Rapper Coolio 1963 – 2022

The hip-hop star known for "Gangsta's Paradise" has died at age 59.

By Andy Kahn Sep 29, 2022 7:51 am PDT

Hip hop star Coolio, best known for his 1990s hit song, “Gangsta’s Paradise,” died yesterday (September 28) at age 59. Rolling Stone reported his death, which was also covered by TMZ and other outlets, via Coolio’s manager Jarez Posey. Another manager, Sheila Finegan, shared the statement below with Variety:

“We are saddened by the loss of our dear friend and client, Coolio, who passed away this afternoon. He touched the world with the gift of his talent and will be missed profoundly. Thank you to everyone worldwide who has listened to his music and to everyone who has been reaching out regarding his passing. Please have Coolio’s loved ones in your thoughts and prayers.”

Coolio was born Artis Ivey Jr. on August 1, 1963, in Pennsylvania. He later relocated to Compton, California, and began performing after high school. During a performance, he was called “Coolio Iglesias,” which he shortened to “Coolio” while making frequent appearances on Los Angeles radio. Coolio’s first single, “Whatcha Gonna Do,” arrived in 1987. He spent a short stint as a member of the L.A.-based rap group WC and the Maad Circle and appeared on their 1991 debut album, Ain’t A Damn Thang Changed.

After signing to Tommy Boy Records, Coolio’s debut solo album, It Takes A Thief, was issued in 1994. The record included the hit single, “Fantastic Voyage,” which was an interpolation of the classic Lakeside funk song.

Coolio recorded the song “Gangsta’s Paradise” for the soundtrack to the 1995 feature film, Dangerous Minds that starred Michelle Pfieffer. The song, which featured gospel vocalist L.V. and was based on Stevie Wonder’s Songs In The Key Of Life track “Pastime Paradise,” became a worldwide hit, landing atop the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart and winning the 1996 Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance.

Released in 1995, Coolio’s second album Gangsta’s Paradise, produced additional hits “1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin’ New)” and “Too Hot.” His third album, My Soul, was released in 1997 and contained the successful single, “C U When U Get There.”

Subsequent albums followed via 2001’s Coolio.com, 2003’s El Cool Magnifico, 2006’s The Return of the Gangsta, 2008’s Steal Hear and 2009’s From the Bottom 2 the Top. During his career, Coolio sold over 17 million albums globally.

In addition to music, Coolio was an accomplished actor in both featured films and television. He also hosted cooking shows and released a cookbook.

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