Coolio, Grammy-Winning ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ Rapper, Dies at 59
Ellise Shafer Coolio, the Grammy-winning rapper, producer and actor best known for his 1995 hit “Gangsta’s Paradise,” has died. He was 59. The rapper’s longtime manager Jarel Posey confirmed the news to Variety, saying that Coolio died around 5 p.m. PT on Wednesday afternoon. According to TMZ, Coolio was found at a friend’s house. Coolio rose to prominence in the Los Angeles rap scene in the ’90s, scoring his big break when he recorded the song “Gangsta’s Paradise” for the 1995 film “Dangerous Minds,” starring Michelle Pfeiffer. It quickly became one of the most popular rap songs of all time, topping the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks and ending 1995 as the No. 1 single of that year in the United States. In 1996, “Gangsta’s Paradise” was nominated for record of the year and best rap solo performance at the Grammy Awards, with Coolio winning the latter. The song was soon spoofed by Weird Al Yankovic, who satirized it as “Amish Paradise,” though Coolio was adamant that he did not give Weird Al permission to do so. However, Coolio has said in interviews that the two later made amends.