Coolio Gangsta’s Paradise: what is the connection between Stevie Wonder’s Pastime Paradise and hit rap song?

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Here is everything you need to know about Coolio’s connection to Stevie Wonder

Coolio passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday 28th September 2022, at age 59.

The American rapper, whose real name is Artis Leon Ivey Jr, was found dead at his friend’s house in Los Angeles, California.

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The Grammy Award-winning rapper rose to fame in 1995 when he released Gangsta’s Paradise.

The smash hit interpolates the 1976 song Pastime Paradise by Stevie Wonder.

Coolio is evicted from the Big Brother House during the final of Celebrity Big Brother 2009 at Elstree Studios on January 23, 2009 in London, England.  (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)Coolio is evicted from the Big Brother House during the final of Celebrity Big Brother 2009 at Elstree Studios on January 23, 2009 in London, England.  (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Coolio is evicted from the Big Brother House during the final of Celebrity Big Brother 2009 at Elstree Studios on January 23, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Here is everything you need to know about Coolio’s connection to Stevie Wonder.

What was Stevie Wonder’s involvement in Gangsta’s Paradise?

Stevie Wonder released the soul tune Pastime Paradise in 1976 as a single, however it never became a hit.

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It later became part of his Songs in the Key of Life album, which also features Isn’t She Lovely and I Wish.

Nearly two decades later, Coolio wanted to use a sample of Pastime Paradise for a track of his own.

Stevie Wonder received credits for this and is listed as composer and producer for the four-minute track.

Why is there no swearing in Gangsta’s Paradise?

Soul funk superstar singer, songwriter and multi instrumentalist Stevie Wonder at London Airport.  (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)Soul funk superstar singer, songwriter and multi instrumentalist Stevie Wonder at London Airport.  (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)
Soul funk superstar singer, songwriter and multi instrumentalist Stevie Wonder at London Airport. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Gangsta’s Paradise is one of the few Coolio tracks which does not contain any swearing.

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This is because it includes a sample of Stevie Wonder’s music and the singer didn’t want his song being paired with profanity.

"I had a few vulgarities...and he wasn’t with that. So I changed it. Once he heard it, he thought it was incredible,” Coolio said.

Has Stevie Wonder and Coolio ever performed live together?

Stevie Wonder performed at the 1995 Billboard awards with Coolio - where Gangsta’s Paradise won Song of the Year.

Who else was involved in Gangsta’s Paradise?

Gangsta’s Paradise features American-singer Larry Sanders, known professionally as L.V.

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Coolio and L.V co-wrote the song with their producer Doug Rasheed.

The award-winning music video features actress Michella Pfeiffer and was directed by Antonie Fuqua.

Photo by Tracey Nearmy/Getty Images

How well has Gangsta’s Paradise performed?

The song won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance.

It also won an MTV Video Music Award in 1996 for Best Rap Video.

The song was part of the soundtrack for the film Dangerous Minds, the same year it was released.

Following this, it has also featured in Bad Teacher (2011), the trailer for Tammy (2014), and the trailer for Sonic the Hedgehog (2020).

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