I'm twenty-three now, but will I live to see twenty-fo'?

Coolio - Gangsta's Paradise lyrics meaning


Legend has it that, a few days after this song came out, Coolio was with P-Diddy and was actually shot at in the street. The first bullet grazed his head, and - in supposed reference to the line 'I'm 23 now, but will I live to see 24' - he turned to P-Diddy and said 'Told ya so'.

This is then followed by another open admission that the gangsta lifestyle is ultimately destructive: 'Tell me why are we so blind to see / That the ones we hurt are you and me'.

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