Gangsta's Paradise

Album: Gangsta's Paradise (1995)
Charted: 1 1
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  • As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
    I take a look at my life and realize there's nothin' left
    'Cause I've been blastin' and laughin' so long
    That even my momma thinks that my mind is 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 talkin' and where you walkin'
    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 that little homies wanna be like
    On my knees in the night, sayin' prayers in the street light

    Keep spending most our lives
    Livin' in a gangsta's paradise
    Been spending most their lives
    Livin' in a gangsta's paradise
    We keep spending most our lives
    Livin' in a gangsta's paradise
    We keep spending most our lives
    Livin' in a gangsta's paradise

    Look at the situation they got me facin'
    I can't live a normal life, I was raised by the street
    So I gotta be down with the hood team
    Too much television watching, got me chasing dreams
    I'm a educated fool with money on my mind
    Got my ten in my hand and a gleam in my eye
    I'm a loc'd out gangsta, set trippin' banger
    And my homies is down, so don't arouse my anger
    Fool, death ain't nothin' but a heart beat away
    I'm livin' life do or die, what can I say?
    I'm 23 now but will I live to see 24?
    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?

    Been spending most our lives
    Livin' in a gangsta's paradise
    Been spending most their lives
    Livin' in a gangsta's paradise
    We keep spending most our lives
    Livin' in a gangsta's paradise
    We keep spending most our lives
    Livin' 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 lookin'
    It's going on in the kitchen, but I don't know what's cookin'
    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!

    Been spending most our lives
    Livin' in a gangsta's paradise
    Been spending most their lives
    Livin' in a gangsta's paradise
    We keep spending most our lives
    Livin' in a gangsta's paradise
    We keep spending most our lives
    Livin' 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?

Comments: 30

  • R.In a interview for "Hot Ones", Coolio claims how he felt like he was "channeling" the lyrics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C79nHzODu0o
  • Steve from AustraliaHi!

    Regarding Mark from New York’s comment, I understand Weird Al had gotten permission from the record company (and I gather that LV and producer Doug Rashid were happy about it), but Coolio was none the wiser, and when he did find out about it wasn’t happy; by ‘96 though he was happy with it, and getting along just fine with Al; I gather too that due to that misunderstanding to this day Al now clears everything directly with the artist themselves.

    Gotta say, what an amaaaaazing song!
  • Mark from New YorkLast I knew, Weird Al won't record a parody unless he receives permission, so... Being parody it's not necessary, but it's respectful.
  • Buckeye Boy from OhioKeep spending most our lives living in a gangsta's paradise is my memorable line. Coolio is cool even though I'm a 60's and 70's rock fan.
  • Lynn from FloridaThat song really makes me think about the Black Lives Matter movement. Having to watch where you move and what you say where are you go. I’m not really into rap but I love blues and jazz and all of that type of music tells a story and speaks a message. This one is telling a little gangsters to not go that path. I like the message of the song even if the lyrics are bone chilling. Rap it’s like that. Direct and in your face.
  • Fulu from South AfricaThis song takes me back 2 my childhood, mmm it made the 90's memorable.
  • Miles from Vancouver, CanadaThe "In The Air Tonight" of rap songs...most non-rap fans love this mind-bending song the same way with Phil Collins and his song...besides, if you listen to the lyrics, they really are bone-chilling.
  • Garrett from Nashville, TnI remember listening to this song when I was a kid. Hearing it now brings back a lot of memories. I've been watching a show called X Factor and a guy named Chris Rene did a cover of this song but remixed it a little. I think he did a really good job with it.
  • Jim from Long Beach, CaCoolio another rapper from my hometown of Long Beach,California(The LBC)....
  • Theresa from Murfreesboro, TnI used to listen to this song like crazy in junior high. Too bad Coolio could never recapture the magic.
  • Brad from Somewhere, GaQuote: "They were afraid the song was too graphic and would alienate fans who enjoyed his hit "Fantastic Voyage," which had much lighter subject matter."

    Fantastic Voyage was about wanting to escape from the hood. He wants to move to "a place where my kids can play outside without living in fear of a drive-by.") He continues to rap about "running with a gang" and having to "stand on the corner and slang [sell drugs]."

    Not exactly "much lighter subject matter," and not that much different from this song.
  • Fulu from Limpopo, South Africayankovic made such a hit song out of this gangstas paradise
  • S.d. from Denver, CoI always thought it was a little hypocritical of Coolio to complain about Yankovic having used the song without permission and having "desecrated" his song, when in fact, Coolio didn't exactly get permission to "desecrate" Stevie Wonder's low-key R&B classic about a life spent in poverty by recording a rap track over the music.
  • Bertrand from Paris, FrancePrior to 1995, Coolio was mostly known for lighter, more humorous rap that provided an alternative to West Coast gangsta rap. The rivetingly atmospheric "Gangsta's Paradise" was such a shift in focus that Coolio's record label decided to leave it off his own solo album and instead put it on the soundtrack to the film [i] Dangerous Minds [i]. When released as a single, "Gangsta's Paradise" became one of the biggest hits of the year spreading its social commentary on ghetto life from coast to coast.
  • Sara from Traverse City, MiI remeber back when this came out, I was about 9 or 10 and my sister use to play this all the time. And I loved it, still do in fact.
  • J-roc from South Boston, MaOne of my favorite hip-hop songs from back in the day.
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesThe song was creditted to 'Coolio featuring LV' when released as a single in 1995. The first of four big UK hits for Coolio between 1995 and 1997
  • Brandon from Peoria, IlYou hit the nail on the head Sam. If Coolio wanted to look more gangsta, he should have taken that goofy lookin' spider off of his head :)
  • Gerald from Philippines, Otherim not of a hip hop kinda person, but this one here is rockin rap song! hell yeah!
  • Ralph from Newton, MaOne of the funniest things to me about the Weird Al flap is that Coolio said something like this ain't "Beat It." But isn't the subject matter essentially the same of gang warfare etc.? The big difference I see is that Michael Jackson is (was) a skinny black guy who sings like a girl. Coolio on the other hand, hired a fat black guy to sing like a girl on his song.

  • Ben from Nyc, MsAmish Paradise Is Better.
  • Kristina from Houston, Txthis song is awesome! it was my favorite rap song when i was in junior high. its the coolest!
  • Sam from Chicago, IlActually, I think Coolio's record company said Al could do the parody, but Coolio apparently diddn't know. I think he was just making it up to sound more "gangsta"
  • Jeannie from Bwood, TnYay! We sang this song in choir! isnt that crazy!?
  • Eric from Phx, Aztight song i think but weirld al made it more popular
  • Tom from Alma, GaIt would be somewhat of a relief to hear a rap song that WASN'T about "how rought life growin up on the streets" is, or killing someone, or all the money and cootchie they get.
  • Cap from Earth, United StatesEvan:

    "this song paved the way for all the rappers that tell how hard life really is where they grow up."

    So I'm guessing you never heard of Public Enemy, KRS-One and Grandmaster Flash then?
  • Mark from Montebello, CaFunny that Coolio got mad at Weird Al Yankovic for using "his" song. Yet, it's Stevie Wonder's song. Coolio "you" desecrated a great song.
  • Evan from Acworh, GaOne of my FAVORITE all time rap songs! If you are a rap fan, this song paved the way for all the rappers that tell how hard life really is where they grow up. David Banner, Fraiser Boys, they all tell the story of rough life growing up on the streets. Great song...just listen to the words
  • Eddy from Townsville, AustraliaWickidass song, one of my favourite rap songs of all time ; )
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