart[10] 1
Dutch Singles Chart[10] 1
Finnish Singles Chart[10] 1
French SNEP Singles Chart[10] 1
German Singles Chart[10] 1
Irish Singles Chart[11] 1
Italian Singles Chart 1
New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart[10] 1
Norwegian Singles Chart[10] 1
Swedish Singles Chart[10] 1
Swiss Singles Chart[10] 1
UK Singles Chart[12] 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[13] 1
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks[13] 2
U.S. Billboard Rhythmic Top 40[13] 2
U.S. Billboard Top 40 Mainstream[13] 17
End of year chart (1995) Position
Australian Singles Chart[14] 1
Belgian (Flanders) Singles Chart[15] 4
Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Chart[16] 6
French Singles Chart[17] 7
End of year chart (1996) Position
Austrian Singles Chart[18] 6
Belgian (Flanders) Singles Chart[19] 16
Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Chart[20] 8
Swiss Singles Chart[21] 15
Preceded by
"You Are Not Alone" by Michael Jackson
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
September 9, 1995 - September 23, 1995 (3 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Fantasy" by Mariah Carey
Preceded by
"A Kind of Christmas Card" by Morten Harket
Norwegian VG-Lista number one single
42/1995 - 2/1996 (14 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Jesus to a Child" by George Michael
Preceded by
"Fairground" by Simply Red
United Kingdom Number 1 single
October 28, 1995 - November 4, 1995 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"I Believe"/"Up on the Roof" by Robson & Jerome
Preceded by
"Stayin' Alive" by N-Trance feat. Ricardo Da Force
Australian ARIA number one single
October 22, 1995 - January 14, 1996 (11 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Jesus to a Child" by George Michael
Preceded by
"Fantasy" by Mariah Carey
New Zealand RIANZ number one single (first run)
October 29, 1995 - December 17, 1995 (8 weeks)
Succeeded by
"One Sweet Day" by Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men
Preceded by
"Lucky Love" by Ace of Base
Finnish number one single
44/1995 - 1/1996 (9 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Jesus to a Child" by George Michael
Preceded by
"Het is een nacht... (Levensecht)" by Guus Meeuwis & Vagant
Dutch Top 40 number one single
November 4, 1995 - December 9, 1995 (6 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Ademnood" by Linda, Roos & Jessica
Preceded by
"Waterfalls" by TLC
Swiss number one single (first run)
November 5, 1995 - December 3, 1995 (5 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Earth Song" by Michael Jackson
Preceded by
"Het is een nacht... (Levensecht)" by Guus Meeuwis & Vagant
Belgian (Flanders) number one single (first run)
December 2, 1995 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"Ik ben een vent" by Jimmy B
Preceded by
"Je sais pas" by Céline Dion
French SNEP number one single (first run)
December 2, 1995 - February 17, 1996 (12 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Dieu m'a donné la foi" by Ophélie Winter
Preceded by
"You Are Not Alone" by Michael Jackson
Belgian (Wallonia) number one single
December 2, 1995 - March 2, 1996 (14 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Spaceman" by Babylon Zoo
Preceded by
"Ik ben een vent" by Jimmy B
Belgian (Flanders) number one single (second run)
December 16, 1995 - December 30, 1995 (3 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Knockin'" by Double Vision
Preceded by
"Earth Song" by Michael Jackson
Swiss number one single (second run)
December 17, 1995 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"Earth Song" by Michael Jackson
Preceded by
"Knockin'" by Double Vision
Austrian number one single
December 17, 1995 - February 11, 1996 (8 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Spaceman" by Babylon Zoo
Preceded by
"The Sign" by Ace of Base
Billboard Hot 100 Number one single of the year
1995
Succeeded by
"Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)" by Los Del Rio
Preceded by
"One Sweet Day" by Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men
New Zealand RIANZ number one single (second run)
January 14, 1996 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"One Sweet Day" by Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men
Preceded by
"Earth Song" by Michael Jackson
Swiss number one single (third run)
January 21, 1996 - February 11, 1996 (4 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Children" by Robert Miles
Preceded by
"Dieu m'a donné la foi" by Ophélie Winter
French SNEP number one single (second run)
March 2, 1996 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"Spaceman" by Babylon Zoo

References

  1. ^ Billboard.com - Billboard's Greatest Songs of All Time
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Weird and COOLIO?!?!? » Yank Blog
  4. ^ Austrian certifications ifpi.at (Retrieved August 1, 2008)
  5. ^ German certifications musikindustrie.de (Retrieved August 4, 2008)
  6. ^ Dutch certifications nvpi.nl (Retrieved December 9, 2008)
  7. ^ Norwegian certifications Ifpi.no (Retrieved August 4, 2008)
  8. ^ UK certifications Bpi.co.uk (Retrieved August 4, 2008)
  9. ^ U.S. certifications riaa.com (Retrieved August 4, 2008)
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Gangsta's Paradise", in various singles charts Lescharts.com (Retrieved February 21, 2008)
  11. ^ Irish Single Chart Irishcharts.ie (Retrieved February 21, 2008)
  12. ^ "Gangsta's Paradise", UK Singles Chart Chartstats.com (Retrieved August 4, 2008)
  13. ^ a b c d Billboard Allmusic.com (Retrieved August 4, 2008)
  14. ^ 1995 Australian Singles Chart aria.com (Retrieved April 20, 2008)
  15. ^ 1995 Belgian (Flanders) Singles Chart Ultratop.be (Retrieved April 20, 2008)
  16. ^ 1995 Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Chart Ultratop.be (Retrieved April 20, 2008)
  17. ^ 1995 French Singles Chart Disqueenfrance.com (Retrieved January 30, 2009)
  18. ^ 1996 Austrian Singles Chart Austriancharts.at (Retrieved April 20, 2008)
  19. ^ 1996 Belgian (Flanders) Singles Chart Ultratop.be (Retrieved April 20, 2008)
  20. ^ 1996 Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Chart Ultratop.be (Retrieved April 20, 2008)
  21. ^ 1996 Swiss Singles Chart Hitparade.ch (Retrieved April 20, 2008)

External links

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