Gangsta Boo, the pioneering female rapper who got her start in Three 6 Mafia as a teenager, has died at the age of 43.
The hip-hop star (real name Lola Mitchell) died on Sunday in Memphis, Tennessee, according to the rapper’s Echoing Soundz reps.
“The Mitchell family would like to express their heartfelt gratitude to everyone for their condolences on the untimely death of Lola ‘Gangsta Boo’ Mitchell. “The family requests your continued prayers and privacy as we grieve the loss of our loved one,” her mother, Veronica Mitchell, and family said.
According to the press release, “specifics regarding the cause of death have not been released due to the ongoing investigation.”
DJ Paul, a founding member of Three 6 Mafia, paid tribute to Mitchell on social media on Sunday with a wordless photo of Mitchell at a turntable mixer. In the comments, Ludacris, Big Boi, 2 Chainz, and Lil Jon, among others, expressed their condolences.
Mitchell’s rise as an ambassador of Memphis hip-hop began with her work on Three 6 Mafia’s first full-length studio album, “Mystic Stylez,” in 1995. She worked with Three 6 Mafia for several albums before leaving the band after the release of her second solo album, “Both Worlds *69,” in 2001. Among her numerous collaborations are appearances with OutKast, Foxy Brown, Yo Gotti, and Run the Jewels.
While her success has been linked to Three 6 Mafia, her solo work has held its own. She released “Enquiring Minds” in 1998, which included the hit “Where Dem Dollars At?!”
Her three solo albums all charted on R&B charts. Over the course of her nearly three-decade career, a steady stream of mixtapes and collaborations kept her name in the spotlight.
According to the press release announcing her death, Mitchell filmed an unreleased video for “Imma Mack” for producer Drumma Boy’s latest album “Welcome to my City Vol. 4” a week before her death.
“Gangsta Boo was like a sister to me and told the world about me the way my blood brother did,” the producer and fellow Memphis native said in a statement. We’re both Leos with the same energy for unity and making people happy!”
“This is such a heartbreaking loss because she was always rooting for others to succeed!” “RIP to the Queen of Memphis, my sister forever,” Drumma Boy (real name Christopher James Gholson) added.
As one of the first major female rappers to represent the South, she shone a light on those who came after her, including GloRilla (aka Gloria Woods), the most recent Memphis rapper to capture national attention with hits like “F.N.F.”
Mitchell appeared on the podcast “Drink Champs” last fall and discussed the rising stars GloRilla and Memphis rapper Gloss Up.
“It just made me feel good because they went crazy and represented Memphis well,” Mitchell said.
Woods posted screenshots of what she claimed were conversations between herself and Mitchell on Sunday evening.
“She was always there for me and the girls before we blew up,” Woods said.
Mitchell’s friend and collaborator, rapper Al Kapone (aka Alphonzo Bailey), described her death as a “heartbreaking loss” for Memphis. Mitchell, he told the Commercial Appeal, told him early on how important his own style and influence were to her.
“Boo was one of the first to represent female rappers in a significant way, and she is still respected by new female rappers today,” he said. “One of the reasons Memphis rap is so popular today is because of Gangsta Boo.”
Billboard asked Mitchell before her death to describe her legacy or impact on female rap and hip-hop in general.
“I must admit, respectfully and humbly, that I am the blueprint. Many male and female rappers have my cadence…. “I wear that badge with pride,” she told the publication. “It just feels great to stand in front of the mirror and say, ‘Wow, you did that.'”