The song was listed at number 69 on Billboard’s Greatest Songs of All-Time and number one biggest selling single of 1995 on U.S. Billboard. In 2008, it was ranked number 38 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop.
Coolio was awarded a Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance, two MTV Video Music Award’s for Best Rap Video and for Best Video from a Film and a Billboard Music Award for the song/album.
The song samples Stevie Wonder’s “Pastime Paradise”, a song from his album Songs in the Key of Life. “Gangsta’s Paradise” uses the same melody, but a different orchestration of the same music. The song begins with a line from Psalm 23:4 from the Bible: “As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death”, but then diverges with: “I take a look at my life and realize there’s nothin’ left.” Adding to some of the religious overtones are choral vocals in the background.
“Gangsta’s Paradise” is one of the few Coolio tracks that does not feature profanity. According to Coolio, the lyrics initially did feature swearing, but Wonder did not approve of it: “I had a few vulgarities…and he wasn’t with that. So I changed it. Once he heard it, he thought it was incredible.” – Wikipedia