Coolio's debut LP, It Takes A Thief, was released in 1994 and spawned the Top 10 hit "Fantastic Voyage." The songs was a big hit with MTV viewers, hip hop listeners, and even pop music fans. To many, Coolio was a nice diversion from the gangsta rap scene. In 1995, Coolio hit Number 1 with a song from the movie, Dangerous Minds: "Gangsta's Paradise." The award winning song reiterated many of the sentiments of street-life, with a strong message, yet without the vulgarity. Coolio demonstrated that you could have a successful rap LP without a parental sticker label on the cover. Coolio's LP, Gangsta's Paradise went Top 10, and had the additional Top 10 hit: "1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin' New)" and "Too Hot," a song about safe sex and AIDS. In 1996, Coolio won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance, Solo for "Gangsta's Paradise." In 1997, Coolio's "1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin' New)" was nominated for Best Rap Solo Performance, and the LP, Gangsta's Paradise was nominated for Best Rap Album.
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Coolio was born in California in August 1, 1963. Coolio (Artis Ivey) began rapping when he was still in high school in the late 70s. After finishing public school Coolio enrolled at Compton Community College, where he was able to concentrate his attention on music.
Coolio got his name during a snapping session, when he was wearing a western shirt and playing a guitar while singing a song; someone asked "Who do you think you are, Coolio Iglesias?"
Coolio was able to avoid being swept up by a gang (the Crips in Los Angeles), in his own words, "When you lived in the hood, you had to be down, or you'd get beaten down. I'm not a gangsta. I'm a hustler. I ain't no gangsta, never been no gangsta. I'm a hustler and a ghetto politician; also, a ghetto witch doctor."
Coolio's debut LP, It Takes A Thief, was released in 1994 containing the Top 10 hit "Fantastic Voyage." The songs was a big hit with MTV viewers, hip hop listeners, and even pop music fans. To many, Coolio break from the hard-core gangsta rap scene. "Fantastic Voyage" introduced Coolio's rapping style with an easy-going party video.
Coolio hit Number 1 in 1995 with "Gangsta's Paradise" a song from the Michelle Pfeiffer movie, Dangerous Minds. The song dealt with issues of the street head on, yet without the rough language that would limit its radio play.
In 1996, Coolio won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance, Solo for "Gangsta's Paradise."
"We need to represent ourselves. If you're doing something to help your people to make it better, you're trying to make it better for society as a whole because we're all in this together."
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