Coolio Obituary: Artistically known by his stage name Coolio, Artis Leon Ivey Jr. (August 1, 1963 – September 28, 2022) was an American rapper, record producer, and actor. It Takes a Thief (1994), Gangsta’s Paradise (1995), and My Soul (1996) propelled Coolio to fame in the mid-to-late-1990s (1997).
He was also well-known for writing the theme song, “Aw, Here It Goes!” for the Nickelodeon show Kenan & Kel, which premiered in 1996. Coolio has been putting out albums independently since 1996. He also turned his hand to cooking, launching a web series called Cookin’ with Coolio and publishing a cookbook under the same name.
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Coolio Early Life
Later in life, Artis Leon Ivey Jr. relocated to Compton, California, from his birthplace of Monessen, Pennsylvania on August 1, 1963. Before beginning his career as a rap artist, he received his education at Compton Community College and worked in a variety of occupations, including security at Los Angeles International Airport and volunteer firefighting.
Coolio’s Music Career
Coolio recorded his first song in 1987, titled “Whatcha Gonna Do?“. He also released “What Makes You Dance (Force Groove)” with Nu-Skool in 1988. Coolio forged ties in the L.A. rap scene, and in 1991, ended up joining the group WC and the Maad Circle, led by rapper WC. He is a credited co-contributor on the group’s debut album Ain’t a Damn Thang Changed, including on the tune “Dress Code”.
Coolio and L.V., an R&B vocalist, dropped the single “Gangsta’s Paradise” in 1995 for the movie Dangerous Minds. It spent three weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100, making it one of the most successful rap singles ever.
It topped the charts in the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Austria, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as being the year’s most popular single in the United States across all genres.
The single “Gangsta’s Paradise” was the number two best seller in the United Kingdom in 1995. Another factor in the song’s notoriety is Coolio’s accusation that “Weird Al” Yankovic’s “Amish Paradise,” a spoof of “Gangsta’s Paradise,” was released without the rapper’s approval. The song earned Coolio a Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance in the 1996 ceremony.
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The success of “Gangsta’s Paradise” resulted in Coolio not only including the song on his next studio album but also making it the album’s title track. The title track borrows the chorus and music from Stevie Wonder’s song “Pastime Paradise,” first released over 20 years prior on Wonder’s album Songs in the Key of Life. In 1995, the RIAA recognized Gangsta’s Paradise as 2 Platinum since it had sold over 2 million copies around the world.
J.T. Taylor of Kool & the Gang provides the chorus on “Too Hot” and “1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin’ New),” two more significant songs from the album. Coolio is featured in the song “In a Twist” on the second WC and the Maad Circle album, Curb Servin’, despite the fact that he is no longer a member of the group.
Another top 40 hits for Coolio came in 1996 with “It’s All the Way Live (Now)” from the Eddie soundtrack. The song “Hit ’em High,” from the Space Jam album, 1996, also features B-Real, Method Man, LL Cool J, and Busta Rhymes. In 2014, Falling in Reverse covered “Gangsta’s Paradise” for “Punk Goes 90’s,” and Coolio made an appearance in the music video.
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Coolio, ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ Hip-hop Star, Dies at 59
A representative for the artist confirmed his death. This 59-year-old “Gangsta’s Paradise” creator has passed away. We are deeply grieved by the passing of our great friend and client, Coolio,” a representative for Coolio told Us Weekly on Wednesday. With his talent, he made a significant impact on the globe, and he will be sorely missed.
A heartfelt “thank you” goes out to the millions of people around the world who have appreciated his music and reached out to his family and friends since learning of his death. Send your condolences to Coolio’s family and friends.
Hours after his untimely death on September 28, his longtime manager Jarez Posey told TMZ and Rolling Stone that the Grammy winner (born Artis Leon Ivey Jr.) had been visiting a friend. TMZ reports that Coolio’s pal became worried when the late rapper went to the bathroom and stayed there for a long time. When the famous musician didn’t answer when his friend called his name, the friend went in and found Coolio on the floor.
Coolio died Wednesday in Los Angeles … TMZ has learned. https://t.co/EpTqnrwrhq
— TMZ (@TMZ) September 29, 2022
The “C U When U Get There” singer was pronounced dead on the spot after paramedics were called. According to Posey, the paramedics have concluded that cardiac arrest was the cause of Coolio’s death. From 1996 to 2000, Coolio was married to Josefa Salinas. Their four children, Artisha, Brandi, Jackie, and Artis, all appeared in the 2008 reality show Coolio’s Rules alongside their father.
Between 1994 and 2009, Coolio released eight albums under his own name. Starring opposite George Clooney’s Dark Knight in Batman & Robin (1997), Get Over It (2001) with Kirsten Dunst, and Ben Affleck’s Daredevil (2003 ) helped him achieve fame in the film industry as well. He also made a splash on television, with roles in shows like Sabrina the Teenage Witch, The Nanny, Charmed, and Teachers.
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