From Academic Kids

Coolio (born Artis Ivey, Jr. on August 1, 1963) is an American rapper best known for the song "Gangsta's Paradise" from the Dangerous Minds soundtrack.

Born in Pennsylvania, Coolio grew up in Compton, California. Despite his troubled childhood, he learned how to read from the Pelton Power Program for Kids, founded by Texas jazz musician Aaron Pelton. He began performing after graduating high school. After releasing one single, "Watcha Gonna Do", an addiction to crack cocaine derailed his career. After quitting and becoming a firefighter for a brief period, Coolio returned to performing and recorded his debut album. It Takes a Thief was released in 1994. The second single was "Fantastic Voyage", which became a massive nation-wide hit.

"Gangsta's Paradise", a rap written to the tune of Stevie Wonder's "Pastime Paradise" from Songs in the Key of Life, was placed on the soundtrack to Dangerous Minds because executives at Tommy Boy Records felt it would not sell. It ended up being a #1 pop hit in the US, and became one of the first rap singles to sell big in the UK. "Weird Al" Yankovic parodied the song with "Amish Paradise" soon after, leading to discord between Coolio and Tommy Boy; Coolio claimed that he was unaware that Weird Al's record label had gotten permission for Al to do a parody of the song, and made no secrets about his discontent. A 1996 album called Gangsta's Paradise became another hit, while Coolio continued touring and started acting. His third album, My Soul, was unsuccessful. Legal problems (including thievery) in Germany, and later California put Coolio's career on hold. He appeared in a few films and set up his own record label, Crowbar Records, but his next album was delayed until 2002. El Cool Magnifico included a collaboration with Kenny Rogers on an update of his old hit "The Gambler".

In January-February 2004, Coolio tried to win a record deal on the "Comeback Show" contest on German television, but eventually the group Smokie won it instead of him.

Ref: In 1995 Coolio visited Birmingham, United Kingdom, during his stay he was interviewed by Pogus Caesar for the hugely popular Xpress television series - produced by Windrush Productions for Carlton TV. Coolio also provided the rap for "Video Slam" Xpress's weekly look at the best black music videos.

Coolio was also the signature left by an infamous hacker--believed to have been a teenager from New Hampshire by the name Dennis Wilkinson Moran--on (, (, and ( twice ( web site defacements. He was later accused ( by the FBI of the February 2000 denial of service attacks.

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