Friday, March 30, 2007

Artist Profile: Larry L.V. Sanders

Larry "L.V." Sanders. is an R&B singer, whose initials stand for "Large Variety". He has been best known for his collaboration with rapper Coolio on the hit single, "Gangsta's Paradise". He has been featured on multiple soundtracks since then, and has released two albums to date.

L.V. grew up with a father who sang gospel music along with the radio every morning, and this helped hook him on singing. He won a high school talent contest by performing L.T.D.'s "Concentrate on You," joined the Los Angeles City College choir, and contributed R&B vocals to a neighborhood rap group, the South Central Cartel.

According to sources, L.V. survived gunshot wounds in a case remarkably similar to 50 Cent. L.V. not only survived being shot nine times at close range, but he spent eight months in the hospital and a year and a half in a wheelchair. He eventually recovered completely and has been able to walk without a noticeable limp ever since.

"Gangsta's Paradise" was a song written and performed by rapper Coolio. It was featured on the soundtrack to the 1995 hit movie "Dangerous Minds", and later was featured on Coolio's sophomore album, Gangsta's Paradise the same year. The song contained a sample of Stevie Wonder's 1976 song, "Pasttime Paradise".

On this single, L.V. sang the chorus: "We've been spending most our lives living in a Gangsta's Paradise". The song, which was a crossover hit on many Top 40 stations in late 1995 and early 1996, earned Coolio and L.V. a Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance (Solo performance because the Grammys didn't consider Coolio and L.V. to be a group or singing a duet).

Following his success with "Gangsta's Paradise," L.V. landed a fat contract with Tommy Boy Records, which released his debut album, I Am L.V., in 1996. This album didn't spawn many singles, except for "Gangsta's Boogie". The album does feature, however, a version of "Gangsta's Paradise" without rap lyrics.

How Long was L.V.'s follow up album to I Am L.V., which didn't garner very much attention upon its release in 2000. It was also released on Loud Records instead of Tommy Boy Records. Unlike L.V.'s last album, this album features guest appearances by the likes of Raekwon and Shari Watson.


Listen again, for the first time:

Gangstas Paradise
Coolio ft. L.V.

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