Artis Leon Ivey Jr., known by his stage name Coolio, is an American rapper, actor, chef, and record producer.
Coolio achieved mainstream success in the mid-to-late 1990s with his albums It Takes a Thief, Gangsta’s Paradise, and My Soul.
He is best known for his 1995 Grammy Award-winning hit single “Gangsta’s Paradise”, as well as other singles “Fantastic Voyage” (1994), “1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin’ New)” (1996) and “C U When U Get There” (1997).
- Full name: Artis Leon Ivey Jr.
- Born: 1 August 1963, Compton, California, United States
- Profession: American rapper
- Spouse: Josefa Salinas (m. 1996–2000)
- Children: Grtis Ivey, Artisha Ivey, Brandi Ivey, Zhaneand Ivey
- Albums: Gangsta’s Paradise, My Soul, It Takes a Thief
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Coolio was born on 1 August 1963 in Compton, California, United States.
After attending Compton Community College, he worked in jobs such as volunteer firefighting and security at the Los Angeles International Airport, before becoming a rapper.
He recorded his first single in 1987, titled “Whatcha Gonna Do?”. He also recorded “What Makes You Dance (Force Groove)” with Nu-Skool in 1988.
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 was a co-contributor on the group’s debut album Ain’t a Damn Thang Changed, including on the single “Dress Code”. The album was regionally successful.
He was also known for rapping the theme song for the mid-to-late 1990s Nickelodeon series Kenan & Kel.
Coolio has since gone on to release albums independently and has also become a chef, creating a web series titled Cookin’ with Coolio and releasing a cookbook.
Ivey originally rose to fame as a member of the Gangsta rap group WC and the Maad Circle alongside WC and his brother, Crazy Toones.