Once upon a time, Artis Ivey Jr. better known as his glacial moniker Coolio, was a successful and relevant rap star. Taking advantage of Hip-Hop’s burgeoning commercial opportunities, the ex-Maad Circle member hit the jackpot with his 1995 blockbuster hit “Gangsta’s Paradise” and album of the same name. Since then, the name Coolio has been somewhat of running gag within the annals of Hip-Hop. Unbeknownst to most however, Coolio has never stopped releasing albums, most recently in 2006, 2008 and now 2009.
Coming off a Run’s House-esque reality show, may have been the green light in his own mind that it was time for the proper comeback, but by the sounds of his latest cow patty From The Bottom 2 The Top, it’s more than clear that somebody needs to find a new profession, stat.
From The Bottom 2 The Top is a devastation of a record, make no mistake about that. Coolio (unintentionally) comes off as a 45 year old has-been, draped in Platinum Fubu®, kicking corny rhymes at his children’s semi-formal. The lyrics are so bad, it’s almost a feat in itself. You’ll marvel at the disco inspired “Lady Vs. Beat Nouveau” with the lines “Knock them chicks out like Tommy Hearns/booties poppin’/chi-chi’s shaking/I know she mess cuz she damn Jamaican.” Or the electro-fuckery of “Stimulate” where he rigidly quips “We almost finished/young hoe we got tickets so your game don’t diminish/keep you some spinach/cuz one dub in the mouthpiece can make you a winner…” Incredible.
Even worse, the production game is more comedy than Compton. The melody to “Boyfriend” may be too cotton candy for even The Pussycat Dolls and Coolio manages to desecrate classic staples in “The Ecstasy of Gold” and “Hotel California” on “Change Vs. Ennio Morricone” and “Hotel C.” respectively, with the greatest of ease.
If someone were to announce Coolio was dropping a new album in 2009, most likely the statement would be met with snickers and jeers. In the tale of the turned tables, judging this one by its cover is the best decision. For this album not only never gets a whiff of the top, it starts out well below the bottom.