12 hours ago
Albert Flores

Artis Leon Ivey Jr. (August 1, 1963 - September 28, 2022), known professionally as Coolio, was an American rapper. First rising to fame as a member of the gangsta rap group WC and the Maad Circle, Coolio achieved mainstream success as a solo artist in the mid-to-late 1990s with his albums It Takes a Thief (1994), Gangsta's Paradise (1995), and My Soul (1997).

He is best known for his 1995 Grammy Award-winning hit single "Gangsta's Paradise", as well as other singles "Fantastic Voyage" (1994), "1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin' New)" (1996), and "C U When U Get There" (1997).

From 1996 on, Coolio released albums independently, and provided the opening track "Aw, Here It Goes!" for the 1996 Nickelodeon television series Kenan & Kel. He created the web series Cookin' with Coolio and released a cookbook.


Early life

Coolio was born August 1, 1963, in Monessen, Pennsylvania. He was raised mostly in Compton, California. +more His mother was a factory worker who divorced his carpenter father and moved to Compton when Coolio was eight years old. Severely asthmatic, Coolio was a regular visitor to his local library as a boy. He started rapping as a teenager, earning the nickname Coolio Iglesias, after Spanish singer Julio Iglesias, which was later shortened to Coolio. He was arrested for bringing a weapon to school and served prison time for larceny. As Compton declined in the 1980s, he became addicted to crack cocaine, but quit drugs after spending time living with his father in San Jose, California. After attending Compton Community College, he worked in jobs such as volunteer firefighting and security at Los Angeles International Airport, before becoming a rapper.

Music career

Coolio recorded his first single in 1987, titled "Whatcha Gonna Do?". He also recorded "What Makes You Dance (Force Groove)" with Nu-Skool in 1988. +more Coolio made connections 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 single "Dress Code".

Tommy Boy Records and It Takes a Thief

In 1994, Coolio signed to Tommy Boy Records and released his debut solo album It Takes a Thief. The lead single "Fantastic Voyage" received heavy rotation on MTV and peaked at No. +more 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. "Fantastic Voyage" would become one of the biggest rap singles of the year. Other minor hits from the album include "County Line" and "I Remember". It Takes a Thief peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard 200, becoming certified Platinum. The album received praise for bringing a humorous and lighthearted perspective to the often violent and profane themes of typical gangsta rap.

Gangsta's Paradise

In 1995, Coolio released "Gangsta's Paradise", featuring R&B singer +more_(singer)'>L. V. , for the film Dangerous Minds. It became one of the most successful rap songs of all time, topping on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks. It was the No. 1 single of 1995 in the United States for all genres and was a global hit topping the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Austria, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Australia, and New Zealand charts. "Gangsta's Paradise" was the second-best-selling single of 1995 in the U. K. The song also created a controversy when Coolio claimed that comedy musician "Weird Al" Yankovic had not asked for permission to make his parody of "Gangsta's Paradise", titled "Amish Paradise". At the 1996 Grammy Awards, the song won Coolio a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance.

Originally "Gangsta's Paradise" was not meant to be included on one of Coolio's studio albums, but its success led to Coolio not only putting it on his next album but also making it the title track. The title track interpolates the chorus and music of the song "Pastime Paradise" by Stevie Wonder, which was recorded nearly 20 years earlier on Wonder's album Songs in the Key of Life. +more The album Gangsta's Paradise was released in 1995 and was certified two times Platinum by the RIAA and sold more than two million copies in US alone.

The album contains two other major hits in "1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin' New)" and "Too Hot" with J. T. +more Taylor of Kool & the Gang doing the chorus. Despite no longer being an official member of the group, Coolio appears on the second WC and the Maad Circle album Curb Servin' on the song "In a Twist". In 1996, Coolio had another top 40 hit with the song "It's All the Way Live (Now)" from the soundtrack to the movie Eddie. He is also featured on the song "Hit 'em High" from the soundtrack to the 1996 film Space Jam with B-Real, Method Man, LL Cool J, and Busta Rhymes.

In 2014, the band Falling in Reverse did a cover of "Gangsta's Paradise" for Punk Goes 90s Vol. +more 2, with Coolio making a cameo in the music video.

