The news was confirmed by the rappers longtime manager, Jarez Posey.
A defining voice of the formative era of 90’s hip hop in Coolio, born Artis Leon Ivey Jr., died on Wednesday September 28th. The news was confirmed by the rapper’s manager of more than twenty years, Jarez Posey, that Coolio had passed from causes unknown at a friend’s house at 5:00pm in the evening.
Among the accolades included in summarizing Coolio’s impact on hip hop culture during his tenure, the native of Compton, CA known for his signature hairstyle and enduring 90’s anthem “Gangsta’s Paradise” was regarded as one of the genre’s first crossover sensations – achieving triple platinum certification from the RIAA and tallying Grammy nominations for his latter radio sensations, “Fantastic Voyage” and “1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin’ New)”.
Coolio became synonymous with the wave of hip hop that became ubiquitous via MTV and followed up a Billboard best in show with top song of 1995 with a Grammy trophy in 1996 Best Rap Solo Performance – solidifying his position as a household name and one of the genre’s first stars to earn such notoriety on a mainstream level.
His 1994 debut, It Takes A Thief resonated as a light-hearted, no less authentic portrayal of street grit and gangsta rap swagger. For the success of songs like “Fantastic Voyage” and the 1995 era hits like the Kool & the Gang-sampled “Too Hot”, tracks like “County Line” and “U Know Hoo!” which featured a pre-Westside Connection WC along with his Maad Circle cohorts in Sir Jinx and DJ Crazy Toones – Coolio was among the rare few artists that enjoyed both commercial success in tandem with street level credibility.
Though “Gangsta’s Paradise” and it’s inclusion on the Dangerous Minds soundtrack helped define an era of hip hop, it did not comprise the totality of Coolio’s impact on the culture. More than a footnote of 90’s pop culture, Coolio was among the most respected voices that helped shape the era of gangsta rap and influence a new generation of artists that understood the balance of style, substance, and sincerity.
Rest in power.