I am L.V. | EW.com

Music

I Am L.V. In today's fast-paced music world, L.V. didn't need 15 minutes to be famous; all it took was six seconds in Coolio's Wagnerian rap hit ''Gangsta's...I Am L.V.Hip-Hop/Rap In today's fast-paced music world, L.V. didn't need 15 minutes to be famous; all it took was six seconds in Coolio's Wagnerian rap hit ''Gangsta's...1996-05-10
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I Am L.V.

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap; Lead Performer: Coolio

In today’s fast-paced music world, L.V. didn’t need 15 minutes to be famous; all it took was six seconds in Coolio’s Wagnerian rap hit ”Gangsta’s Paradise.” Shouting out its refrain — ”Keep spendin’ most of life/Livin’ in a gangsta’s paradise” — L.V. became the song’s angry conscience, its Greek ghetto chorus. On his solo debut, I am L.V., he presents himself as a sonorous inner-city preacher: He sings his own, somewhat less compelling version of ”Gangsta’s Paradise,” thanks ”G-O-D” in one song, and in another admonishes fellow African-Americans to ”put down the gun so we can have some fun.”

What’s absent, though, is the heart-pounding shout of his ”Paradise” cameo. L.V. (”Large Variety”) may sound like a funky man of the cloth, but he also sounds like one fatigued from trying to stop the violence. To confuse matters further, the album shifts halfway through from a few rapturous Curtis Mayfield-style wah-wah symphonies to a string of interchangeable pillow-talk ballads. For an album titled I Am L.V., the man behind it remains a mystery. B-