thumb|125px|Coolio during the concert in Baku in 2004.
"Coolio" (born "Artis Leon Ivey, Jr." on August 1, 1963 in Compton, California) is an American rapper perhaps best known for the hit song "Gangsta's Paradise" from the ''Dangerous Minds'' soundtrack.
He originally got the name "Coolio" from his mates in Compton when he was younger, who compared his musical talent to that of Julio Iglesias but since he rapped instead of sang, and had a fresh cool mellow feel, he was given the name Coolio Iglesias.
Despite his much-troubled childhood, he learned how to read from the Pelton Power Program for Kids at age 12, founded by Texas jazz musician Aaron Pelton. He began performing after graduating high school. He was part of the hip-hop group WC and the Maad Circle, appearing on their 1991 debut ''Ain't a Damn Thang Changed'', but he left shortly thereafter to pursue a solo career. After releasing one single, "Watcha Gonna Do", an addiction to crack cocaine derailed his career. After working as an airport security guard for a brief period, Coolio was able to kick his habit and then returned to performing and recorded his debut album. ''It Takes a Thief'' was released in 19...