Photo: Timothy Krause

Hip Hop Legend Coolio: Dead At 59

Born Leon Ivey Jr. Coolio was found dead on the bathroom floor at his friend’s house on Wednesday (Sept. 28) in Los Angeles, California. He was 59 years old.

Though the paramedics on scene originally suspect that the legendary rap star suffered cardiac arrest, an official cause of death has yet to be determined. 

Throughout his career Coolio secured six hits on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart, including the #1 single “Gangsta’s Paradise,” featuring L.V, from the film Dangerous Minds featuring Michelle Phiffer. The collaboration enjoyed three weeks atop the list in 1995 and finished as that year’s #1 song on the Hot 100. It also ruled the Hot Rap Songs list for 11 consecutive weeks and the track went on to win the Billboard Music Award for single of the year, and a Grammy Award for best rap solo performance. In 2021, “Gangsta’s Paradise” ranked among the 100 Greatest of All Time Hot 100 Songs.

All five of Coolio’s other Hot 100 hits broke Billboard’s Top 40, including his breakthrough single, “Fantastic Voyage,” which peaked at #3 in 1994, “1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin’ New)” went to #5 in 1996, and on the Billboard 200 albums chart, the musician secured a trio of entries, including two Top10’s with It Takes a Thief peaking at #8 in 1994, and Gangsta’s Paradise, that peaked at #9 1996.

In addition to his musical accomplishments, Coolio also had a television career, making guest appearances in shows like Sabrina the Teenage WitchBlack JesusAll ThatThe Nanny and Futurama, and he also took part in a number of competition shows such as Fear Factor and Rachael vs Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off.

Following the news of his premature passing, several celebrities took to social media to address te hip-hop great’s death.

“Peaceful Journey Brother,” Questlove wrote, while Hot Ones host Sean Evans shared, “First CD I ever bought in my life and the most legendary Wing 10 Last Dab these eyes have ever seen.”

“We are honored to be a part of Coolio’s musical family,” Casual’s Jen Pearce wrote in a statement to Billboard. “Coolio is a legend who has inspired a generation of artists to unapologetically share their visions with the world. We are beyond grateful Coolio shared his talents with us, and at the same time, we are extremely saddened to be a bookend on his amazing musical journey.”

Those comments were echoed by Los Angeles artist Teddi Gold, who worked with the rapper. “I have an immense amount of gratitude and love for Coolio. His musicianship, big heart, sense of humor, and loyalty to his friends and family were the light he shared with the world,” comments Gold. “As somebody whose music I grew up listening to, the opportunity Coolio gave me to record and perform with him was a life changing experience I will carry with me forever. I send every ounce of love I have to his family and friends at this time.”

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Author: Al Denté

Photo: Timothy Krause