Paul Natkin Archive

Source: Paul Natkin / Getty

Coolio, born Leon Ivey Jr in Compton, California, first found a love for hip-hop when he started performing in local MC contests. The origins of his name come from local radio stations giving him the moniker “Coolio Iglesias”.

In 1987, Coolio joined the group “Rob Burns and the Mad Circle”, and rocked a few verses on their debut album. But it wasn’t until 1994 when Coolio came out with his first solo effort, “It Was A Thief”.

The next year, Coolio created a title track for a movie called “Gangsta’s Paradise”. The track exploded on the charts and went on to become one of the biggest hip-hop songs of the 90s, being number one in 1995 across all genres.

Since then, Coolio dabbled a bit more in movies and reality TV, but has recently found a passion for cooking. He has released a series of cookbooks and created a web-series called “Cooking with Coolio”.

We salute and wish a very happy birthday to Coolio!

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