Rap artist Coolio, who became famous all over the world thanks to the song Gangsta’s Paradisereleased in the middle of the nineties (1995), passed away on September 28 at the age of 59 years old in Los Angeles, California. Found unconscious at a friend’s house while he left for the bathroom, he failed to be reanimated by emergency services. The reason of his death is still unknown.
Coolio, whose real name is Artis Leon Ivey, was born in Monessen (Pennsylvania) in 1963. Nicknamed Coolio by a friend because he was singing like a crooner, the youngster used to belong to a Los Angeles gang called Baby Crips. Music was a way to escape that reality and in 1994, Coolio signed with Tommy Boy Records and released his first studio album: It takes a thief. The consecration would come one year later with the song that everyone has heard about at least one time.
1995 was the Gangsta’s Paradise year, a song which refers to a Stevie Wonder creation called Pastime Paradise and released in 1976: describing the hard and violent life in the ghetto and how real gangsters used to live, Gangsta’s paradise is also a personal and dark song which is quite different from some other tracks by Coolio praising life and party such as Fantastic Voyage or Too hot.
This musical introspection became a worldwide success and contributed to make Coolio famous outside the United States. The song was even part of a movie original soundtrack starring Michelle Pfeiffer and called Dangerous Minds (1995).
Coolio released eight studio albums in his rap career, the last one being From the bottom to the top in 2009. Along with rap, he achieved a career on the screens and became an actor, playing both for TV and cinema (Batman & Robin, 1997). He also had trouble with the law and was put under arrest several times for gun issues.