A once, Gangsta’s Paradise! I had absolutely no intentions on writing about rap today; but I indirectly found photos of Coolio and said to myself, “damn! What the hell happen to you!! Holy cow!!! Oh, hell…. Let’s talk about it! Coolio has gone from an almost “king of rap” status, to becoming a hasbin in the span of only a single decade. Coolio is one of those cases that gives me many mixed feelings about rap in general. But, the truth of the matter is, the whole subject around the genre is very complex, because there are many elements that surround it; as there are many opinions that go along with them (both in support, and against).
Coolio hasn’t had a major hit since “Gangsta’s Paradise,” from the movie soundtrack “Dangerous Minds (1995),” starring Michelle Pfeiffer. By he way, Dangerous Minds was an incredible movie in my opinion. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, but I do remember enjoying it very much. Michelle did a hell of a good job; way more than I gave her credit for in the beginning. Not only did Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise hit number 1, it stayed number one for 3 consecutive weeks! That was very impressive. This rap title was very unique, in that it’s one of the very few compositions that captures the raw emotion of being young and out in the streets. I also think the movie helped to bring further context to Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise.
Now, once I started to see photos like this emerge on the internet, I knew Coolio has finally lost his last mind. A once Grammy Award winning artist, has not only been in jail multiple times, but has had more run-ins with police than most people can change clothes in a day. And you know what else? Like father like son! I found an article from NY Daily News, that says that Coolio and his son was actually in the same prison. Discovering Coolio’s website was also somewhat of a shocker. Coolio’s World, is a decent looking website. However, it also screams “I’m trying desperately to keep my old rap career alive.” Which would explain why Coolio insist on keeping those damn few strands of braids. He most likely feels it’s the only way people would remember him. Another sign that Coolio is not doing well, on his website he as a section called “Cooking With Coolio.” This man is just screaming for attention. A stark contrast from the Coolio we once knew.
Wow!! Look who I dug up! Does any of my readers remember the legendary Jeffrey Osborne? Yes, I’ve called him legendary because, although he never had any Billboard Top Ten Hits, Osborne hit the charts hard enough that most 80s kids like me still remember him. His song “On The Wings Of Love,” was released in 1982. It only peaked at #29, but it remains one of my most favorites from Jeffrey. Interesting to note that, what I didn’t know was that Jeffrey’s version was actually a cover song 😱 !! Yup. The original song was recorded by Regine Velasquez. But, sorry Regine, I love Osborne’s version better. Turns out that Velasquez released quite a few albums; but her music is not my cup of tea. All her music sound like demo tapes! Anyway, it doesn’t stop there; the song became a cover once more; done by an artist named Kyla as part of a soundtrack to a romantic/comedy TV show. What Show? You’ve guessed it! “On The Wings Of Love (2015).”
Not having a top ten hit didn’t stop Osborne from landing a Miller Beer ad contract. I remember this ad being all over Jet and Ebony magazine. You know, it’s funny, I always laugh when I see this particular ad. Because it reminds me of his song, “Stay With Me Tonight (1984),” which hit #30 on the Top 100 Charts. I laugh because if the ad was actually a TV commercial, this song would fit right in, in a bar, and he’s with the woman he’s interested in. Don’t ask me why, it’s just one of those crazy thoughts that come in to your head. That would have been a cool commercial tho. 😄
He Still Is So Very Talented
To be honest, I’ve only listened to his old popular hits from back in the day. However, I acknowledge that Jeffrey is a very talented brotha. The dude can sing, and he still got soul! In fact, I don’t know if my readers realized it yet, but, Jeffrey just released an album last year in 2018! The album is called “Worth It All.” It has some pretty good tracks in there! I love it when veteran performers continue to make themselves musically relevant. One song I really like from the album is a song called “Just Can’t Stand It.” The song has a nice modern funk sound to it. His voice is still on point. Another song I think you should check out from his album is called, “That Man.”
Ever since Valarie Simpson met Nick Ashford in 1963, they were inseparable. Together they’ve made some really massively remember-able hits; such as “Solid,” “Is It Still Good To Ya,” and “Street Corner,” just to name a fraction of their great works together. But, did you know that in addition to Valerie being an awesome singer, she was and still is a phenomenal songwriter in her own right? I happened to listen to an internet radio station that played TV jingles 24/7; and on that radio station, I’ve learned that Valerie written a lot of songs for commercials! I didn’t realize this at all.
Even Hershey’s Almond Joy
Even more surprising to me was that one of them (I considered to be) was one of the biggest ad campaigns of it’s time. She written and performed jingles for many companies such as “Canada Dry,” & Hershey’s “Almond Joy,” “because sometimes you feel like a nut, and sometimes you don’t.” 😂😂😜 I absolutely had no idea! But then again, even today, songwriters are not acknowledged and given much credit. You really have to dig and search for them nowadays. I found a tribute to Valerie on YouTube, singing some of her most famous jingles and themes. I’ll give you another tidbit… Did you know that Valerie co-wrote, along with her late husband Ashford, the lyrics to The Supremes’ hit “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough?” Now, that I knew! 😜 Homage to all the songwriters out there!!!
I am sure I’m not wrong about this…. But….. Yes…… I do believe that singer/songwriter Larry Graham is among the many great forgotten artists. As far as I can remember, he only had two major hit songs of his career, and they were in 1980 and then in 1981. This man had a sexy *ss voice! He had what we used to call “bedroom voices.” There were very few men that had those types of voices, off the top of my head, Teddy Pendergrass, Barry White, & Luther Vandross. The first hit he released was in 1980 “One In A Million You,” grown women went bananas over that song. The song hit #1 on the U.S. R&B charts. With the exception of some college radio stations, I don’t think there were any stations that wasn’t playing this song. Growing up, almost every woman wanted this song played for their wedding. That’s how serious it was 😁😂 I’m not joking about that either 😜. When people heard this song on the radio back in the day, people would literally stop what they were doing to sing along until the song was finished.
The second huge hit of his career is a song called “Just Be My Lady,” released in 1981. The song peaked at #4 on the R&B Charts. This was another highly requested song for weddings. There was a song he recorded in 1975 that did ok on the Top 100 Charts, the song was called “Your Love.” Graham recorded the song along with a group he put together called the “Graham Central Station.” The song peaked at the 38th position on the Top 100, however, I couldn’t find anything on the R&B Chart. It probably didn’t do well enough to get on the chart’s radar.
Do you guys remember Jonathan Butler? Wow! This was one good-looking bro back in the day. Mr. Butler is a type of talented artist I think not to many people appreciate. He made some really good music, however, his music was not chart topping unfortunately. For some reason, I can’t retrieve all the stats for Jonathan on the billboard, but judging from the very low Spotify streams overall, I can make a safe assumption he did not rank high on the Billboard charts. But, But this doesn’t mean he wasn’t talented. One of the songs I remembered very well from him, is a song called “Lies,” released in 1987. This song only peaked at the 27th position on the Hot 100 Charts, however, I remember seeing the music video for this song all the time! It’s a great jazzy pop tune! It will at least get your head bopping. Another nice one was “More Than Friends,” released a year later in 1988 from his album called “More Than Friends.” I think you’ll really like both these songs. Check it out.