Album: It Takes A Thief
Label: Tommy Boy
Producer: Brian Dobbs
As one of the most felonious members of WC's superlative Maad Circle crew, Coolio was the last figure anyone expected to be the crossover success story of 1994. But thanks to “Fantastic Voyage,” his gravity-defying cornrows became the most famous haircut in America, second only to that of Kramer from Seinfeld. Based on a sample of the 1980 hit of the same name by the Dayton, Ohio-based funk outfit Lakeside, “Fantastic Voyage” was the first song to make gangsta rap totally amenable to white America.
“Ain't no bloodin', ain't no crippin'/Ain't no punk-ass niggas 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.” Coolio may have been selling out the kind of South L.A. reality rap he had helped to invent with WC, but in a year when gang violence was surging, you can't blame the man born Artis Leon Ivey Jr. for trying something friendly. “Fantastic Voyage” allowed suburban families to enjoy an all-inclusive party jam that had all of the bounce of vintage L.A. rap with none of the attendant violence.