music / News

Rap Icon Coolio Passes Away At 59

September 28, 2022 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Coolio Gangsta's Paradise Image Credit: Warner Bros. Records

The rap world has lost an icon as Coolio, the legendary rapper behind “Gangsta’s Paradise,” has passed away. Variety has confirmed with manager Jarel Posey that Coolio, aka Artis Leon Ivey Jr., passed on Wednesday at around 5 PM. TMZ reports that he passed away at a friend’s hose in Los Angeles and that it is believed he suffered a cardiac arrest, though official cause of death has not been determined. Law enforcement sources told the latter site that no drugs or drug paraphernalia were found at the scene, and that an autopsy and toxicology test will be used to determine the cause of death. He was 59.

Coolio will forever be known for “Gangsta’s Paradise,” which was release in 1995 and was featured on the soundtrack to Dangerous Minds. He had been working in the rap industry for nearly a decade before that though, recording his first single “Whatcha Gonna Do?” in 1987. He grew out of the L.A. rap scene and joined the group WC and the Maad Circle in 1991. He contributed to their debut album Ain’t a Damn Thang Changed, which released that year, and eventually signed as a solo artist with Tommy Boy Records in 1994. His debut album It Takes a Thief released in 1994 and its lead single “Fantastic Voyage” was a hit on radio and MTV, with the LP earning a platinum status.

It was of course “Gangsta’s Paradise” that made him a household name though. Released off his second album of the same name, the song became an instant hit and was helped to mainstream popularity by the music video featuring Dangerous Minds star
Michelle Pfeiffer. “Gangsta’s Paradise” was certified triple platinum and earned a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance, plus a nomination for Record of the Year.

While Coolio never quite reached that same success on a single, he parlayed his fame into a lengthy career that included six more albums with the follow-up to Gangsta’s Paradise, titled My Soul going gold in 1997. He became a known figure in pop culture, both appearng on reality TV shows like Celebrity Big Brother and acting in shows and films like Martin, Batman & Robin, The Nanny, Charmed, Gravity Falls, and more. A major foodie, he competed on the Food Network show Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off and came in at second place. He also released a 2009 cookbook Cookin’ With Coolio.

On behalf of 411, our condolences to the family, friends, and fans of Coolio. He will be missed.

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Coolio, Jeremy Thomas