Coolio is the stage name of Artis Leon Ivey Jr, who is a rapper, actor and record producer who specializes in gangster rap and G-funk. He was born on August 1st, 1963 in Compton, California.
Coolio began recording around 1987 as a solo artist and later joined the hip-hop group WC and the Maad Circle. However, it was’t until 1994 when he signed to Tommy Boy records that he hit it big. Coolio released his debut solo album under the label, It Takes A Thief, which peaked at #8 on Billboard 200 and became later became certifiably Platinum. The lead single off the record, ” Fantastic Voyage” also became a one of the biggest rap singles of the year when it reached #3 on Billboard’s Hot 100.
Yet the best was yet to come for Coolio. In 1995 the rapper recorded a “Gangsta’s Paradise” for the soundtrack of Dangerous Minds. The song would go on to become one of the most successful rap singles of all-time. During that year it would reach #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, and become the #1 single of all genres in, not just the U.S., but countries all over the world. The smash hit would even give Coolio the 1996 Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance.
Despite the massive amount of success produced by “Gangster’s Paradise”, Coolio’s career would never see such heights again. In all, the artist has gone on to release at total of 8 albums.
In addition to music, Coolio has also appeared in TV show’s such as Celebrity Big Brother and the Food Network reality series Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off, the latter of which he placed in second.
It Takes a Thief (1994)
Gangsta’s Paradise (1995)
My Soul (1997)
Coolio.com (2001) (Japan-limited release)
El Cool Magnifico (2002)
The Return of the Gangsta (2006)
Steal Hear (2008)
From the Bottom 2 the Top (2009)
Get Rich (Single) (2013)