March 23, 2023
Rapper Coolio Passed Away

Rapper Coolio Passed Away: LOS ANGELES — Coolio, the rapper who was among hip-hop’s greatest names of the 1990s with hits including “Gangsta’s Paradise” and “Fantastic Voyage,” passed on Wednesday at age 59, his manager said.

Coolio died at the Los Angeles home of a friend, long-term director Jarez Posey told The Associated Press. The reason was not quickly clear.

Best Performer

Coolio won a Grammy for best performance rap performance for “Gangsta’s Paradise,” the 1995 hit from the soundtrack of the Michelle Pfeiffer film “Dangerous Minds” that tested Stevie Miracle’s 1976 song “Pastime Paradise” and was played continually on MTV.

The Grammy, and the level of his prominence, came in 1996, in the midst of a wild quarrel between the hip-hop communities of the two coasts, which would end the existences of Tupac Shakur and The Famous B.I.G. before long.

“I’d like to claim this Grammy on behalf of the whole hip-hop nation, West Coast, East Coast, and worldwide, united we stand, divided we fall,” he said from the stage as he accepted the award.

Beginning of His Career

He was born in Monessen, Pennsylvania south of Pittsburgh, Coolio moved to Compton, California. He invested some time as a high schooler in Northern California, where his mom sent him since she felt the city was too dangerous.

He said in interviews that he began rapping at 15 and realized by 18 it was how he needed to manage his life, yet would go to junior college and work as a worker fireman and in air terminal security prior to giving himself full-time to the hip-hop scene.

Professional Career

His profession took off with the 1994 arrival of his introduction collection on Tommy Boy Records, “It Takes a Thief.” It’s the initial track, “Fantastic Voyage,” that would come to No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

After a year, “Gangsta’s Paradise” would turn into a No. 1 single, with its dim opening lyrics:

“As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I take a look at my life and realize there’s not much left, ’cause I’ve been blastin’ and laughin’ so long, that even my mama thinks that my mind is gone.”

His career album sales totaled 4.8 million, with 978 million on-demand streams of his songs, according to Luminate. He would be nominated for six Grammys overall.

And with his distinctive persona, he would become a cultural staple, acting occasionally, starring in a reality show about parenting called “Coolio’s Rules,” providing a voice for an episode of the animated show “Gravity Falls” and providing the theme music for the Nickelodeon sitcom “Kenan & Kel.”

Social Media Reaction’s

Social media lit up with reactions to the unexpected death.

“This is sad news,” Ice Cube said on Twitter. “I witness first hand this man’s grind to the top of the industry. Rest In Peace, @Coolio.”

“Weird Al” Yankovic tweeted “RIP Coolio” along with a picture of the two men hugging.

Coolio had said in an interview at the time it was released that he wasn’t cool with Yankovic’s 1996 “Gangsta’s Paradise” parody, “Amish Paradise.” But the two later made peace.

The rapper would never again have a song nearly as big as “Gangsta’s Paradise,” but had subsequent hits with 1996’s “1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin’ New)” (1996), and 1997’s “C U When U Get There.”

Personal Life

He had occasional legal troubles, including a 1998 conviction in Stuttgart, Germany, where a boutique shop owner said he punched her when she tried to stop him from taking merchandise without paying. He was sentenced to six months probation and fined $30,000.

He was married to Josefa Salinas from 1996 to 2000. They had four children together.

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