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Coolio Biography

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Birth Name: Artis Leon Ivey, Jr.
Born: 1963/08/01
Birth Place: Monessen, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Years Active: 1990–present
Genres: West Coast Hip Hop, Gangsta Rap, G-funk

Artis Leon Ivey, Jr. (born August 1, 1963), better known by the stage name Coolio, is an American rapper, musician and actor. He was born in Monessen, Pennsylvania and later moved to Compton, California.

He recorded two singles in the late 80s, titled "Watcha Gonna Do" and "You're Gonna Miss Me". Neither single was successful, but Coolio had made connections in the Los Angeles rap scene, and ended up joining the group WC and the Maad Circle in 1991.

Three years later in 1994 Coolio signed to Tommy Boy Records and released his debut solo album, “It Takes a Thief.” The album contained the single "Fantastic Voyage" which became Coolio's breakout song. It peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it one of the biggest rap singles of the year. The album also contained a few minor hits in "County Line" and "I Remember". Overall the album was very successful peaking at #8 on the Billboard Hot 200 and being certified Platinum.

After the success of his debut Coolio became a legitimate rap star. In 1995 he made a song for the movie “Dangerous Minds,” and this song became "Gangsta's Paradise". "Gangsta's Paradise", which featured R&B singer L.V., would became one of the most successful rap songs of all time, reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 3 weeks. It was the #1 single of 1995 for all genres, and was a truly global hit, as it reached #1 in the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Austria, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Australia, and New Zealand. At the 1996 Grammy Awards the song won Coolio a Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance.

The album “Gangsta's Paradise” was released in 1995 and with the mega-hit was certified 2X Platinum by the RIAA. The album also contained two other major hits in "1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin' New)" and "Too Hot". Despite no longer being an official member of the group, Coolio also made an appearance on the second WC and the Maad Circle album, “Curb Servin',” on the song "In a Twist". In 1996 Coolio had another top 40 hit with the song "It's All the Way Live (Now)" from the soundtrack to the movie “Eddie.”

His third solo album, titled “My Soul” came out in 1996. Although it did contain the major hit "C U When U Get There", the album was considered a disappointment and failed to reach the success of his previous two albums. Subsequently Coolio was dropped from Tommy Boy Records and his albums since then, 2001's “,” 2003's “El Cool Magnifico,” 2006's “Return of the Gangsta,” and 2008's “Steal Hear” have not been as successful, as none has charted on any Billboard chart. He did have a minor hit in the UK in 2006 however in "Gangsta Walk" (featuring Snoop Dogg) which peaked at #67 on the UK pop chart.