Remembering Coolio: 1963-2022

in Culture

Grammy Award-winning artist and rap legend Coolio, 59, died on Wednesday, September 28 under unknown circumstances. He leaves behind six children.

Within hours, TMZ reported his death. “We are saddened by the loss of our dear friend and client, Coolio, who passed away Wednesday afternoon,” Coolio’s talent manager Sheila Finegan told TMZ. “He touched the world with the gift of his talent and will be missed profoundly. Please have Coolio’s loved ones in your thoughts and prayers.”

Law enforcement indicated that no signs of foul play nor any drug paraphernalia was found on the premises. Coolio’s manager Jarez said that Coolio went into the bathroom and never came out that afternoon, which is what led to the police call. Initial reports suggest it could be death by cardiac arrest.

Perhaps one of the most astonishing achievements of Coolio’s career was his hit “Gangsta’s Paradise,” The New York Times reports. While Coolio heavily sampled Stevie Wonder’s “Pastime Paradise” from his 1976 album Songs in the Key of Life, Coolio’s version was far more commercially successful.

“Gangsta’s Paradise” was the number one best-selling single of any song recorded in 1995 on U.S. Billboard chart. It hit the number one spot in 14 countries and was one of the longest-running singles to top the chart in decades. It was boosted by its appearance in the 1995 film Dangerous Minds, won a Grammy Award, and led to a “Weird Al” Yankovic parody. However, Coolio claims that he never gave Yankovic permission to parody his song.

Coolio’s hit “Fantastic Voyage,” sampling Lakeside, also charted high and was in heavy rotation on MTV in the 1990s. Chrysler banked on the single and music video and released their own commercial versions.

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Author: Benjamin M. Adams / High Times

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