New Coolio Album Due This Year

Rapper, who switched labels, shooting movie in China with Sammo Hung.

Coolio is working on a new movie and a new album — the latter to be released before the end of the year on Allied Artists Records, a label publicist said.

The new album, Coolio.com, will incorporate parts of Coolio's incomplete 1999 project, Dead Man Walkin', according to Allied Artists spokesperson Craig Melone.

The rapper's most recent release, 1997's My Soul, came out on Tommy Boy Records, as did his It Takes a Thief (1994) and Gangsta's Paradise (1995).

Coolio, whose contract with Tommy Boy was not renewed, joined the Los Angeles label this week, Melone said. "Baywatch" star and recording artist David Hasselhoff also is on the Allied Artists roster.

But before Coolio's new disc lands in record stores, the Grammy-winning rapper will shoot scenes for an upcoming film.

On Wednesday Coolio (born Artis Ivey) flew to China to shoot scenes for "China Strike Force," a movie directed by Stanley Tong. The cast includes veteran martial-arts film actor Sammo Hung, who stars in the CBS-TV series "Martial Law." (Sonicnet.com's parent company, Viacom, also owns CBS.)

The film is the latest turn in the rapper's acting career. He's appeared in "Batman & Robin," "Dear God," "The Big Payback," "In Pursuit" and "Submerged." Coolio also will act in "Perfume," an upcoming movie starring Paul Sorvino, Omar Epps, Jeff Goldblum and Carmen Electra.

Coolio has been visible on the small screen in a Lipton Tea commercial as an animated clay figure, along with figures of Elvis Presley and James Brown.

Coolio is best known for his international smash "Gangsta's Paradise" (RealAudio excerpt), which won a Grammy for Best Solo Rap Performance in 1995. That single sold more than 4 million copies worldwide, according to Melone. Coolio's first album, It Takes a Thief, produced the hit "Fantastic Voyage" (RealAudio excerpt).