|Date of Birth
||1 August 1963
|Place of Birth
||Compton, California, USA
Before becoming addicted to crack cocaine, Coolio briefly joined the group WC and the Maad Circle, released the group’s single “Ain’t a Damn Thang Changed” (1991) and pursued a solo career with the single “Watcha Gonna Do.”
After kicking his coke habit, Coolio returned to rap and wrote the song “Quick Way Out,” which was later used for the movie Trespass (1992). Two years later, he released the solo album It Takes a Thief (1994) and earned nationwide fame with the hit single “Fantastic Voyage.” Furthermore, the single was then nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance and an MTV Video Music award for Best Rap Video. His next song, “I Remember,” appeared in Double Dragon (1994), whereas his “Dial a Jam” was heard in The Jerky Boys (1995).
Coolio immediately enjoyed massive success after recording the single “Gangsta’s Paradise” (1995), from Stevie Wonder’s “Pastime Paradise” (in the album Songs in the Key of Life). The track, which Tommy Boy Records’ executives put in the biopic movie Dangerous Minds (1995), later became the first rap single to sell over a million copies in the UK and was then given a Grammy, two Billboard Music awards, two MTV Video Music awards, an MTV Movie award and an ASCAP award. In addition, “Gangsta’s Paradise” was nominated for another Grammy.
Coolio, who had a brief dispute with comedian ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic for parodying “Gangsta’s Paradise,” appeared as a gangster in an episode of the sitcom “The Parent ‘Hood” (1995). He was also seen in the comedy movie Dear God (1996, played Gerard) and the box-office movie Batman & Robin (1997, as the banker). Working with a movie soundtrack, the rapper contributed “It’s All The Way Live (Now)” for the Whoopi Goldberg-starring flopped film Eddie (1996), as well as composed the theme song for the series “Kenan & Kel” (1996).
Continuing his success, Coolio gained praise for the track “1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin’ New)” (1996), collecting an MTV Video Music award for Best Dance Video and an MTV Video Music award nomination for Best Male Video. The hip-hop artist multiplied his fame after releasing his next signature single, “C U When U Get There,” from the album My Soul (1997). “C U When U Get There,” featured in Martin Lawrence’s film Nothing to Lose (1997), later received a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Performance. My Soul next burned the charts with the track “Hit ‘Em High (The Monstars’ Anthem)” (1997) and “Ooh La La” (1998).
On screen, the hip-hopper was cast as Lieutenant Gil Suggs in the TV movie On the Line (1998) and had the multiple role of Tyrone/Jerome/Cherone in the low budget film Tyrone (1999). He continued taking on more screen roles, including Officer Starkey in Mike Mendez’ The Convent (2000), Kwanzaa-bot in the animated series “Futurama” (2001, voiced) and Lazarus Demon in an episode of “Charmed” (2002).
Leaving Tommy Boy Records, Coolio set up the label Crowbar Records and worked with the music bigwig Kenny Rogers for the album El Cool Magnifico (2002). However, the recording did not sell well and its single, “I Don’t Wanna Die” (featuring Krayzie Bone) missed the charts.
Coolio turned to the movie industry and carried out the role of Dante Jackson in the comic book adaptation Daredevil (2003). His role ended up on the cutting floor but still emerged in the movie’s trailers and the 2004 Director’s Cut. The artist also took part in little-seen projects like the TV horror Dracula 3000 (2004, as 187), the adventure movie Pterodactyl (2005, played Captain Bergen) and the comedy drama Grad Night (2006, starred as Michael Adkins). In 2006, Coolio will also be seen as Master Flow in the upcoming romantic comedy Retirement.
Coolio, who has previously collaborated with 2Pac, The Notorious B.I.G., Busta Rhymes, Method Man, LL Cool J, B-Real, Redman, and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, is now managed by Italian producer Giovanni Giorgilli. Their first project together was the recent release “Gangsta Walk” (featuring Snoop Dogg, 2006).