Rapper Coolio Dies at 59
Rapper Coolio, best known for “Gangsta’s Paradise,” died on September 28, 2022, at a friend’s house in Los Angeles. He was 59.
Coolio is credited with helping to establish west coast hip-hop, also known as G-funk or gangsta funk.
He was born in Pennsylvania as Artis Leon Ivey Jr. and grew up in Compton, California. While searching for his path in life, Coolio became a firefighter. He said, “I wasn’t looking for a career, I was looking for a way to clean up – a way to escape the drug thing. It was going to kill me and I knew I had to stop. In firefighting training was discipline I needed.”
“Gangsta’s Paradise earned Coolio a Grammy, and it was featured in the 1995 film “Dangerous Minds,” starring Michelle Pfeiffer. About the song, Coolio said, “It’s one of those kinds of songs that transcends generations. I didn’t use any trendy words…I think it made it timeless.”
“Weird Al” Yankovic parodied “Gangsta’s Paradise” in 1996, reworking it as “Amish Paradise.” Coolio did not appreciate the humor of the parody at first, but in later years he and Yankovic reconciled.
When he wasn’t recording or touring, Coolio made many television appearances as himself, including stints on “Celebrity Cook Off,” “Big Brother UK” and “Marriage Boot Camp.” He also recorded the theme song for Nickelodeon’s “Kenan & Kel.”
Coolio’s most recent concert appearance was on September 18, 2022, at Chicago’s Riot Fest.
He was the father of six children. Learn more about Coolio in his own words.
Gonzalez, Sandra. “Coolio, ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ rapper, dead at 59.” CNN, September 29, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/09/28/entertainment/coolio-obit
Lawrence, Andrew. “From Gangsta’s Paradise to reality TV, Coolio was a stone-faced rapper who softened hearts.” The Guardian, September 29, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/music/2022/sep/29/coolio-appreciation-gangstas-paradise
Shafer, Ellise. “Coolio, Grammy-Winning ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ Rapper, Dies at 59.” Variety, September 28, 2022, https://variety.com/2022/music/news/coolio-dead-dies-gangstas-paradise-rapper-1235387456/
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