Red Hot Organization and Tommy Boy Records dismissal

In 1996, Coolio appeared on the Red Hot Organization's compilation CD America Is Dying Slowly, alongside Biz Markie, Wu-Tang Clan, and Fat Joe, among many other prominent hip-hop artists. The CD meant to raise awareness of the AIDS epidemic among African-American men. +more That same year, he recorded the music video "Aw, Here It Goes!" for the opening sequence of the Nickelodeon television series Kenan & Kel, which ran for four seasons.

Coolio's third solo album, My Soul, came out in 1997. Although it contains the major hit "C U When U Get There" and the album went platinum, it failed to reach the success of his previous two albums. +more Coolio was subsequently dropped from the Tommy Boy Records label. Since then, 2001's Coolio. com, 2003's El Cool Magnifico, 2006's The Return of the Gangsta, and 2008's Steal Hear, 2009's From the Bottom 2 the Top, and 2017's Long Live the Thief have not charted on any Billboard chart. He did have a minor hit in the UK in 2006 with "Gangsta Walk" (featuring Snoop Dogg).

While touring with hip-hop duo Insane Clown Posse, Coolio received a tattoo as an homage to the group's fanbase, reading "Jugalo Cool" . He stated that the misspelling was intentional. +more Coolio performed at the Gathering of the Juggalos.

Coolio is featured on an international collaboration track called "Fuck the DJ" by UK rapper Blacklisted MC, also featuring Bizarre of D12, Adil Omar (from Pakistan), and Uzimon (from Bermuda). The song premiered on music website Noisey from Vice in October 2014.

Television appearances

Coolio appeared as a contestant on Comeback - Die große Chance in 2004 (translated in English as Comeback: The Big Chance), a German talent show featuring artists looking for a comeback.

In the television series Futurama, Coolio made two appearances on the TV series and one appearance in Futurama: Bender's Big Score, a straight-to-video movie for the show. He played Kwanzaa-bot, a rapping robot who spreads awareness about Kwanzaa.

In 2009, Coolio appeared as a housemate on the sixth season of the UK version of Celebrity Big Brother. He later went to appear on the UK's Ultimate Big Brother in 2010, where he decided it was best to leave the house after numerous confrontations with Nadia Almada and others there. +more In January 2012, he was one of eight celebrities participating in the Food Network reality television series Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off, where he represented the Music Saves Lives Organization. He also guest starred as himself on Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

Coolio is featured on the March 5, 2013, episode of the ABC reality program Wife Swap, but his then-girlfriend left him after the program was taped. On June 30, 2013, he appeared alongside comedian Jenny Eclair and Emmerdale actor Matthew Wolfenden on the UK game show Tipping Point: Lucky Stars, where he came in second. +more On June 30, 2012, Coolio voiced a wax figure of himself on Gravity Falls. He also appears on "Homie-Work", a 1998 episode of The Nanny, in which he portrays a nerdy man, a "gift wrapper", transformed by the Jewish nanny into a "Rapper" for Maxwell Sheffield's new rap musical.

Coolio guest starred on a 2014 episode of the Adult Swim show Black Jesus titled "Gangsta's Paradise". In July 2016, Coolio performed on ABC's Greatest Hits.

Other appearances

In 2019, Coolio appeared on Irish rap group Versatile's track "Escape Wagon". He later featured on their 2021 album, Fuck Versatile, on the track "Coolio Interlude".


Coolio and jazz saxophonist Jarez were enlisted in July 2008 as spokespersons by the group Environmental Justice and Climate Change to educate students at historically black colleges and universities about global warming. Coolio was a spokesperson for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. +more He said that he and his children are asthma sufferers. As a child, he was taken to the hospital several times due to asthma complications.

Legal issues

In 1998, a court in Böblingen near Stuttgart sentenced Coolio to six months' probation and fined him $17,000 after convicting him of being an accessory to robbery and causing bodily injury.

