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I’M EDUCATED FOOL WITH MONEY ON MY MIND: Local Betoota-based Regional Product Integration Coordinator, Glenn Mealey (50) has had to take an early mark from the office today, as he mourns the passing of an artist who shaped his entire early adulthood.
This follows the news out of the US that pioneering rap artist Coolio has died aged 59.
The Compton hip hop star, whose real name was Artis Leon Ivey Jr, achieved enormous success with the Grammy award-winning 1995 hit Gangsta’s Paradise.
On top of being the first hip hop track to go number 1 in the UK, Gangster’s Paradise is also remembered as the soundtrack of the Michelle Pfeiffer film Dangerous Minds, and one of the first household rap ballads in recorded history.
The track sampled Stevie Wonder’s 1976 song Pastime Paradise, and will be cherished as the first song to break the ‘novelty ceiling’ that kept rap music out of mainstream culture.
The song was listed at number 85 on Billboard’s Greatest Songs of All Time and lives on in the hearts of dorky white boys around the world as a gritty gangster ballad that doesn’t feature the N-word, gifting suburban rap fans full license to learn the lyrics and recite it start to finish.
Glenny Mealey is one of those dorky white boys.
A deeply entrenched member of Generation X, the local father of four was only 23 when Gangster’s Paradise dropped. He says this urban anthem provided him great relief from the Bon Jovi and Hootie and The Blowfish that was dominating the airways at the time.
“Around about the time it came out, I had been blastin’ and laughin’ so long, that my mama thought that my mind was gone” says Glenn.
“I was 23 and most people didn’t think I’d live to see 24. Mostly due to my asthma”
But as Glenn points out, ‘Gangster’s Paradise gave him a set of rules to live by.
“I wouldn’t be the man who I am today without Coolio” he says.
“He taught me to not be a pushover. Me be treated like a punk, you know that’s unheard of”
With his teenage sons now caught up in YouTube drill rap, Glenn just wishes they had a G like Coolio that they wanted to be like.
“I’ll be paying tribute to him this evening” he says.
“On my knees in the night, sayin prayers in da streetlight”