Taking on you a journey with a few a couple of different versions of the song that Coolio essentially ripped-off (audio)
Haven’t done one of these for awhile. Always gotta big up the “King of Nothing” for his impeccable selections and this might be one of his finest.
If for whatever reason you’re not aware of the Stevie Wonder original, then you’ve definitely heard Coolio’s liberal sampling of the song (the melody, the hook, the chorus etc) with Gansta Paradise. I will go on record saying it is not one of my favorite Stevie Wonder songs (put your pitchforks down, I don’t hate it, either); I much prefer the Ray Barretto cover of the song, with its funky latin flavor and its all-star cast of musicians (Tito Puente, Steve Gadd, among others). Still, all respect due to Stevie, since he is, undisputedly, the man.
So before I get to sidetracked here, I should probably comment on the track that made me want to write this post in the first place. It’s probably closer in feel to the Barretto cover than the Stevie original (it features very similar sounding keys at the very least). One thing I find interesting about this is the complete lack of steel drums, which I always thought was a prerequisite for any West Indies-based funk cover. Instead the track focuses more on a minimal bass line, scratchy guitar, and cheapest synth strings you’ve ever heard. Couple all of this with some funky disco drums and hand percussion and you’ve got yourself a pretty solid cover.
Much respect to Kon for the rework and spreading the knowledge with this rework!