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The Artist Who Forever Regretted Denying Weird Al the Chance to Parody His Hit Single

Photo Credit: Axelle / Bauer-Griffin / FilmMagic / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Axelle / Bauer-Griffin / FilmMagic / Getty Images

Weird Al Yankovic is best known for making comedic spoofs of hit songs, keeping them just as catchy but with alternative lyrics that make listeners’ sides split from laughter. Many artists love what he does and are happy to see what he does with their songs, but there are a few who are not so keen on his work. One artist said ‘no’ back in the day and regretted it ever after.

Weird Al came out with a bunch of amazing parodies

Weird Al Yankovic poses with cereal all around him
Portrait of American musician, parodist, and comedian Weird Al Yankovic as he poses with various food items during a photo shoot, March 20, 1984, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo Credit: Getty Images / Bob Riha, Jr. / Getty Images)

Weird Al Yankovic is one of the most unique artists in the entertainment industry because he earned his fame by making parodies of well-known songs by other musicians. He first came onto the scene in the 1970s, but it was in the ’80s and ’90s that he became a household name.

Yankovic has made parodies of many hit songs, like “Eat It,” the parody of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It,” “Like A Surgeon,” the parody of Madonna‘s “Like A Virgin,” and “White and Nerdy,” the parody of Chamillionaire’s “Ridin’ Dirty.”

Coolio hit the top spot with this song

Rapper Coolio with a microphone to his mouth
Coolio, winner of Best International Hip Hop Act, at the 1997 MOBO Awards, New Connaught Rooms, London, 10th November 1997. (Photo Credit: JM Enternational / Getty Images)

Rapper Coolio hit the top ranks of the music industry with the release of his 1995 single “Gangsta’s Paradise.” It became his best-known and highest-charting single, and just 10 days after its release, was heard in the film Dangerous Minds (1995). This earned the American Music Award for Top Soundtrack in 1996.

Coolio rejected Weird Al’s request

Weird Al Yankovic on stage in an Amish costume
American musician and comedian Weird Al Yankovic, in costume as an Amish rapper as he performs onstage at the Star Plaza Theater, Merrillville, Indiana, July 9, 2010. (Photo Credit: Paul Natkin / Getty Images)

Yankovic prefers to get permission to make parodies of artists’ songs, but copyright law does not actually require him to do so. When he tried to get approval to use Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” in the early 2000s, it was granted by the record label but not by Coolio himself.

Yankovic went on to create the parody “Amish Paradise” in 1996, unaware that he wasn’t actually given Coolio’s blessing. The song’s video featured Yankovic, with cornrow braids, in an Amish neighborhood. The parody has since received hundreds of millions of views on YouTube.

Coolio admitted it was a mistake

Rapper Coolio looking up to the sky
Coolio at Night of the Proms in Ahoy, Rotterdam, Netherlands on 16th November, 2000. (Photo Credit: Rob Verhorst / Redferns/ Getty Images)

Reflecting on his attitude toward the parody, Coolio later admitted that it was “one of the dumbest things [he] did in [his] career.” During an interview with the Institute of Production and Recording (IPR) in 2011, he explained his revelation.

“I sat down, and I really thought it out,” he explained to the students of IPR. “I was like, ‘Wait a minute.’ I was like, ‘Coolio, who… do you think you are? He did Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson didn’t get mad.'”

He then admitted that his ego got in the way of appreciating what Yankovic was trying to do. “I was being too magnificent and too terrific about myself and that’s not what you want to do.”

There was no bad blood

Although it may have been years before he made this realization, there was no bad blood between Coolio and Yankovic. In fact, Yankovic asked Coolio to star in his 2009 film called Al’s Brain. Coolio declined the invitation because the payment contract wasn’t sufficient for him, despite his interest in participating in the film.

More from us: The Alternate Ending to ‘Splash’ That No One Has Heard Of

When Coolio died suddenly in September 2022, Yankovic was one of the many entertainers to pay tribute to the late rapper, posting a photo of them together and captioning “RIP Coolio.”

Samantha Franco

Samantha Franco is a Freelance Content Writer who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Guelph, and her Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Western Ontario. Her research focused on Victorian, medical, and epidemiological history with a focus on childhood diseases. Stepping away from her academic career, Samantha previously worked as a Heritage Researcher and now writes content for multiple sites covering an array of historical topics.

In her spare time, Samantha enjoys reading, knitting, and hanging out with her dog, Chowder!