The pioneering female rapper and ‘90s music icon Gangsta Boo was found dead at approximately four in the afternoon Sunday. The 43-year old, amorously known as ‘The Queen’ in the hip hop scene, was living alone in her hometown at the time and the exact cause of her departure is still unknown. The heartbreaking news was announced by her former boss DJ Paul on Instagram, and confirmed by FOX13 via three independent sources.
As of yet, Gangsta Boo is not publicly known to have struggled with any long-term illnesses, or having been involved in an accident recently. Media speculations about a potential drug overdose have yet to be confirmed. The news of her sudden death thus caught the rap world by surprise. Many of her close associates expressed their condolences online over the sudden tragedy. One fellow Memphis rapper Duke Deuce wrote: “Love Live the Queen”, with the emojis of a crown and a heart. Grammy-winning producer Conductor Williams simply stated: “I’m hurt…. Man. Speechless”, while artist Lil Jon remembered the time when they met just three weeks ago.
Born Lola Mitchell in Memphis, Tennessee on August 7, 1979, in the middle-class African-American neighborhood of Whitehaven, a suburb of Memphis, Lola Chantrelle Mitchell began her life surrounded by Black culture and music, especially after her parents divorced and she was forced to move to a poorer area of the city. Mitchell first began rapping as a teenager, adopting the name ‘Gangsta Boo’ at her debut with the Memphis-based rap group known as ‘Three 6 Mafia’. As the second female member of the band, Gangsta Boo made name as one of the most prominent women in the classical rap world. She stayed with the group as a young artist for five albums.
After financial disputes with Three 6 Mafia, Gangsta Boo went solo in 1998 releasing dozens of solo, mix, and collaborative works over the years. She also starred most recently on the show Marriage Boot Camp: The Hip Hop Edition, with her former boyfriend Emmett. Her guest appearances span to this day. Just last month, Gangsta Boo sang alongside Latto GloRilla in the single “Fuck the Club Up”, a play on Three 6 Mafia’s “Tear Da Club Up”. In 2020, she had appeared in Run the Jewels’ “Walking in the Snow” in their fourth album.
Only four weeks before her untimely death in early December, Gangsta Boo was invited to an interview which was later published in Billboard. She reflected on her life experiences, noting that her early success had made her exceedingly shy and humble, to the point “I used to run away from it”. Now, she admits ‘respectfully’ and ‘proudly’ her place as the ‘blueprint’ for many male and female rappers across America.
Her legacy will now be carried forward by the same people that she inspired and dedicated her life to.