As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
I take a look at my life and realize there's nuttin left
Cause I've been blastin and laughin so long that
Even my mama thinks that my mind is gone
Coolio tells the story of a young African-American 'gangsta' reflecting on the life he has so far chosen, unsure of whether his path is the right one. The now famous opening line is a lift from Psalm 23:4 of the Bible:
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."
However, Coolio cuts into the psalm halfway through and completes it instead with the words 'I take a look at my life and realise there's nothin' left'. The suggestion here is that, unlike the speaker in the psalm, he clearly doesn't feel God's presence, nor does he feel that his rod and staff can comfort him. In fact, as he goes on to say, 'Even my mama thinks that my mind is gone'.
Unlike most of Coolio's songs, 'Gangsta's Paradise' is free of expletives.