Rappers compete in one of the most competitive music genres. Nonetheless, the late Coolio stood out from the pack with his distinct vocal delivery and propensity for crossover songs.
Coolio was even one of the first rappers whose songs were mocked by “Weird Al” Yankovic, demonstrating his broad reach and cultural significance. But what was Coolio’s real name, and where did his slick stage name come from?
Coolio Rose to Notoriety in the 1990s as a Rapper
“Gangsta’s Paradise” is arguably the song most Coolio fans connect with the late rapper. The song became a hit after being included on the 1995 film Dangerous Minds soundtrack, starring Michelle Pfeiffer. Pfeiffer also appears alongside Coolio in the song’s music video, featuring R&B artist L.V. shouting out the chorus.
However, “Gangsta’s Paradise” was not Coolio’s first big song. That award was bestowed upon the rapper the previous year when his debut album, It Takes a Thief, debuted at the top of the charts. Coolio’s first hit single, “Fantastic Voyage,” is included in that collection.
Although “Gangsta’s Paradise” became the title track of Coolio’s second album due to its No. 1 position, his career has included several more studio albums released as late as 2009.
Many People are Familiar with Coolio’s Stage Name But Are Unaware of its Origin
According to Black Names Project, Coolio (real name Artis Leon Ivey Jr.) was dubbed “Boo” while he was a high school student. However, the nickname “Coolio” stuck after a friend playfully called him “Coolio Iglesias,” a play on the name of Latin artist Julio Iglesias.
When Ivey first started rapping, his moniker aptly described his charisma onstage.
The name “Coolio” would work well with the rapper’s silky delivery. Given the successful trajectory of his career, he had every right to accept it fully. Coolio won the Best Rap Solo Performance Grammy for “Gangsta’s Paradise” that year.
59-Year-Old Coolio Passed Away on September 28, 2022
On September 28, 2022, a horrible accident claimed Coolio’s life. The inquiry into his death is underway; hence the cause of death is currently unknown. Coolio may no longer be physically present among us, but his impact will endure. His most famous hits include “Gangsta’s Paradise,” “Fantastic Voyage,” and “1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin’ New),” all of which were released in 1996.
Coolio’s streams rocket in the week following his death and his biggest hit re-enters multiple charts. https://t.co/hKgvUYEFkh
— billboard (@billboard) October 8, 2022
His eight studio albums and numerous chart-topping singles live on for his devoted following. A $1.5 million fortune was said to have been in the rapper’s possession.
As of 1996, all of his albums were self-released. Recently, Coolio launched a food-related web series called Cookin’ with Coolio. Aside from that, he sang the theme song for the hit Nickelodeon series Kenan & Kel, which aired from 1996 to 2000.
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