Fans are still unpacking the loss of “Gangsta’s Paradise” hitmaker Coolio. The Pennsylvania native left a lasting impression on fans of his music in the mid-’90s and a gaping hole for his family of 10 children. While fans did not get to send him off the way he wanted due to his request for a small funeral, they are learning more about his life before his passing and some of the business choices he made.
While he was in his prime, Coolio racked up a Grammy award and several massive certifications for the song “Gangsta’s Paradise.” Paired with his larger-than-life personality and signature hair, the record made him a household name. He was even able to sing the theme song for the popular sitcom “Kenan & Kel” on Nickelodeon. This popularity carried over into the last two decades, which allowed Coolio to make a career for himself in film and television appearances, eventually finding some work in reality TV. Through it all, he was able to amass a nice net worth of $1.5 million before he died at the age of 59.
What many people do not know is that despite “Gangsta’s Paradise” massive success, a good portion of the songs rights belongs to icon Stevie Wonder. This is because the song features an interpolation of Stevie Wonder’s 1976 song “Pastime Paradise.”
Despite his success in Hip-Hop, Coolio was beginning to move into other avenues in the years before his death. The star had a cooking show online 14 years ago called “Cookin With Coolio.” The series was featured on the My Damn Channel Network and featured Coolio making meals with his friends and family. The five remaining episodes on Youtube include recipes for Soul Rolls, Stir Fried Vegetables, Fall of the Bone Chicken, and Tricked out West Side Tilapia.
He also published a book in 2009 called Cookin’ with Coolio: 5 Star Meals at a 1-Star Price. It retails for $18.99 on Amazon and features some of his signature dishes. “There’s only one thing that Coolio’s been doing longer than rapping: cooking,” says the book’s description. “His recipes are built around solid comfort foods with a healthy twist that doesn’t break the bank.”
Coolio was very invested in his cooking career. So much so that he auctioned off the rights to “Gangsta’s Paradise” and 122 other songs to pay for the cookbook series and online show, according to a Guardian article from 2013. Everything had an estimated sales price between $134,000 (£85,500) and $225,000 (£143,500) and was presented as an exciting investment opportunity for anyone looking to break into the music licensing space at the time.
Coolio was struggled with some financial issues around the time of the auction that he said was unrelated to his selling his catalog. Coolio was also going to court for a fight between him and his girlfriend in their Las Vegas home. Though she is not listed by name, the girlfriend in question was possibly longtime partner Mimi Ivey. The two never properly wed, but she has come forward since his passing to shed light on his life and burial wishes, which included a small funeral closed to the public and cremation. Coolio passed on September 28th, 2022.
According to new reports, Coolio’s music royalties are estimated to be worth more than $6 million. Despite the late rapper looking to sell his catalog, there was never a public confirmation of the sale.