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Pastime, Gangsta’s, or Amish Paradise?

January 25, 2017


Exemplary logo by Sarca @ caughtmegaming


Although I’m 22 years late in discovering this, it turns out Coolio’s 1995 hit, Gangta’s Paradise, was not entirely original.

When I heard Stevie Wonder’s Pastime Paradise this week, I couldn’t believe my ears!

Once the initial shock subsided, I started to wonder (as if you’re like me, we’ve “been spending most our lives” doing such things): much like the fashion magazine feature, “who wore it better,” when it comes to Stevie Wonder/Coolio/Weird Al, whose “paradise” was best?


3. Stevie Wonder, Pastime Paradise
Yes, he deserves credit for being the original composer. And being the most ‘new-to-me’ of the three, it should benefit from some recency effect. But sort of like hearing Dido’s Thank You after hearing Eminem’s Stan, it feels like something’s missing.


2. Weird Al, Amish Paradise
Stevie also didn’t party like it was 1699!


1. Coolio, Gangsta’s Paradise
It’s the version I heard first, so there’s some primary effect at play. But even with this new knowledge that Coolio borrowed the tune from Stevie (what’s next, Ice Ice Baby’s not 100% original?!), my belief system is still intact, this is still a solid track.


Verbalize the Positive

I appreciate that Ian @ The80sdidntsuck, in addition to his 500 Reasons Countdown, introduced me to a theory about how difficult it is to create ‘5 consecutive solid B+ albums’ – Not sure about Weird Al or Coolio, but I’m guessing based on the strength of his mid-70s output, Stevie should qualify!


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  1. Zack permalink

    I actually heard Patty Smith covering Pastime Paradise before I even knew it was a Stevie Wonder song.
    But if I have to choose from the 3, it’s gotta be Weird Al. I’m from Amish country, how could I pick anything else?

  2. “Ice Ice Baby’s not 100% original?!”

    Ahh, but Vanilla always claimed THAT bass line was original and not a copy of Queen’s “Under Pressure”.

    He claimed “”We sampled it from them but it’s not the same bass line. It goes ‘ding ding ding di di ding ding… ding ding ding di di ding ding.’ That’s the way theirs goes. Ours goes ‘ding ding ding di di ding ding… DING… ding ding ding di di ding ding.’ That little bitty change — it’s not the same.”

  3. Coolio all the way, Geoff!

  4. Weird Al all the way.

  5. I vote for all three!

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