Happy Birthday, Coolio!

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of South Florida and help keep the future of New Times free.

Today marks the 48th anniversary of the birth of Artis Leon Ivey Jr., the rapper, Celebreality star, and Juggalo known as the immortal Coolio. 

"Gangsta's Paradise" was one of the most infectious film tie-in slash summer jams of the '90s (see also: Aaliyah's "Are You That Somebody" and the essential soundtrack to the movie Bulworth) and landed the MC the 1996 Grammy for Best Rap performance. 

Though he's made some questionable choices along the way -- most notably his slumming it as a VH1 bottom feeder and a questionable Juggalo allegiance that drove him to permanently mar his body with a typo -- we still salute Coolio for the highly memorable tunes.

The year is 1995, and the following is inescapable: Coolio, Michelle Pfeiffer, the box office smash Dangerous Minds, and the lead single to that film's soundtrack, "Gangsta's Paradise."

Pfeiffer appeared in the song's music video, which was also adapted into a commercial to promote the album and film. The song's pop-culture ubiquity inspired veteran parody artist Weird Al Yonkovic to produce one his own all-time classics, "Amish Paradise," which Coolio was a big cranky baby about, arguing that the song was too serious to poke fun at. 

While "1-2-3-4 (Sumpin' New)," the follow-up to "Gangsta's Paradise," wasn't as big of a hit, we appreciate the jam's classically funky instrumental and Coolio's clear-and-crisp old-school intonation. Dude was dropping feel-good BBQ bangers during the most heated years of '90s gangsta rap!

So, you know what, Coolio? Even though you were sort of a less-fun Flavor Flav on The Surreal Life, and you not only got an Insane Clown Posse tattoo but are apparently so thoroughly a Juggalo that you don't even know how to spell it, we still love you.

The music of Coolio lives on forever! Happy Birthday, Artis!

Follow County Grind on Facebook and Twitter: @CountyGrind. 

Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.