Musicians and celebrities are paying tribute to Coolio, the late rap star who was behind one of hip-hop’s greatest hits, and whose own moniker would become shorthand for a good result.
According to reports, Coolio was found dead on the bathroom floor at his friend’s house on Wednesday (Sept. 28). First responders initially suspect that he suffered cardiac arrest, however, at the time of writing, an official cause of death has yet to be determined.
The U.S. artist (real name Artis Leon Ivey Jr.) landed one of the all-time hip-hop standouts with “Gangsta’s Paradise,” a song that which interpolates Stevie Wonder’s 1976 song “Pastime Paradise” and featured in the Michelle Pfeiffer-starring film from 1995, Dangerous Minds.
“Gangsta’s Paradise” was no run-of-the-mill hit. It went supernova, everywhere. In Australia, the single led the national ARIA Chart for an unbroken 13 weeks in 1995 – a streak that stood until Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” ruled the survey for 14 straight weeks following its release in 2017.
The enduring nature of the song was confirmed when, in July of this year, “Gangsta’s Paradise” joined YouTube’s one billion views club.
The official music video scooped the best rap video category at the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards, the same year it was crowned the best-selling single on Billboard‘s year-end Billboard Hot 100 chart after spending 12 weeks in the top two positions; it logged a total of 62 weeks on the chart, including 3 at No. 1 and 11 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard‘s hot rap songs tally.
The track, one of Coolio’s six hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, would go on to win the Billboard Music Award for single of the year, and a Grammy Award for best rap solo performance.
If everything in your life was “coolio” in the 1990s, you were doing just fine.
Tributes are pouring in for Coolio, including messages from the likes of Questlove, Ice Cube and Weird Al Yankovic, who parodied “Gangsta’s Paradise” with “Amish Paradise.”
Check out some of the reaction below.
“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. 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.”
Jen Pearce, Casual:
“We are honored to be a part of Coolio’s musical family. 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.”