He was born Artis Ivey in Compton, California, the son of a carpenter and a factory worker.
Coolio's main claim to fame has been the 1995 hit Gangsta's Paradise, which won him the Grammy for best rap solo, and was on the soundtrack of Dangerous Minds.
As well as his music career, Coolio has ventured into acting where his numerous credits include Joey.
He has also become a celebrity chef with an online cookery show, Cookin' With Coolio.
The Guardian reported how Coolio was planning to follow up the webisode series with an accompanying book.
Celebrity Big Brother is not Coolio's first experience of reality TV. In 2002 he won Celebrity Bootcamp in the USA.
Coolio, who used to be a fireman and is a licensed masseur, has six children.
In 1998 Coolio was arrested on weapons and drug charges, and in the same year Coolio was found guilty of charges stemming from a confrontation with a shop owner who claimed she was punched when she tried to stop him from taking merchandise without paying.
On 7 March 2009, the BBC reported that Coolio had been charged with drug possession.
In April 2009, Coolio pleaded not guilty to charges of drug possession and battery.
In 2010 Coolio entered the Big Brother house again - this time as one of the ultimate housemates. However, it was not long before Collio in agreement with Channel 4 walked off the show.