Great Job, Internet!: Read This: An oral history of Coolio’s 1995 crossover smash hit “Gangsta’s Paradise”

It’s hard to fathom now how big of a hit Compton rapper Coolio’s song “Gangsta’s Paradise” was back in 1995. While Tupac and Suge Knight were beefing with the Notorious B.I.G. and Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs for supreme dominance over the rap game, Coolio was cleaning up in the charts with his near-ubiquitous hit. It beat out two of the greatest songs in rap history, “Big Poppa” and “Dear Mama,” to nab the Grammy award for Best Rap Solo Performance, was prominently featured in the film Dangerous Minds—Michelle Pfeiffer later appeared in the song’s music video—was the basis of one of “Weird Al” Yankovic’s greatest songs, “Amish Paradise,” and went on to become the best-selling song of the entire year.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of “Gangsta’s Paradise,” Rolling Stone has put together an extensive oral history of the song …

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