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Artis Leon Ivey, Jr. (born August 1, 1963), better known by the stage name Coolio, is a Grammy Award-winning Americanmarker rapper and actor. He rose to fame in 1994 with his debut single "Fantastic Voyage", and later in 1995 with the hit single "Gangsta's Paradise", which appeared on the soundtrack for the film Dangerous Minds.

Early life

Coolio was born in Compton, Californiamarker the son of Jackie Slater, a factory worker, and Artis Leon Ivey Sr., a carpenter. His parents divorced. Coolio got into trouble outside home as he spent time with Mona Park Compton Crips gang members, although he was never formally inducted nor accepted into the gang, and therefore was not considered as a member of a gang.

Coolio spent several months in jail for larceny.

Coolio was a regular guest on the Los Angeles radio station KDAY. The beginning of Coolio's musical career was derailed as he began selling crack cocaine. After rehab, Coolio worked various odd jobs, including as a California Conservation Corps member at the Pomona site, and as a firefighter in the forests of northern California in the 1980s.

Recording career

Coolio performing in U.S.
Army base in Bosnia in 2002.
Coolio started his career as a member of the rap group, WC and the Maad Circle, which along with Coolio included WC, Sir Jinx and DJ Crazy Toones. He left the group, and in 1994 released his debut album It Takes a Thief. The album was a success, reaching the top 10 of the pop charts (#8 on the Billboard Hot 200) . The album featured the singles "Fantastic Voyage" and "I Remember," which featured J-Ro and Tash of Tha Alkaholiks. "Fantastic Voyage" was a hit single, peaking at #2 on the Hot Rap Singles, and being ranked one of the top 5 songs of the year by Rolling Stone magazine, Spin magazine, and Village Voice.

In 1995 Coolio released his second album, Gangsta's Paradise, which is his most successful album to date. It went quadruple platinum fueled by the title track, a song that also appeared on the soundtrack to the movie Dangerous Minds, and hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The titled single also became the biggest selling single on the US Billboard Top 100 of 1995. It also contained another major hit, "1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin' New)" that peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100.

In 1997 Coolio released his third album, My Soul. It peaked at #39 on the Billboard Hot 200, a large commercial dropoff from his first two albums. It contained one charting single, "C U When U Get There", based on Johann Pachelbel's classic piece "Canon in D", which peaked at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100. His next two albums, El Cool Magnifico (2002), and The Return of the Gangsta (2006), had little success and failed to chart.Coolio's recordings also appeared on the soundtracks to Clueless (1995) and Dangerous Minds (1995). In 2005, he co-hosted the MOBO awards in the UK.


Coolio performed the theme song for the 1996 TV show Kenan & Kel, entitled "Awww Here It Goes". Coolio also appeared in a one-time role as the host of a pleasure palace in Space: Above and Beyond. He also starred in an episode of The Bill, as well as in an episodes of Sabrina the Teenage Witch and The Nanny where he played the nephew of Ray Charles' character.

In 2001, he was a special guest on Beat the Geeks; he lost. In 2002 Coolio guest starred in the hit series Charmed, as a Lazarus demon, in the episode Marry Go Round. He played himself in the episode Coolio Runnings of the animated comedy Duckman. He also voiced Kwanzaa-bot, a character featured in the "A Tale of Two Santas" episode of Futurama. In fact, according to the DVD commentary, the producers of Futurama were so impressed by his range of voices, that they said he could do voice-over work professionally. Coolio reprised the character for the direct-to-DVD feature Bender's Big Score.

In 2002, Coolio was a contestant on Celebrity Fear Factor. During the third round, he referred to himself as "El Cool Magnifico" (which would become the title of his fourth studio album). That same year, he appeared on Celebrity Bootcamp and won. Coolio starred in the 2003 made-for-TV movie Dracula 3000, in which he played a space-faring stoner named 187, and the feature film Exposed, in which he played a rapper named "Bigg Heat". Coolio played the role of US Navy sailor Franky in the 2004 Croatianmarker film A Wonderful Night in Split. In 2004 he participated in the German Comeback Show where he finished as third behind Chris Norman and Benjamin Boyce.He made another television movie appearance in 2005 as a military officer in the horror film Pterodactyl. That year, he also appeared i Joey on the episode "Joey and the Poker." Twice in 2006,

In 2008, Coolio hosted an online cooking show (or video podcast), Cookin' with Coolio, for the website and network My Damn Channel.

