A few weeks after “Wonderwall” had captivated listeners in the UK, Coolio returned with a flow back in your ear. One of Coolio’s greatest assets was that you didn’t have to be a rap connoisseur to get down with the man’s music back in the ’90s; much like the Spin Doctors, I think that some of Coolio’s songs still hold a place in hearts of music fans everywhere, regardless of whether or not they’d ever bother listening to them again. Seriously, when can “Fantastic Voyage” or “1, 2, 3, 4” hit the speakers without a party breaking out (in your pants)? But aside from those two tracks and “Gangsta’s Paradise” (which ended up as the highest selling single of 1995) there really isn’t much else to get too worked up over in the rest of his catalog; a fact made that much more unfortunate considering that he’s still making music. There are, of course, a few tracks along the way that garnered some heat: 1997’s “I’ll C U When U Get There” (back when using letters instead of full words was legit… and about a million miles away from the questionable taste of Ke$ha’s “C U Next Tuesday”) wasn’t bad, the awesome all-star cypher on the Space Jam soundtrack was a beast, there was a tight track from a godawful Whoopi Goldberg movie… Oh, and a commentary-heavy record about promiscuity and the necessity for contraception awareness. Which one of these things is not like the others?
“Too Hot” wasn’t exactly the peak of Coolio’s career, but it was hardly a low point either, eventually peaking at the #9 position in the UK while rising to the #24 position on the Billboard singles chart. The song has a good-enough bounce and a bit of a message, which was apparently enough to help it ride as the third most successful single from the MC’s landmark release. That’s all great and everything, but if anyone actually listened to the lyrics of the song, there’s no reason it shouldn’t have topped charts and broken sales records around the entire world. Allow me to indulge myself in the first five bars alone and you’ll see what I mean:
Everybody listen up ’cause I’m about to get my speak on
Fools be trippin’ when it’s time to get their freak on
Runnin’ ’round town, puttin’ it down
Without no protection, funny erection
When it’s time for selection, what’s your direction?
This isn’t even including the yeah-it’s-still-pretty-relevant-given-the-year-it-was-released shout out to Magic Johnson. Nor is it taking into account the brilliance of the music video’s B-movie special effects and questionable storyline (You get AIDS = you turn into colored sand, unless you’re a white dude, then you turn into marbles. Oh, and Coolio might actually be Satan). All I ask is that next time you think about Coolio, which might be days away, or it might be decades away, you reconsider this gem and ask yourself: “Without no protection, funny erection, when it’s time for selection, what’s your direction?” Simply put, “Too Hot” was, and is, nothing short of a masterpiece.
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