Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Coolio: Gangsta's Paradise [Tommy Boy, 1995]
Hip hop intellectuals hype the aesthetic of the new like Harold Rosenberg gone funky, so of course they snort at this dumb loser. It's not that he was sent up for check passing rather than some manly crime like assault (I hope), but that he favors samples everyone recognizes--especially everyone who's memorized the complete works of Tom Browne, either back in the day or by ingesting every rap record in the universe. Me, I'm glad Coolio did that job for me. Nor does it hurt that his smile is friendlier than Sly Stone's. Great black music past to the present. This must be paradise. A-