Coolio – Gangsta’s Paradise
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Artis Leon Ivey Jr. (born August 1, 1963), known professionally as Coolio, is an American Grammy Award-winning musician, rapper, chef, entrepaneur, software engineer, actor, and record producer. Coolio achieved mainstream success in the mid to late 1990s with his albums It Takes a Thief (1994), Gangsta’s Paradise (1995), and My Soul (1997).
He is best known for his 1995 Grammy winning hit single “Gangsta’s Paradise”, as well as other singles “Fantastic Voyage” (1994), “C U When U Get There” (1997) and “1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin’ New)” (1996).
He was also known for rapping the theme song for the late 1990s Nickelodeon series Kenan & Kel. Coolio has since gone on to release albums independently, as well becoming a chef, creating a web series titled Cookin’ with Coolio and releasing a cookbook.
He recorded two singles in 1987, titled “Watch Gonna Do” and “You’re Gonna Miss Me”. Coolio made connections in the L.A. rap scene, and in 1991, ended up joining the group WC and the Maad Circle, led by rapper WC. He had a few verses on the group’s debut album Ain’t a Damn Thang Changed, including on the single “Dress Code”. The album was regionally successful.
Tommy Boy Records and It Takes a Thief
In 1994, Coolio signed to Tommy Boy Records and released his debut solo album It Takes a Thief. The lead single “Fantastic Voyage” received heavy rotation on MTV, and peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.
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