Gangsta’s Paradise rapper Coolio dies aged 59 – Boston News, Weather, Sports

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Coolio, the rapper who was among the biggest hip-hop names of the 1990s with hits like “Gangsta’s Paradise” and “Fantastic Voyage,” died Wednesday at the age of 59, his manager said.

Coolio, whose real name was Artis Leon Ivey Jr., died at a friend’s Los Angeles home, longtime manager Jarez Posey told The Associated Press. The cause was not immediately clear.

Coolio won a Grammy for Best Solo Rap Performance for “Gangsta’s Paradise,” the 1995 hit from the soundtrack of the Michelle Pfeiffer film “Dangerous Minds,” which sampled Stevie Wonder’s 1976 song “Pastime Paradise.”

During his career, which began in the late 1980s, he was nominated for five more Grammys.

Born in Monessen, Pennsylvania just south of Pittsburgh, Coolio moved to Compton, California where he attended community college. He worked as a volunteer firefighter and in airport security before turning to the hip-hop scene full-time.

His career began in 1994 with the release of his debut album It Takes a Thief on Tommy Boy Records. Its opener “Fantastic Voyage” would reach #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

A year later, “Gangsta’s Paradise” became the #1 single with its somber opening lyrics:

“As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I take one look at my life and realize there isn’t much left because I’ve been banging and laughing for so long even my mom thinks my mind is gone.”

Social media lit up with reactions to the unexpected death.

“This is sad news,” Ice Cube said on Twitter. “I’ve witnessed firsthand this man’s journey to the top of the industry. Rest in peace @Coolio.”

“Peaceful Journey Brother” Questlove tweeted.

(Copyright (c) 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed.)

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Nate Jones

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