Monday, March 26, 2012

Where You At? Coolio

So...WHERE YOU AT COOLIO? I think we all know the answer to this one: he’s writing cookbooks and appearing on Food Network's "Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off" reality cooking show. No duh. He’s not a high profile chef, but he’s also above your Uncle’s level because some people know about him. So he's a celebrity who is a chef? Is he really a celebrity still? I don't know. Let's see who else is on the show: Aaron Carter, Miss USA, Cheech Marin, someone from *NSync, a d-list actor, and others. Yep, those guys aren't celebrities at all. I mean maybe in their day (20+ years ago), but not in 2012. Plus, Coolio's hair is really gross for a cook.

Ladies and gentlemen, your chef for the evening
But how did he go from the biggest name in friendly-gangsta funk to a line cook*? Let’s go CSI on this case.
*Not literally a line cook.

So we all remember the song Fantastic Voyage, don’t we? It wasn’t the worst song, but it was on TV and the radio all the time and it got played out fast. For a while there it was on MTv like every half hour. That’s a lot! It was a big smash hit! It went platinum twice and it pushed the lousy album “It Takes a Thief” platinum too. So that’s like millions of people checking this guy out in 1994.

Coolio - Fantastic Voyage by Drunken-Li-Dragon

Then lightening striked twice (yeah I know that isn’t the word, deal with it). Coolio did it again with the song Gangsta’s Paradise from the “Dangerous Minds Soundtrack”. This time (with the help of the very good singer LV) Coolio made a song go 3x platinum. It’s still being listed as one of the best hip hop songs ever according to VH1 (looool, like they know). Now Fastastic Voyage was played hard on TV and radio, but this song was on constantly. It was a nightmare. There was no escaping it. Your mom and her sister probably spent some time enjoying it (separately). And the video? Hilarious. Michelle Pfeiffer is in it and the whole thing is intense (definitely a good idea for a future post).

So Coolio was a big name! We can argue that his hair helped with his sales because of his brand or something, and that would be correct, but it didn’t help with me. I never liked Coolio’s music. I bought It Takes a Thief and can honestly say that it was a waste of my money. It sucked, but it sold. I didn’t bother with anything related to “Dangerous Minds” and I don’t regret it.

That's barbed wire.
So what happened after that? Did Coolio release any more songs? Does he have an album out right now? Who knows? Not me. Not you. Not anyone. Oh, and what’s up with the cooking?

Well. He had an album in 1996 called “My Soul”, and GOOD GRIEF I bought that one too. I must have shot that bastard out the window quick though because none of the songs look familiar except for C U When U Get There which is Coolio trying to copy off that Bone Thugs Crossroads  thing. Sheesh.

So except for little tidbits, this is where I officially lost track of Coolio (and so did everyone else). He had an album in 2001 called “”, yep the internet was pretty new at that point. Then in 2002 we have “El Cool Magnifico”, in 2006 “The Return of the Gangsta”. Then in 2008 we have “Steal Hear”, so that’s recent. Finally there might be an album called “From the Bottom 2 The Top”. Is it out there? Who knows? It looks like a lot of these are imports somehow.

Besides all of the music and the cooking, Coolio was in a lot of TV and Films (’96 – ’00), then less (’01 – ’06), then “Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off” (’12). We all remember seeing him in all of those things right?
And the cookbook(s?). Whatevs. This is a music blog. So let’s check a newer song, shall we. Let's get raw.

We’ll go with a little track called Cruis Off  (or maybe it’s called Cruise Off). Why not. It is definitely on his most recent album, but it is also on “Steal Hear”, so we can cover a song off of two albums at once. Plus, it’s one of the few current songs where Coolio doesn’t bring in a guest. Let’s go!

“When I roll my Chevrolet I neva take the cruise off, neva take the cruise off, neva take the cruise off (repeat x 100,000)”. It might sound like he’s saying that he never takes his shoes off in the Chevrolet, but it’s the cruise control that he leaves on. I bet the shoes thing is more accurate though (I take the cruise off sometimes but rarely take the shoes off, that feels weird).

Then the rapping starts…and WHOA. The voice. You noticed it right? It’s like a surfer voice. Hang 10. “So annoying” – teenage girls. Is that how Coolio used to sound? I don’t remember. I hope not. It’s grating.

When you spin this track neva turn the treble up, neva turn the treble up, neva turn the treble up. Word. It’ll blow your out ya speakers and ya eardrums. It’s like weird whining that just doesn’t end. I can’t even hear what he’s saying, I can’t focus. But I must push through. What is this song about?

Driving around? Yo, Coolio, you’re almost fifty years old. You don’t need to be driving around town for no reason. You’re way into adulthood. And let’s be honest, nobody is yelling “avalanche” when they see you driving your car. That’s just dumb and it doesn’t happen ever. I can see how people might see you driving around and MIGHT ask you what you’re doing. But that’s a stretch. I mean the answer is obvious: you’re driving around. But if someone did ask you “What are you doing, dude?”. I guarantee that you would not answer with “Malibuin’”. That’s weird and it doesn’t answer the question at all. Just be honest Coolio. You’re driving around like a sixteen year old. Are you looking for places to skate? No. Are you looking for a good spot for vandalism? No. Are you looking for an inexpensive sit-down dinner that you can take your adult children to (along with their spouses and families)? YEP! That’s what fifty year olds do. Get your song correct.

Eventually Coolio drops his whiny voice, thank goodness, then the second verse is like a bad transition verse, and the last verse is the worst. For some reason, he decided to use a way off-beat scramble flow that should not exist. Honestly, if you printed up the lyrics to the third verse and tried to rap them to this beat without hearing the original first, you would suffer and die. It can’t be done. More importantly, it shouldn’t be done. What kind of flow is this? It’s like ear poison. Go back to the whining and get on the beat.

Another thing, why is this beat so epic? I mean, I like beats that sound large and have that "big drum" that they bang in the symphony (timpani?). Cool. Use any drum you want to. Big drums. Formal drums. Wear a tux and hit a drum. I don’t mind, it’s your song. But that doesn’t mean the music sounds good. I mean, what? It just isn’t very good. Plus, it sounds like the beat is trying to remind everyone of 1993 gangsta funk + a sonata from the 1600's. Nobody wants to hear classical music, and we remember what g-funk was and we don't want more of it. Move on. Get a fresh sound or at least not a gimmicky one. Everyone in LA played that style out twenty years ago, okay. Stop it. You’re an adult now.

CONCLUSION: What have we learned? Coolio sold a billion albums or so, and has tried to follow up his success by making like twenty albums nobody has heard. He’s been busy with everything imaginable in Hollywood, his latest music sucks, he drives around, and his cooking is out there. So, good career! Celebrity cook off and Rachel Ray?

Cruis Off / Cruise Off Score 0/10

No comments:

Post a Comment