Veteran rapper Coolio is still a recognizable figure in hip-hop thanks to his wildly braided hair. Born Leon Ivey Jr., Coolio turns 52 years old today (Aug. 1).

Of course, Coolio is going to always be known for "Gangsta's Paradise," the moody Stevie Wonder-sampling hit that reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was featured in 1995 cult flick, Dangerous Minds. The song sold over 5 million copies worldwide and became one of the biggest-selling singles of that year.

Although none reached the success of "Gangsta's Paradise," Coolio did have some other big singles, including "Fantastic Voyage," "1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin' New)" and "C U When U Get There." Coolio also had three platinum albums, but he fell off after Tommy Boy dropped him.

Luckily, Coolio has expanded his horizons beyond music. He made reality appearances in shows like the U.K.'s Celebrity Big Brother and Celebrity Wife Swap. Coolio was also featured as a guest on Aaron McGruder's Adult Swim sitcom, Black Jesus. He's also a chef, starring in his own web series, Cookin' with Coolio.

Watch Coolio's "Gangsta Paradise" Video

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