Admit it: "Gangsta's Paradise" was a jam.
Rapper Coolio initially released the song for the soundtrack of a Michelle Pfeiffer movie called Dangerous Minds. The movie was easily forgotten; Coolio's symphonic, Stevie Wonder-sampling anthem was not.
The tune was everywhere that year, and finished as the top-selling single of 1995. That was 22 years ago. Maybe you haven't thought about "Gangsta's Paradise" in a while.
That was the case with Minneapolis resident Kellsie Born. Born lives on Russell Avenue on the city's North Side, and spent parts of this past Saturday night keeping an eye on proceedings on her block.
Some youths across the street were having something of a party, Born says, when a fight broke out. The events were spilling out onto other properites, and causing a lot of noise. Born believes a neighbor called the police.
She was just watching out her front door when a Minneapolis Police Department squad car made a pass down the street. The car did not stop, but its presence effectively scattered the people partying/fighting... for a while, though Born says the same people soon returned... only to be driven away by the appearance of a police car -- the same one as before, Born presumes.
This cycle repeated a few times. Then, with Born watching the scene with her phone out and ready to record, this happened.
Born reports this musical interlude was no more effective at scattering the partiers.
"Not at all," she says. "The kids just stood there. I think we were all in shock."
Maybe they were shocked the cops cut the song off right when it was getting started. Born, for her part, says it's an "OK song," though one she "[hasn't] heard in years."
There's no record of a Minneapolis Police Department squad being dispatched to that neighborhood that night, says spokeswoman Catherine Michal, who, after watching the video, also questioned if the music was indeed coming from the cop car.
"I'm curious about the clarity and volume of the audio," Michal says.
Because there's no documented call or police report to go along with this incident, Michal is unable to track down individual officers and ask if they briefly treated a neighborhood to some music Saturday night. She adds the department has "no policy on music" played in squad cars while on duty.
Maybe they should. And if they do, we at City Pages suggest it include clearly defined and easily understood language stating that any songs played at levels audible to the general public must be allowed to get to the good part.
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