Coolio is selling off the rights to his entire music catalogue, including Gangsta’s Paradise, in an attempt to fund his new career as a chef. On 28 August, 123 songs will go up on the auction block at the Royalty Exchange, with an estimated sale price of between $134,000 (£85,500) and $225,000 (£143,500). Coolio’s catalogue incorporates eight albums spanning 19 years. Although the rapper hasn’t cracked the US or UK album charts in a decade and a half, his handful of smash singles, such as 1996′s 1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin’ New) and 1997′s C U When U Get There, are said to generate $23,227 (£14,816) per year in royalties.
Coolio is “an iconic artist”, said Sean Peace, CEO of the Royalty Exchange. “[This] auction is an exciting and rare opportunity for anyone looking for an alternative investment in music publishing and songwriter royalties.” Other auctions by Peace’s company include the sale of producer royalties for music by country singer Travis Tritt and a forthcoming auction of publishing rights for the songs of Manning Sherwin, who composed songbook classics such as A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square.
Last week, Coolio appeared in court on a charge of domestic assault. The 50-year-old is accused of punching his girlfriend on 1 April during an argument at their home in Las Vegas. He has admitted there was a fight but denies being the aggressor. After initially asking to defend himself, he told a judge on 13 August that he had hired a solicitor – he just didn’t remember her name.
According to Coolio’s auction press release, the liquidation of his discography is unrelated to his legal troubles. The rapper “plans to invest the funds from the song catalogue sale to expand his cookbook series and his online cooking show of the same name”, it states. His 2009 book Cookin’ with Coolio was a surprise bestseller, tempting readers with recipes for Drunk-Ass Chicken and Mozzarella for the Pimpish Fella.