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

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Coolio in the “Gangsta’s Paradise” video

Coolio, the rapper and actor best known for the 1995 worldwide hit “Gangsta’s Paradise,” died today (Sept. 28, 2022) in Los Angeles, Calif. TMZ reports that the performer was found unresponsive at a friend’s home and that he suffered cardiac arrest. He was 59. TMZ also reported that law enforcement sources said no drugs or drug paraphernalia were found at the scene. Fellow rapper MC Hammer, whose “U Can’t Touch This” was a smash in 1990, called Coolio “one of the nicest dudes I’ve known.”

With over 17 million records sold worldwide, the Grammy award-winning and multi-platinum recording artist was born Artis Leon Ivey Jr. on Aug. 1, 1963, in Monessen, Pa.

Coolio grew up in Compton, Calif., and recorded his first single in 1987. It wasn’t until 1994, though, that he signed with Tommy Boy Records and released his debut album.

He took over the world hip hop scene through the “Gangsta’s Paradise” release featuring the singer L.V., which won a Grammy Award in 1996 for Best Rap Performance, Solo. The song was featured prominently in the Dangerous Minds soundtrack and movie. The track was also nominated for a Grammy for Song of the Year and sold a reported five million copies. It reached #1 on the Hot 100 and topped the charts in more than a dozen countries worldwide. It was Billboard’s number one single in 1995.

Stevie Wonder received a co-writing credit on the song with Coolio and two others as it prominently sampled his song “Pastime Paradise” from his Songs From the Key of Life album.

Coolio had two other Top 5 singles, 1994’s “Fantastic Voyage” and 1996’s “1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin’ New).” He earned two Billboard Music awards, two ASCAP awards (1996, 1997), three MTV video awards (1996 and 1997), four American Online awards (1996) and was the Playboy Music Poll winner in 1997. Coolio successfully made the transition from performer to actor appearing in dozens of feature films and TV series.

Related: Musicians that we’ve lost in 2022

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  1. Lorelei
    #1 Lorelei 29 September, 2022, 00:14

    So very sad to hear that Coolio has passed, I always liked him and 59 is just too young! Gangsta’s Paradise will always be a classic!

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