In 2016, Coolio and members of his crew were arrested for having a loaded firearm inside of a bookbag at Los Angeles International Airport. The bag was flagged by the Transportation Security Administration as the group attempted to pass through a security checkpoint. +more One of his bodyguards claimed ownership of the bag, but witnesses stated that it belonged to Coolio himself. Coolio was sentenced to three years of probation and 45 days of community service.

In 2017, Coolio was denied entry into Singapore upon landing at Changi International Airport. Singapore's Immigration and Checkpoints Authority declined to comment on the reason for the denial, citing reasons of confidentiality. +more Coolio had been traveling from Beijing to Singapore to perform at a Formula One concert event.

Personal life

Coolio had ten children, four of whom were born to his wife, whom he married in 1996 and divorced in 2000. In March 2022, he told Australia's Today Extra that he had five grandchildren.

Coolio was the running mate for pornographic actress Cherie DeVille's Democratic presidential run in 2020.


While at a friend's house in Los Angeles, California on September 28, 2022, Coolio was discovered unresponsive on a bathroom floor. He was pronounced dead by first responders. +more He was 59 years old at the time of his death. Police have opened an investigation into his death, though foul play is not suspected, and Coolio's manager stated he appeared to have suffered cardiac arrest.

Coolio was cremated in a private ceremony with no funeral service. His ashes were then encased in jewelry for his family, with the rest of his ashes going into an urn.


Studio albums

It Takes a Thief (1994) * Gangsta's Paradise (1995) * My Soul (1997) * Coolio. +morecom (2001) * El Cool Magnifico (2002) * The Return of the Gangsta (2006) * Steal Hear (2008) * From the Bottom 2 the Top (2009).

Collaboration albums

Ain't a Damn Thang Changed with WC and the Maad Circle (1991)



1996Dear GodGerard
1996The Big HelpHimself
1997Batman & RobinJonathan CraneCredited as "Banker"
1997On the LineLt. Gil SuggsTV Movie
1997An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood BurnDion Brothers
1999Judgment DayLuther / 'Lucifer'Video
1999TyroneTyrone / Jerome / Cherone
1999Midnight MassBlue Lou
2000The ConventOfficer Starkey
2000Leprechaun in the HoodHimselfVideo
2000SubmergedJeff Cort
2000Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the 13thPrincipal (AFKAP)Video
2000China Strike ForceHimself
2000Dope Case Pending
2001In PursuitCarl WrightVideo
2001Get Over ItHimself
2001GanglandOfficer Harris
2002Storm WatchOutlaw
2002Media WhoreHimself
2002Outlawz: WorldsideHimself
2003The BeatEmcee
2003DaredevilDante JacksonDirector's cut version
2003Ravedactyl: Project EvolutionMaduzorShort
2003Stealing CandyBrad Vorman
2003Red WaterIceTV Movie
2003ExposedBig Heat
2003Tapped OutCool
2003Sex & the Studio 2Video
2003Four Fingers of the TrillHimself
2003MoveArthur / Ernest /DreShort
2004A Wonderful Night in SplitFranky
2004Dracula 3000187
2004Gang WarzDunzio Day
2005PterodactylCapt. +more Bergen
2006Grad NightMichael Adkins
2006Love Hollywood StyleHimself
2007Futurama: Bender's Big ScoreKwanzaa-bot (voice)Video
2007Sound, Verses FuryHimself
2007Three Days to VegasThe Flow
Don't Tell My BookerHimself
2008Chinaman's Chance: America's Other SlavesRoger
2008SidesThe Star
2009The Lost Archives of Quincy TaylorArchpimp Mac McFreddyShort
2012Two Hundred Thousand DirtyManny
2012InertiaPromotional Trailer
2015Lord of the FreaksHimself
2018Vantasic VoyageHimself
2018United SkatesHimself
2018The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon StoryHimself
2021Fintech Rap Battle: Monzo VS StarlingHimself


