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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars

on 21 November 2009
Don't be put off by the number one single or the celebrity big brother appearance, Coolio's 1994 debut album is an under-appreciated classic. Possibly the funniest west coast gangsta rap record ever, Coolio spits ghetto witticisms with his trademark world-weary delivery and maintains a pitch-black sense of humour throughout. Production, whilst clearly of it's time, is of a high standard and still sounds fresh after 15 years. If you like the beats on Snoop's "Doggystyle", chances are you'll like this. All in all, it's a hidden gem and maybe if enough people buy it, Coolio'll go back to making this sort of good stuff.
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on 26 February 2004
This album portrays a younger, more fun-loving Coolio to his later albums (Gangsta's Paradise, My Soul, El Cool Magnifico).
The album starts with "Fantastic Voyage", one of Coolio's first major hits - with a pumping bass-line, good pace and funky lyrics, it's easy to see why. "County Lines" is a mildly amusing tale of the difficulties of getting a job for a young G; good flow and lyrics. "Mama I'm in Love with a Gangsta" is a nice chilled-out track telling about the difficulties of being locked up away from your family and is another classic; the lyrics tell the story well.
"Hand on my Nut-sac" is a more raw hip-hop track: more smooth flow from C with a catchy rythm. "Ghetto Cartoon" is a pretty funny and original track telling a story of cartoon character gangsters and hustlers. "Smokin Stix" again has good flow, though IMO the beat leaves something to be desired and the hook is a bit lame. "Can-O-Corn" however is another great mellow track that you can listen to over and over again. It tells of Coolio's struggles as a youth, shoplifting out of necessity etc.
"U Know Hoo!": A proper hard-hitting hip-hop beat and lyrics featuring WC who compliments the track well. "It Takes a Thief": The album title track has a good beat and tells an effective narrative, of again, you guessed it, Coolio's thieving activities . While we may not condone the actions told of, the lyrics are well written and delivered. "Bring Back Something fo' the Hood" (Track 10): an average track with an ok beat and lyrics, but nothing special. (Track 11) "In Da Closet" is again a cool chilled-out track telling of Coolio's struggle with his drug habbit.
"On My Way to Harlem": a non-typical, not very hip-hoppy beat; it is not quite clear what the point of this song is but overall it doesn't sound bad. "Sticky Fingers" is yet another story about Coolio's thieving activities and the listener is inclined to agree with his self-assessment of kleptomaniac. This time, however the lyrics are pretty funny and catchy and this song is great for a laugh. "Thought You Knew": finally, another relatively hard-core track with some nice flows. "Ugly Bitches" is another mildly humourous track about the dangers of hooking up with...well as the title says. "I Remember" finishes the album in a cool, mellow way with Coolio et al. reminiscing about their childhoods.
Overall, this is Coolio at his best, with only one or two tracks slightly below par. This and "Gangsta's Paradise" together sum up Coolio pretty well. DEFINITELY worth buying if you liked Coolio's later albums and like tracks that have a clear message or story to tell. If you've never listened to him but are a hip-hop fan, buy it anyway.
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on 12 February 2009
i could rave all day about this cd.

this is coolio's best album by far and something tells me that the man
himself can never better it.

from fantastic voyage to the song i remember, coolio brings you 16, yes 16, awesome tracks and not one of them is an album filler.

the best songs for me are fantastic voyage, county line, smokin stix ( catchy as hell ) and the most imagiative " ghetto cartoon ".

while the songs arent original ( backing tracks and beats are basically updated tempo'd old skool r'n'b songs ) , the lyrics most definately are, and are quite hilarious and true ( he was poor, had a crack problem, stole stuff etc ).

all in all, one of the best albums i have in my extensive collection of cd's. trust me on this, it is a brilliant album.
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on 5 February 2002
This is the Coolio I like to remember. Without a doubt when I first heard this album back in '95 I thought it was a masterpiece and even now puts a lot of hip-hop albums to shame.
Killer tracks include 'Fantastic Voyage' with its booming bass, 'Mama, I'm In Love Wit A Gangsta' with its wicked lyrics and 'Ghetto Cartoon' for its originality and a bit a of a laugh. On top of that you have the classic 'I Remember' which soulfully samples Al Green and 'Sticky Fingers' which comes off as a straight cut hip hop beat.
The tracks use heavy sampling from Malcolm McLaren to Marvin Gaye and Coolios vocals always seem to fit in to the beat.
Definitely not one to miss.
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on 20 November 2000
Coolio has kept his standards up in this album - a fantastic collection of tracks for lovers of rap with a slow feel to it.
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on 18 March 2015
His best album to date
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