Rapper Coolio, who sang “Gangsta’s Paradise,” died at age 59

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The Grammy-winning rapper, producer, and actor Coolio has passed away. He was best known for his 1995 hit “Gangsta’s Paradise.” He was 59.

Jarel Posey, the rapper’s longtime manager, confirmed the news, adding that Coolio passed away on Wednesday afternoon about 5 p.m. PT. TMZ reports that Coolio was located at a friend’s home.

In a statement, Coolio’s talent manager Sheila Finegan said, “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.”

He actually got involved in the drug culture but emerging from it by pursuing a career as a firefighter in a 1994 interview with the Los Angeles Times.

In the 1990s, Coolio became well-known in the Los Angeles rap scene after penning the song “Gangsta’s Paradise” for the Michelle Pfeiffer-starring movie “Dangerous Minds” in 1995.

This was his big break. It soon rose to fame as one of the most well-known rap songs of all time, spending three weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 and ending 1995 as the top single in the United States. Coolio won the Grammy Award for best rap solo performance in 1996, and “Gangsta’s Paradise” was nominated for record of the year.

The song was quickly spoofed by “Weird Al” Yankovic as “Amish Paradise,” despite Coolio’s emphatic denials that he had given him permission to do so. Coolio later stated that the two made up in interviews, though.

In 1991, Coolio, then known as Artis Leon Ivey Jr., relocated to Compton, California, where he joined the hip-hop group WC and the Maad Circle. Coolio was born on August 1, 1963, in Pennsylvania.

A few years later, in 1994, Coolio landed a record deal with Tommy Boy Records and issued his self-titled debut album. It Takes a Thief, which was propelled by its lead single “Fantastic Voyage,” peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart and was awarded platinum status.

After “Gangsta’s Paradise” became popular in the middle of the 1990s, Coolio’s celebrity grew even more. Eventually, he recorded “Aw, Here It Goes!” for the theme song of Nickelodeon’s “Kenan & Kel,” which he also appeared in. “C U When U Get There” from his third album, “My Soul,” which was released in 1997, debuted at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. Although the album was gold-certified, it didn’t have the same impact as his first two and ended up being his final album with Tommy Boy.

The following five studio albums by Coolio would follow: “Coolio.com” in 2001, “El Cool Magnifico” in 2002, “The Return of the Gangsta” in 2006, “Steal Hear” in 2008, and “From the Bottom 2 the Top” in 2009. As his popularity as a musician waned, Coolio transitioned from music to television, finishing third in a German talent competition for musicians trying to make a comeback in 2004 and making an appearance on “Celebrity Big Brother” in 2009. Coolio also had a strong passion for food. In 2009, he published a cookbook titled “Cooking With Coolio,” and in 2012, he participated in “Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off” on the Food Network, finishing in second place.

Coolio, who was also a talented actor, had numerous film and television appearances during the course of his career. Coolio’s credits include the “Dangerous Minds” TV spinoff (1996), “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” “Batman & Robin,” “The Nanny,” “Tyrone,” “Midnight Mass,” “Charmed,” “Star-ving,” “Futurama” (2001, 2010), and “Gravity Falls,” starting with a guest appearance as himself on “Martin” (1995). (2012).

Coolio has three movies in development, according to his IMDb page: Rob Margolies’ “Bobcat Moretti,” “It Wants Blood 2,” and the TV movie “Vegas High.” After barely finishing a concert on September 18 at Chicago’s Riot Fest, Coolio proceeded to perform.

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