In 1995, it seemed like you couldn’t turn on the radio without hearing Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise”. I know this because I was working at a Top 40 radio station at the time and nine out of every ten phone calls I answered were a request for this song. (The other one was for “anything by Boyz II Men”.)
While some cover artists re-interpret known songs, Alyson Greenfield is one who goes for full on re-inventions. Her new EP of glockenspiel and piano-centric hip hop covers, entitled Rock Out with Your Glockenspiel Out, offers exercises in juxtaposition that work on many levels. Not only is she using an instrument straight out of third grade music class to play songs with adult lyrical themes, but her shimmering, simple sound and inflected vocals oppose almost every convention of hip-hop. This version of Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” shows her angle, putting such an unexpected twist on an otherwise fairly conventional track that it even transcends appeals to novelty.