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Born in 1963, Artis Leon Alvey Jr. (Coolio) is a multi-talented entertainer from Compton, California. Most popular for his rap albums, Coolio is an amateur chef, actor and music producer. The artist exploded in the 1990s becoming one of the most influential artists of the decade. Similar acts include Snoop Dogg, Xzhibit, Warren G, and Naughty by Nature. Coolio’s style represents the hard streets of LA with powerful lyrics and catchy beats.
In the early 90s, the rapper began performing in the local Los Angeles area. After a few collaborations, he signed with Tommy Boy Records and began work on his first album. It Takes a Thief released in 1994 and garnered much commercial and critical acclaim. His smashing single “Fantastic Voyage,” started his path towards success and notoriety. The song topped billboard charts and gained respect from the television network MTV.
In 1995, the stars aligned for the rising rap artist. After being asked to record a song for the film Dangerous Minds, Coolie hit the studio and began work. The result was the hugely successful single “Gangsta’s Paradise,” which captivated audiences of all genres. No other song in 1995 stayed on the charts longer than Coolio’s album, which led to 2 million copies sold. The album also featured two more singles that did well on mainstream rap radios. Later, the record became an international success making him popular in Australia and Europe. In 1996, the rapper worked on a collaboration album to raise AIDs awareness.
One year later, Coolio dropped his next album, My Soul. The record sold over 2 million copies; yet, failed to equal his previous success. It received mix reviews; however, did well with the fans. Although it didn’t do that bad, Tommy Boy dropped the rapper from their label. Since, Coolio released three different albums that have failed to gain any recognition. The rapper has taken on alternative endeavors and performed with artist of different genres including, Insane Clown Posse. Coolio’s most recent projects include appearances on Wife Swap and Celebrity Cook Off. He is currently on a worldwide tour with notable stops in Santiago, Chile and Sydney, Australia.