Coolio – It Takes A Thief Anniversary

Coolio released his debut album “It Takes A Thief” on July 19, 1994.  It was produced by Paul Stewart, Dobbs The Wino, Rashad Coles, Billy Boy, Crazy Toones, and CS Coleman.  The album included the breakout hit “Fantastic Voyage“.

“Fantastic Voyage” was the main reason heads flocked to the record store to buy the album, so let’s start there.  The song was a remake of the Lakeside track of the same name.  It was a West Coast anthem and it was a throwback to an earlier time when rap was about partying and just having fun.  That hooked had you repeating it over and over while you do the two-step!

ome on y’all let’s take a ride
don’t you say shit just get inside
It’s time to take your ass on another kind of trip
coz you can’t have the hop if you don’t have the hip
grab your gat with the extra clip and,
close your eyes and hit the switch
We’re going to a place where everybody kick it
kick it, kick it, yeah… that’s the ticket
ain’t no bloodin’, ain’t no cripin’
ain’t no punk-ass nigga’s set trippin’
everybody’s got a stack and it ain’t no crack
and it really don’t matter if you’re white or black, I
wanna take you there like the Staple Singers
put something in the tank and I know that I can bring ya
If you can’t take the heat get yo’ ass out the kitchen
we’re on a mission

Continuing on the ‘throw-back-tip”, we also get “I Remember” with J-Ro and Billy Boy and samples a guitar riff from “One Man Band” by Monk Higgins, drum beat from “Synthetic Substitution” and Al Green’sTomorrow’s Dream” to give us a look back at a time when we were kids and the things that no longer exist.  Coolio reminisces with,

When I was a kid I rode crates on a skate
And I ate everything momma put on my plate
Niggaz walked around packin B-B guns
Knock on yo’ door and run, just for fun
We went to the sto’ and sold bottles fo’ a nickel
to feast upon a big bag of Cheetos and a pickle
You could get a soda foe less than quarter, and
people used to speak even if they didn’t know ya
We fought in the streets like little black soldiers
Shake hands, and still be friends when it was over
We used to play tag and, hide and go seek, or
hide and go get it if we had a few freaks, but
now thangs changed, kids ain’t the same
They bang, and slang, and blow out brains
I wish I could go back but, wishin is for suckers
Life was so simple then

My favorite track off the album was “County Line” that borrows that sample at the end of Zapp’sMore Bounce To The Ounce” which is the same sample that MC Breed took for “Aint No Future In Yo Frontin“.  Coolio talks about how even though he has a record deal, he’s still in line to get his food stamps!

Seven in the morning, standing in the line
three fools in front of me, drinking on some wine
two in the back of me sucking on a joint
and one in back of them ready for a new sport
there’s 4-5 suckers way way in the back
stooped down low with the crowd smokin’ crack
they looking at me funny coz I got a record out
and a nigga with a record out is supposed to have some proud
a forth of the people in the line be hookers
but the other forth betta ask help themself
a forth of the people having good faith
and all of the rest all fucked up in the head
a bald headed stank bitch is about to make me laugh
and a nigga who need a bath is asking for my autograph
ain’t nothing changed but the time
I got to get mine, so I’m standing in the county line

Mama, I’m in Love wit a Gangsta” (feat. LeShaun) has Coolio and LeShaun give their side of the story of what it feels like to be in love with a gangsta that’s in jail and the lack of control they each have being in separate places.  It samples “Mystic Voyage” by the great Roy Ayers and has a “Bonnie and Clyde” theme to the track.

Hey baby, how you doin’ What’s goin on?
I’m sittin in my motherfuckin cell, it’s the same song
Tell my kids that I love em but don’t tell em that I’m thru
Keep cryin and tell em I’ll be home soon
Oh baby I’m goin crazy
cos I keep seein shit that amaze me
Still I had to kill a motherfucker last week
He thought I was a punk and tried to creep up on me in my sleep
I just think that I could hold or squeeze or touch or buck ya
but I can’t, so fuck it
I’ma behind these bars and it’s burnin like nitro
I might go psycho, the man on the tower got a rifle
Aw shit, there the lights go….

The album is dope and it brought us another West Coast artist that can not only bring the “Gangsta” atmosphere, but can come up with some witty and fun tracks that everyone can enjoy and groove to!  We salute you Coolio!

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