Antoine Roundtree , better known by his stage name Skee-Lo, is an American rapper. He is best known for his 1995 song “I Wish”, which became a hit in several countries and reached No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100.
His first single “I Wish” became a hit on radio and TV during the summer of 1995 with a number one MTV video directed by Marty Thomas that won many nominations and wins from VMA Awards worldwide. The song was known for its lack of explicit lyrics at a time when gangsta rap was very popular. His debut album of the same title was released shortly thereafter, earning him two Grammy nominations for both the album and single. Afterwards he stopped his rapping career before coming back to release a new album in 2000 and another in 2012.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Roundtree and his family subsequently relocated to Poughkeepsie, New York, then moved to Los Angeles, California when he was twelve. He first started rapping in 1983.
He graduated from high school in Moreno Valley before moving back to Los Angeles in 1993. He attended El Camino College. At about this time, he converted to Islam and joined the Nation of Islam.
“I Wish” is a single by Skee-Lo released by Scotti Bros.. In the United States, the track peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was certified Gold by the RIAA and sold 600,000 copies domestically. Internationally, “I Wish” reached number 15 in the UK, and number 4 in Sweden and Norway. Most of the song’s instruments are sampled from “Spinnin'” by Bernard Wright, and the song features a vocal sample of people shouting from the track “Buffalo Gals” by Malcolm McLaren.
The song was nominated for Best Rap Solo Performance at the 1996 Grammy Awards but lost to “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio. Blender listed “I Wish” as number 359 on its list of “Greatest Songs Since You Were Born”. The music video, directed by Marty Thomas, was nominated for three Billboard Music Video Awards including “Best New Artist Music Video” and “Maximum Vision Clip of the Year”
The song’s lyrics are self-deprecating, with Skee-Lo lamenting a variety of personal shortcomings that he says are to blame for his unsuccessful love life. He wishes he were of taller stature (“like 6’9”) and a basketball player (“a baller”). He wishes for a better car, specifically a ’64 Impala, instead of his 1974 Ford Pinto with “an 8-Track and a spare tire in the backseat, but that’s flat!” The lyrics also mention the Los Angeles neighborhood of Crenshaw, and a signpost featuring the street name appears in the background of the music video. Additionally, the song references Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” in the lyrics “Hey, you, what’s that sound?/ Everybody look what’s going down”.