Cookin' with Coolio was such a hit, Coolio is releasing a cookbook called Cookin' with Coolio: 5 Star Meals at a 1 Star Price on November 17, 2009. The book's publisher is Simon and Schuster.

Coolio stars with his family in the Oxygen cable television network's reality show Coolio's Rules, scheduled to premiere October 28, 2008. The show follows Coolio as he tries to balance raising a family, starting a new catering business, and dating.

On January 2, 2009, he entered the Celebrity Big Brother 2009 house, alongside fellow Americans La Toya Jackson and Verne Troyer. He was a controversial figure, and polarised opinion amongst fans of the show. He was accused by some of making offensive jokes and comments, both of a racist and sexist nature. Ofcommarker received some official complaints regarding the matter but did not launch an official inquiry. In particular Michelle Heaton cried numerous times and claimed that Coolio's constant hints that there was a relationship between her and Ben Adams was the cause. However some viewers considered his comments to be harmless and found his playful actions not only entertaining but a highlight of the show. One of his most notable moments was an emotional response to the inauguration of Barack Obama. On Friday 23 January 9:30 UK time he finished third in the Celebrity Big Brother final.

In January 2009, Coolio worked with David Faustino (Bud Bundy from Married with Children) for an episode of Faustino's show Star-ving - Faustino's ex-wife is living with Coolio.

On February 24, 2009, Coolio appeared on Channel Five in the UK to discuss Barack Obama's election, stating that he would "take a bullet" for the President. He also spoke of his love for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Coolio has also appeared in the online series 'Man in the Box', which also stars Mike Polk along with a cast of Cleveland comedians.

He appeared alongside Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner and Jon Favreau in the director's cut version of Daredevil, where he played a kindhearted man who was accused of murder. This partwas cut out of the theatrical release but restored in the director's cut.

Pop culture references

  • His song "Gangsta's Paradise" uses sampling from Stevie Wonder's Pastime Paradise and was parodied by "Weird Al" Yankovic as "Amish Paradise" in 1996.
  • In the Twisted Metal 2 video game for the PlayStation gaming console, he appeared in a billboard.
  • In the television show 30 Rock, Tracy Jordan states that the Black crusaders wanted him to disappear "just like Coolio" to which Liz Lemon responds "Coolio's still around".
  • Commenting on the criminal record of Ol' Dirty Bastard, Chris Rock asserts in his 1999 spoken word song, "No Sex (In the Champagne Room)", that "ODB couldn't have possibly committed all those crimes. Coolio did some of that shit."
  • Ska punk band Patent Pending mentions Coolio several times in their song "The Website Is Under Construction," singing "Where the hell is Coolio tonight?"
  • The band Andrew Vincent and the Pirates mentions Coolio in its song 'Girlfriend's Dog', singing "She calls him Frank, but I've been calling him Coolio."
  • In the song "Go To Church" from Ice Cube's "Laugh Now, Cry Later" album, rapper Snoop Dogg mentions Coolio, he also appears briefly in the video.
  • Snoop Dogg also mentions Coolio in his song Doggy Dogg World in the lines It's like everywhere I look, and everywhere I go, I'm hearin' motherfuckers tryin' to steal my flow, but it ain't no thang 'cause see my nigga Coolio, put me up on the game when I step through the do'.
  • In the children's computer game DinoPark Tycoon, Coolio appears in the crowd of guests at the player's Dino Park.
  • In the UK TV series Benidorm, the character Chantelle names her baby Coolio after it looked exactly like Coolio.
  • In Irish television soap opera Fair City, the character Sarah Malloy often refers to her childhood crush on Coolio, and what would have happened if she had pursued her dream of moving to California in order to meet him.
  • RTÉ 2fm's The Colm & Jim-Jim Breakfast Show regularly claim with their tongue curled around inside their cheek that Coolio is dead. (He isn't.)
  • In the 1995 film Clueless , Coolio's song "Rollin' With the Homies" is mentioned in several scenes.
  • Post-Hardcore group In Fear and Faith covered "Gangsta's Paradise" in 2009.
  • In the movie "Phat Beach", Benny doesn't think he is going to get a room because the guy beside him is Coolio and his best friend doesn't know who he is.