1995The Parent 'HoodThe GangsterEpisode: "Trust a Move"
1995MartinHimselfEpisode: "All the Players Came"
1995-96All ThatHimself2 Episodes
1996Space: Above and BeyondThe Bacchus HostEpisode: "R & R"
1996Dangerous MindsSex EducatorEpisode: "Pilot"
1996Sabrina The Teenage WitchHimselfEpisode: "A Girl and Her Cat"
1996-2000Kenan & KelPerformer: Theme SongTV Series
1997DuckmanHimselfEpisode: "Coolio Runnings"
1998The NannyIrwin2 Episodes
1998+moreP. _(American_TV_series)'>V. I. P. HimselfEpisode: "Vallery of the Dolls"
1999Early EditionJulius 'C-Roc' RubyEpisode: "Number One with a Bullet"
1999Malcolm & EddieTroy JensenEpisode: "Daddio"
2000Arli$$ErnestEpisode: "It's Who You Know"
2001Der ClownHimselfEpisode: "Stirb langsam"
2001Fear FactorHimself/ContestantEpisode: "First Celebrity Fear Factor"
2001-23FuturamaKwanzaa-bot (voice)2 Episodes
2002CharmedLazarus DemonEpisode: "Marry-Go-Round"
2002Static ShockReplikon / Marvin Roper (voice)Episode: "Duped"
2002HollaHimselfTV Series
2002Robbery Homicide DivisionGreg / G-DownEpisode: "Alton Davis Redux"
2003Make My DayEpisode: "Linda Narty"
2005JoeyHimselfEpisode: "Joey and the Poker"
2008Cookin' with CoolioHimselfTV Series
2008Coolio's RulesHimselfMain Cast
2009Star-vingHimselfRecurring Cast
2009The Sunday Night ProjectHimselfEpisode: "Lily Allen"
2012Gravity FallsWax Coolio (voice)Episode: "Headhunters"
2014American Hustle LifeHimselfReality Show
2014Black JesusHimselfEpisode: "Gangsta's Paradise"
2017TeachersMr. WenceEpisode: "First Day Back"
2021Let's Be RealHimselfEpisode: "Episode #1. 4"

Awards and nominations

Coolio's 1995 song "Gangsta's Paradise" received several awards, including Best Rap Solo Performance at the Grammy Awards and Best Rap Video and Best Video from a Film at the MTV Video Music Awards. Coolio himself received several awards, including Favorite Rap/Hip Hop Artist at the American Music Awards in 1996. +more At the Grammy Awards in 1997, Coolio received three nominations: Best Rap Album for Gangsta's Paradise, Best Rap Solo Performance for "1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin' New)", and Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group for "Stomp". Overall, Coolio received five awards from fourteen nominations.

American Music Awards

The American Music Awards is an annual awards ceremony created by Dick Clark in 1973. Coolio received one award from two nominations.

%" | Year%" | Nominated work%" | Award%" | Result
CoolioFavorite Rap/Hip Hop ArtistWon
CoolioFavorite Rap/Hip-Hop ArtistNominated

Grammy Awards

The Grammy Awards are awarded annually by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States. Coolio received one award from six nominations.

%" | Year%" | Nominated work%" | Award%" | Result
"Fantastic Voyage"Best Rap Solo PerformanceNominated
"Gangsta's Paradise"Record of the YearNominated
"Gangsta's Paradise"Best Rap Solo PerformanceWon
Gangsta's ParadiseBest Rap AlbumNominated
"1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin' New)"Best Rap Solo PerformanceNominated
"Stomp"Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or GroupNominated
* "Stomp" with Luke Cresswell, Fiona Wilkes, Carl Smith, Fraser Morrison, Everett Bradley, Mr. X, Melle Mel, Coolio, Yo-Yo, Chaka Khan, Charlie Wilson, Shaquille O'Neal, Luniz

MTV Video Music Awards

The MTV Video Music Awards is an annual awards ceremony established in 1984 by MTV. Coolio received three awards from six nominations.

%" | Year%" | Nominated work%" | Award%" | Result
"Fantastic Voyage"Best Rap VideoNominated
"Gangsta's Paradise"Best Rap VideoWon
"Gangsta's Paradise"Best Video from a FilmWon
"Gangsta's Paradise"Viewer's ChoiceNominated
"1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin' New)"Best Dance VideoWon
"1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin' New)"Best Male VideoNominated

Grammy Award winners for rap music

Musicians from Compton, California

WC and the Maad Circle members

21st-century African-American politicians

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