Friday, September 30, 2022

'Kenan & Kel' Theme Song Singer Coolio Passes Away, Aged 59

In memory of Coolio, the singer of the iconic Kenan & Kel theme song "Aw, Here It Goes!," who sadly passed away, aged 59.

Following the news breaking of the rapper, record producer, actor, and philanthropist's death, Kenan & Kel stars Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell both remembered the "Gangsta's Paradise" and "Fantastic Voyage" singer, whose birthname was Artis Leon Ivey Jr., on Instagram.

Kenan took to his Instagram Stories to comment on the news, including a sadface emoji with the words, "Wait, now Coolio!!!" He followed this up with a repost of Questlove sharing a photo of Coolio and added, "Damn homie!!! Rest in Power!!!," and Kel reminisced about the times he met and talked to Coolio, posting clips from his appearance on All That and in the show's "Good Burger" sketch, saying: "Rest in Heaven @coolio ! We recently spoke a few months ago laughing and having such a good time. So many great memories with you bro! That time first meeting you on “All That” cracking up in a Good Burger Sketch then you bringing me on stage after your performance to freestyle. Then later creating the legendary Kenan and Kel theme song for @kenanthompson and I. You did an interview the day of filming the intro on Big Boys Neighborhood and all of Los Angeles was at Universal Studios city walk it was a party!! That time you heard about the Good Burger Pop up in Los Angeles and you hit me and the team up and said you wanted to make it part of your birthday weekend and we chopped it up! Last thing you told me when we last spoke a few months ago you told me you loved how I keep things positive and to keep doing that. I will Coolio and thank you for sharing your light and your talent with us all and thank you for inspiring so many in your lyrics. Be at peace in the hands of our Heavenly Father and praying God comforts your family during this time. Much love bro!!! πŸ™πŸΎπŸ™ŒπŸ½πŸ’ͺ🏾"

While speaking with Entertainment Weekly in 2016 for the 20th anniversary of Kenan and Kel, Thompson and Mitchell, both 44, opened up about how they got the musician to craft their show's iconic opening tune, titled "Aw, Here It Goes," which was named after one of Mitchell's catchphrases.

"Shout out to Coolio," Thompson said at the time. "It was the best. He had been on All That before at that point, so we felt like we knew him. That's how you are when you're young, 'Oh yeah, Coolio's my best friend.' "

"That hook, the song still holds up today," Mitchell added to EW. "When I do [comedy] shows I'll play the Kenan & Kel theme song and come out to the stage to that or I've even been in the club and they play it."

Kel joined TMZ Live on Thursday (Sept. 29) where TMZ asked him about his experiences with Coolio. Kel says folks still ask him about the song, and he says Coolio brought the "magic" to the catchy track. Kel added that Coolio was like everyone's favorite uncle, because when he showed up at the function, it was a sure sign of a good time, and revealed that the last conversation he had with Coolio was a couple months before his death. It's clear Coolio made a big impression on Kel's life.

ET's Kevin Frazier spoke with Mitchell about Coolio crafting the theme song for his and Kenan Thompson's Nickelodeon show, Kenan & Kel, and the way he found out about the "Gangsta's Paradise" rapper's death.

"I was here at the house with the kids, and I was on social media, and I saw under someone else's page like, 'Oh yeah, RIP Coolio,' and I'm like 'Wait, wait, wait,'" Mitchell explained. "I said, 'Hold on,' and then I started looking around and saw it was true."

He continued, "Then my phone started blowing up, and everybody hit me up about it."

Mitchell's friendship with Coolio was decades long, with the pair first meeting on the set of All That.

"Awesome," Mitchell said of the first time he met the late rapper. "One thing I say about Coolio and my experience with him all the time, is that he was always a great time. Always had a smile on his face, always cracking a joke. First time I met him was on All That, I believe it was our first season, and he was in a Good Burger sketch, and his comedic timing was so amazing."

"Also, a great actor," he added. "And then after that, he performed on the show."

Mitchell, who used to rap as well, said Coolio once brought him onstage during a performance to freestyle with him. "He brought me up onstage, and you gotta imagine that, like, this is my first show, first season, and then Coolio, who's like an amazing rapper on the radio at that time, brings me onstage to freestyle with him," Mitchell recalled. "[This] was such a big moment for me, 'cause I was a fan, you know what I mean?"

Not long after, Coolio went on to craft the theme song for Kenan & Kel, something that came naturally after building a friendship with Mitchell and the producers and writers at All That.

"A lot of the entertainers that would come on All That, ended up hanging out with us, and staying friends with the producers and the writers, which was super awesome, and when we did the spinoff, and him doing the Kenan & Kel theme song, that was awesome," Mitchell gushed.

"I mean, I remember him telling Big Boy's Neighborhood on the radio out here, that we were gonna be shooting at Universal CityWalk, and I mean, everybody was there. I'm talking all of Los Angeles. It was a big party. That's what people can see on the other side of the camera, that's why you see the energy is so high," he continued. "It was just such an awesome moment, and that song still goes, like, people play it in the clubs, and play it everywhere, and it says a lot to his lyrics."

They stayed in contact too, remaining friends long after Mitchell's days on All That and Kenan & Kel. In fact, the Game Shakers actor revealed that he had even spoken to Coolio just a few months ago.

"I was doing a project for iHeart, and I reached out to Coolio, told him to come on, and we were able to talk," Mitchell shared. "He was in the U.K., I knew it was very, very early, but he agreed to do it, which was super awesome, and we just had a real conversation which was so awesome.

"I remember at the end of the conversation, he told me, 'Now you know it's early out here in the U.K., I'm on tour, but when I heard that you were doing this, I had to come and talk to you, and I just love the positivity that you always have and I want you to keep that positivity and the positive projects, and the things that you do and making the choice,' and I said, 'Yo, I will. I definitely will do that,'" he added. "But it's just such a beautiful thing, like, he's like a big bro since I was a kid, now I'm an adult, and still giving great advice, like he does in his lyrics as well."

As far as what Coolio's legacy will be, Mitchell said it's multi-faceted -- from his music and his iconic hair and style, to what he's done for Black culture and hip-hop.

"You have to mention Coolio if you're talking about hip-hop, if you're talking about music in general," Mitchell insisted. "Things that he did on the platforms as far as like movie soundtracks, the style, his hair -- an icon, just a fashion icon. I don't think anybody else did it as good as him after that. You just gotta give it up to Coolio for what he did to the culture, and what he did for hip-hop."

Mitchell added, "I just want people to know how good of a person he was, and his music, and just what you saw on television and in the music, he was that offline too. Just a great guy."

R.I.P. Coolio, August 1, 1963 – September 28, 2022

Originally published: September 29, 2022 at 21:57 BST; Sources:, SFGATE, People, MovieWeb.

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