Coolio feat. Snoop Dogg - Gangsta Walk

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When I received Coolio’s new “comeback” single ‘Gangsta Walk’, a huge smile spread over my face. Here was a one hit wonder (‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ that is… ‘1,2,3,4’ doesn’t count) posing with his little funky hat with a special hole cut in the top to allow his hair sprout to pour out like he was the Black Alfalfa, twisting his fingers in all directions with an expression that said ‘damn that Coolio – he’s so hot right now’. I was ready to tear it up before I even heard the track… that was until he went and disappointed me by releasing something half way decent.

Though away from the hip hop forefront for some time now the apparent break has done nothing to stem his flow, which has remained tight since his original efforts. The rhymes aren’t going to win any awards for originality – “Call me Gangsta/ Call me Killer… Who the f**k you think I am / I’m the man,” and so on etc – but the beats are tight and the chorus very catchy, even if the arrangement sounds like it came out of ‘Hip Hop for Dummies Volume 1’. Snoop Dogg chimes in with a rap so laid back and quiet it sounds like it was recorded in a public library, leaving the impression that his work here was more a standard exercise in ‘collect the cheque’ than any real attempt at saying or doing anything new.

The track as a whole is fine, inoffensive hip hop that is slickly executed and produced, but the problem is that there is nothing. The music, the raps, the subject matter – it’s all so unbearably safe that it’s hard to find any real interest in it. The Urban Remix toughens things up well, and T-Rek’s mix is some quality electro-tinged hip house that re-arranges things nicely, but again it’s all just so darn safe it’s hard to enjoy it past a couple of listens.

Tomorrows hip hop headline? “Two West Coast rappers make another million dollars to add to the pile with their easy to listen to, creatively starved effort.” Half their luck.

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