RAPPER Coolio overcame intense battles with poverty and drug addiction during his inspiring rise to fame.
Legendary rapper Gangsta Paradise experienced remarkable struggle and success before a friend reportedly discovered him dead at the age of 59, his longtime manager said Wednesday.
Coleo, whose real name is Artis Leon Ivy Jr., was born on August 1, 1963, in the South Central Compton area.
The future rapper started out as a very smart book kid until he started looking for ways to better suit school.
After his parents divorced when he was 11, he became involved with Baby Crips and developed a threatening behavior to better assert himself, according to a biography written by Steve Huey.
Coolio turned violent, brought guns to school, and ruined his once-promising school life.
When he transferred from high school to a local community college, the Compton kid started performing in rap competitions where he gained some fame.
In these competitions, someone called him Coleo Iglesias, and the name stuck.
He became a regular on a Los Angeles radio station and released his first single, Watcha Gonna Do.
Unfortunately, his first taste of fame didn’t last after the rapper got into a serious drug problem.
Coolio checked himself into a rehab center for cocaine addiction to straighten himself out and even started working as a firefighter in Northern California, Personal Biography is reading.
A year later, he returned to Los Angeles where he began doing some of his most famous work.
After making connections and appearing on albums with fellow rappers, Collio released his debut album It Takes a Thief in 1994.
The track Fantastic Voyage helped launch the album into the top ten and surpass the platinum sales mark.
Critics and listeners celebrated Coolio for taking a more subtle approach to a musical genre dominated by West Coast gansta sound.
Just a year after gaining some fame with his new album, Coolio released his most successful single of Gansta’s Paradise history.
The rapper shocked fans with his agonizing critique of gang life that he demanded to be played back on radios across America.
Gansta’s Paradise album, released in 1995, went triple platinum, eventually earning a Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance.
However, the success was short-lived as his third album of 1997 barely scrapped the top 40 chart and Coolio fell back into bad habits.
In late 1997, he got into law when he and seven friends were arrested for allegedly stealing from a German clothing store.
The German government sentenced him to six months in prison and a $17,000 fine after the accident.
The following summer, Coolio was arrested again for driving on the wrong side of the road.
He was also charged with carrying a concealed weapon and possessing a small amount of marijuana.