‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ Rapper Coolio, Dies at 59

by Jhanaya Belle

September 29, 2022

Photo by: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

Coolio, a rapper who dominated the music scene in the 1990s with singles like “Gangsta’s Paradise” and “Fantastic Voyage,” has passed away, according to his manager and friend Jarez Posey. He was 59.

Posey reported that Coolio passed away in the afternoon on Wednesday, September 28th. The details of the rapper’s death are limited at this time.

“We are saddened by the loss of our dear friend and client, Coolio, who passed away this afternoon,” Coolio’s talent manager Sheila Finegan stated.

Finegan continued.

“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.”

Photo by: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images

Born Artis Leon Ivey Jr., on August 1st, 1963, Coolio was raised in Los Angeles, spending most of his youth in Compton.

His rap career began in the ’80s, and he quickly gained fame in the underground scene.

“Gangsta’s Paradise”, which featured L.V., referenced Stevie Wonder’s 1976 song “Pastime Paradise.” It became the rapper’s signature record, peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 list, stayed there for three weeks, and was crowned the year’s top tune.

The song went on to win the Grammy Award for best rap solo performance in 1996. It was later certified triple-platinum.

Decades after “Gangsta’s Paradise” was released, the song still continued to reach major milestones. In July 2022, the song’s official video gained a billion views on YouTube.

“It’s one of those kinds of songs that transcends generations,” Coolio expressed. He added, “I didn’t use any trendy words…I think it made it timeless.”

Photo by: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

It Takes a Thief, Coolio’s first solo album, was released in 1994 after he signed with Tommy Boy Records.

The lead single “Fantastic Voyage” was another that gained widespread popularity, and peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

According to his website, Coolio sold more than 17 million records throughout his career.

Coolio also won a special place in Millennials’ hearts for his iconic contributions to Nickelodeon’s popular series Kenan and Kel, and his appearance on Dexter’s Laboratory: The Hip-Hop Experiment, which featured other rappers on the Cartoon Network project.

Photo by: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc.

Coolio took use of his status as a classic figure in pop culture in recent years by appearing on programs like Celebrity Cook Off and Celebrity Chopped on television.

In 2008, he also had a television series called Coolio’s Rules that aired on Oxygen.

He is survived by his 10 children.

TV One’s thoughts and prayers are with Coolio’s loved ones at this time. 

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