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Coolio at Sunshine Studios Live show preview 

click to enlarge With Hex Rated, Dmartian, Mac Frenzi and others, Thursday, April 18, 8 p.m., 3970 Clearview Frontage Road, $19 and up, all ages, 392-8921, sunshinestudioslive.com.
  • With Hex Rated, Dmartian, Mac Frenzi and others, Thursday, April 18, 8 p.m., 3970 Clearview Frontage Road, $19 and up, all ages, 392-8921, sunshinestudioslive.com.

"Been spending most our lives living in the gangsta’s paradise,” lamented Coolio on the Grammy-winning mid-‘90s single that forever put him on the crossover-rap map. Today, at the age of 55, the Compton rapper has spent an additional quarter century performing “Gangsta’s Paradise” onstage, cementing his spot in the ever-rotating artist lineup for the I Love the ‘90s Tour franchise. “I’m the kinda G the little homies wanna be like,” he raps. “On my knees in the night, sayin’ prayers in the streetlight.” It’s all an odd mix of godly and gangsta sentiments that fits the opening line’s citation from Psalm 23 and the gospel-style vocal hook delivered by R&B singer L.V. The track is also memorable for Doug Rasheed’s tricked-out production and its prominent use of a Stevie Wonder sample (which, by the way, the Motown legend refused to license until all the song’s original profanities were removed). “Gangsta’s Paradise” continues to haunt hip-hop’s collective unconscious, even if subsequent hits like “It’s All the Way Live Now” and “C U When U Get There” have proven less memorable. Still, between those singles and his nine-album catalog, Coolio should have plenty of material to draw upon for his own headlining set.

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