Grammy-winning Rapper, Artis Leon Ivey Jr. a.k.a Coolio known for his iconic hit ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’, has died at the age of 59.
Coolio’s friend and long-standing manager Jarez Posey told TMZ that Coolio was found unresponsive in the bathroom of a friend’s house on Wednesday afternoon. No cause was given.
Coolio achieved mainstream superstardom and critical success with his biggest hit, “Gangsta’s Paradise,” in 1995. The grim, minor-key track featuring the singer L.V. spent three weeks atop Billboard’s Hot 100 and was named the chart’s No. 1 song of the year.
It won the Grammy for best rap solo performance in 1996 and was later certified triple-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, outshining the movie it was featured in, the high school drama “Dangerous Minds.”
Coolio’s other hits included “Fantastic Voyage” — the opening song on his debut album, “It Takes a Thief,” from 1994 — and “1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin’ New)” from the “Gangsta’s Paradise” album the following year, both of which were nominated for Grammys. “C U When U Get There,” which samples Pachelbel’s “Canon in D Major,” was a standout track on his third album, “My Soul,” from 1997.
But nothing could match the success of “Gangsta’s Paradise,” a song that, with its piercing production and ominous background vocals, became instantly distinguishable for millions of ’90s rap fans, especially with a memorable opening verse based on Psalm 23:
“As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I take a look at my life and realize there’s nothin’ left.”