Stetsasonic has released a new song paying tribute to the many hip-hop and R&B stars who have died or been killed over the years.
The new song, “Fallen Soldiers,” is rendered even more powerful by its official video, which combines footage of artists, producers and DJs including Biz Markie, DJ Kay Slay, Left Eye and Sean Price with archive footage of performances and interviews by Heavy D, 2 Pac and Biggieand J Dilla.
In a statement, group member Daddy-O explained that a recent loss particularly inspired the heartfelt track.
“The record was originally inspired by the passing of our fallen brother Coolio“, he said. “But when we started recording, the record took off [on] his own life.”
Through both the song and the video, Stetsasonic make it a point to pay just as much attention to their fallen peers as the artists who emerged long after the Brooklyn legends took the stage. As such, the song goes from mentioning Scott La Rock’s fatal shot in 1987 to TakeOff earlier this month.
Those not specifically mentioned in the song — like Big L and Proof — are memorialized by including their photos. Stetsasonic also makes use of Black Rob, Buff Love and DMX’s unmistakable vocals.
The song ends with a roll call featuring Soulja Slim, Mac Dre and MF Doom, to name a few.
Best known for his hit singles “Gangsta’s Paradise” and “Fantastic Voyage,” Coolio died at age 59 on September 28. Coolio’s manager Jarez confirmed the news to TMZand revealed that he died while visiting a friend.
Jarez said the Grammy Award winner went to the bathroom but never returned. After the friend went to look for him, he discovered Coolio lying on the bathroom floor. Paramedics arrived minutes later and pronounced him dead at the scene. Jarez said paramedics believe he suffered cardiac arrest, although no official cause of death has been released.
Coolio had big plans to close out the year before this death. He was on the verge of locking himself in a stay in Las Vegas with Fan Rebellion — the production company behind the Hip Hop residency series Boombox! – where he was set to headline 10 shows at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino starting in late October and running through mid-November.
The Compton native also prepared to bring his “Kwanzaa bot” character back for Futurama‘s upcoming revival on Hulu, according to the show’s executive producer. With the late rapper’s lines and a few bars already recorded, the show will move forward with the return of Kwanzaa bot and will dedicate the episode to Coolio.