Personal life

On Celebrity Big Brother 2009 2009 Coolio talked about his 6 children by 4 different relationships, including a daughter born on January 21, 1987.

On June 10, 2008 Coolio was taken into custody after being pulled over by police in Hollywood. He was arrested for an outstanding warrant related to a 2001 suspended license incident and released on a $10,000 bail.

Coolio and jazz saxophonist Jarez were enlisted in July 2008 as spokespersons by the group Environmental Justice and Climate Change to educate students at historically black colleges and universities about global warming.

On February 25 2009, Coolio performed at Staffordshire University in Stoke-on-Trent, England. When he attempted a stage dive during a performance, the crowd parted. The crowd mugged him, stealing his watch, gold chain, sunglasses and one shoe. A bartender who witnessed the incident said the mugging was triggered by Coolio landing heavily on a girl. He was finally rescued by security who managed to push him back up on stage.

On March 10, 2009, Coolio was arrested at Los Angeles International Airportmarker after an undisclosed quantity of crack cocaine and a crack pipe were discovered in his luggage. He was charged with a felony for possession of the drug, a misdemeanour for possession of drug paraphernalia, and battery, for attempting to physically prevent the search of his luggage. He was due to perform in Brisbanemarker, Melbournemarker and Sydneymarker in Australia the following week but the tour was subsequently cancelled. He was released on $10,000 bail and pleaded not guilty at an April 3, 2009 arraignment. On June 26 under a plea bargain arrangement he agreed to enter a drug rehabilitation program for 18 months. In return for his guilty plea, the charges of battery and possession of a smoking device were dropped.


Selected Filmography

Coolio has made numerous appearances in television and movies, mostly small roles or cameos.

Awards and nominations

Coolio's 1995 song "Gangsta's Paradise" received several awards, including Best Rap Solo Performance at the Grammy Awards; and Best Rap Video and Best Video from a Film at the MTV Video Music Awards. Coolio himself has received several awards, including Favorite Rap/Hip Hop Artist at the American Music Awards in 1996. At the Grammy Awards in 1997, Coolio received three nominations: Best Rap Album for Gangsta's Paradise, Best Rap Solo Performance for "1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin' New)", and Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group for "Stomp". Overall, Coolio has received five awards from thirteen nominations.

American Music Awards

The American Music Awards is an annual awards ceremony created by Dick Clark in 1973. Coolio has received one award from two nominations.

Coolio Favorite Rap/Hip Hop Artist
Coolio Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist

Grammy Awards

The Grammy Awards are awarded annually by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States. Coolio has received one award from six nominations.

"Fantastic Voyage" Best Rap Solo Performance
"Gangsta's Paradise" Best Rap Solo Performance
Record of the Year
Gangsta's Paradise Best Rap Album
"1, 2, 3, 4 " Best Rap Solo Performance
"Stomp" Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group

MTV Video Music Awards

The MTV Video Music Awards is an annual awards ceremony established in 1984 by MTV. Coolio has received three awards from five nominations.

"Fantastic Voyage" Best Rap Video
"Gangsta's Paradise" Best Rap Video
Best Video from a Film
"1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin' New)" Best Dance Video
Best Male Video


  3. Billboard: Artist Chart History - Coolio
  6. NBC Fear Factor
  7. My Damn Channel: Cookin' With Coolio "Coolio Caprese Salad"
  8. [1]
  9. Oxygen Networks: Coolio Rules
  10. Big Brother
  12. [2]
  13. Big Brother
  14. EJCC Enlist Coolio and Jarez to Launch Green Campaign
  15. News Article Regarding the Event
  17. Coolio Pleads Innocent Yahoo News, April 3, 2009

External links

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