Coolio passed away yesterday at the too-young age of 59. The exact cause of death is not known at this time; he’d gone into the bathroom of a friend’s house and was later found on the floor unresponsive. His manager stated that he believed it was a heart attack.
Coolio is best known for the songs “Gangsta’s Paradise” — which won a Grammy and was Billboard’s most popular song of 1995 — and “Fantastic Voyage.” “[‘Fantastic Voyage’] was the one that made the hood like me,” he told Rolling Stone in 2017. “‘Gangsta’s Paradise’— that was the one that made white people like me.”
Personally, I always had a soft spot for “Rollin’ with my Homies” from the Clueless soundtrack.
Born as Artis Leon Ivey Jr. in Compton, ’90s kids also grew up hearing his theme song for Kenan and Kel. He’s made a number of other film and television appearances, and he also devoted much of his time to educating students at HBCs about global warming.
Coolio was also famously displeased with Weird Al Yankovic for parodying “Gangsta’s Paradise,” initially rejecting Weird Al, although in 2011, he’d recount that as a huge professional error. “I sat down, and I really thought it out,” he told the students at IPR. “I was like, ‘Wait a minute.’ I was like, ‘Coolio, who the f**k do you think you are? He did Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson didn’t get mad,’” he told students at the Institute Of Production& Recording. “I was being too magnificent and too terrific about myself and that’s not what you want to do.”
Coolio later apologized to Weird Al, telling him “that was one of the dumbest things I did in my career.” Weird Al, in turn, honored Coolio’s memory after his passing on Twitter last night with a remarkable image.
RIP Coolio pic.twitter.com/Z53f3n6HDU— Al Yankovic (@alyankovic) September 29, 2022
Coolio, who sold 17 million albums, leaves behind six children. Wherever he is now, I hope he’s rollin’ with his homies. RIP Coolio.