So, 2009 is upon us and that must mean that, with X Factor, Strictly & Celebrity out of the way it must be time for another series of Big Brother. This time, amongst the former boy band members and Z-list celebs is Coolio, a rapper best remembered for his track Gangster’s Paradise which heavily sampled Stevie Wonder’s Pastime Paradise. I’ve always found the success of Gangster’s Paradise bizarre as I actually don’t like that track but think that some of his work is worthy of being remembered.
Fantastic Voyage was the stand-out song from his debut album It Takes A Thief: as with Gangster’s Paradise it is heavily based on a single sample, in this case Fantastic Voyage by Lakeside. As allmusic explain so well, the track, in common with much else on the album, was imbued with a sense of humour missing from so much rap of the time (mid 90s). It blends smooth funk & soul samples with witty lyrics that shone a light on, but never glamourised, the ghetto life-style.
Anyway, I’m guessing that Coolio will be getting more press in the next three weeks than he has done in more than a decade and it’s just a shame it’s for such a crap reason. But that being as the case, it seems like the perfect oportunity to remind people that Collio used to be, well, cool.
On a very random side note, I thought that I’d mention that I first encountered Coolio when Fantastic Voyage was name-checked as the track of the year in a Christmas radio show in the early/mid-90s. And which cool-hunter was it who was singing the praises of the track? If I remember correctly it was Gary Barlow. Who’d have thunk it eh?