Gangsta’s Paradise rapper Coolio (born Artis Leon Ivey Jr) died unexpectedly at the age of 59, TMZ reports. As fans mourn the sudden loss, many are playing his iconic track Fantastic Voyage on repeat, featuring an equally iconic sample.
Coolio found mainstream fame with Gangsta’s Paradise, released in 1995 on the soundtrack of Michelle Pfeiffer film Dangerous Minds.
But one of his most popular tracks with hardcore fans is Fantastic Voyage, with a sample from RnB legends Lakeside.
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Coolio’s Fantastic Voyage samples iconic 1980s funk band
Coolio released Fantastic Voyage in 1994 as the third single off his debut album, It Takes A Thief, and later on Fantastic Voyage: The Greatest Hits, released in 2001.
As the opening track on It Takes A Thief, Coolio’s Fantastic Voyage samples heavily a song of the same name by funk and RnB legends Lakeside.
Lakeside’s Fantastic Voyage was the number one hit single from the Dayton, Ohio band’s 1980 album and lent the record its name.
The group started out under the moniker Young Underground in 1969 as guitarist Stephen Shockley’s new band. In 1971, after attracting vocalist Mark Woods and his sister Shirley, along with Thomas Shelby, they became the Ohio Lakeside Express.
The group caught their first big break a few years later in 1975, after adding new members Otis Stokes on vocals and Fred Lewis on percussion and playing a number of gigs at Maverick’s Flat, one of the biggest funk venues of the time. They were spotted by Stevie Wonder promoter Dick Griffey, who soon began informally managing Lakeside.
By 1980 when they released Fantastic Voyage, the band were well-established in the industry, especially following the success of 1978’s It’s All The Way Live. Nevertheless, Fantastic Voyage exceeded all expectations, with the title track hitting number one on the RnB chart.
To this day, Fantastic Voyage is the band’s most popular song, appearing in films, video games and being sampled by the late great Coolio. Along with his sample, the Lakeside track was performed by Cedric the Entertainer, Vanessa Williams, Bow Wow and Solange Knowles during a talent show in the movie Johnson Family Vacation.
Coolio fans play Fantastic Voyage on repeat to honor late rapper
With its infectious chorus of “Slide, slide, slippity slide”, highly quotable lyrics such as “If you can’t take the heat, get your a** out the kitchen,” and iconic Lakeside sample, Coolio’s Fantastic Voyage became an instant hit with fans when it was released in 1994.
Now, as news of the rapper’s unexpected death spreads online, fans are paying homage to Coolio by listening to Fantastic Voyage on repeat.
Rapper’s death deals heavy blow to hip hop fans
Coolio’s manager, Jarez Posey, told TMZ the rapper was visiting with a friend at the time of his death. He apparently went into the bathroom and, when his friend noticed some time had passed and Coolio hadn’t returned, they opened the door to find the Fantastic Voyage rapper collapsed on the floor.
Paramedics and police were immediately called, but they were too late – Coolio was pronounced dead on the scene. Though an official cause of death has not been determined, Posey said the paramedics believe Coolio went into cardiac arrest, per Us Magazine.
A representative published a touching statement confirming the rapper’s death. “He touched the world with the gift of his talent and will be missed profoundly.”
“Thank you to everyone worldwide who has listened to his music and to everyone who has been reaching out regarding his passing. Please have Coolio’s loved ones in your thoughts and prayers.”
Coolio is survived by his girlfriend, entertainer Mimi Ivey, his ex-wife Josefa Salinas and their four children – daughters Artisha, Brandi, Jackie and son Artis – and by six more children from past relationships: Grtis, Milan, Darius, Zhaneand, Kate and Shayne.