Gangsta Boo, the pioneering rapper and former member of Memphis hip-hop group Three 6 Mafia, has died aged 43.
Born Lola Mitchell in Memphis, Tennessee, she was reportedly found dead at around 4pm on Sunday 1 January, Fox 13 reports. The cause of her death had not been disclosed at the time of writing.
Boo came to prominence as a member of Three 6 Mafia in the Nineties, recording verses for their 1995 debut album Mystic Styelz when she was just 15 years old. She went on to feature on the group’s next four albums, as well as releasing solo records such as 1998’s Enquiring Minds.
“Being in Three 6 Mafia did give me a lot of confidence,” she told Vibe in 2016, per Variety. “I started noticing that not only am I hot, but that I’m talented... But you’d be surprised at how many motherf***ers don’t know that I was in Three 6 Mafia.”
Boo also collaborated with rap heavyweights including Eminem, Gucci Mane and The Game. Before leaving Three 6 Mafia she appeared on Foxy Brown’s 1999 record Chyna Doll, and OutKast’s landmark 2000 record Stankonia. She performed at Coachella festival in 2015 with Run the Jewels.
The music video for “F*** the Club Up”, her collaboration with GloRilla and Latto, was released mid-December in 2022.
“I have to admit, respectfully and humbly, that I am the blueprint. I hear my cadence in a lot of men and female rappers,” she told Billboard that same month.
“I used to run away from it. I used to didn’t want to even give myself flowers because I’ve been so low-key and humble, but I’m on some f*** that s***. It’s time to claim what’s mine. I’m one of the main b****s. And it feels fun to still be able to look good and be relevant in a place where I don’t have this million-dollar machine behind me and I have all my natural body parts, no shade to the ones that don’t. But it just feels great to stand in yourself and look in the mirror and be like, ‘Wow, you did that.’”
The music community paid tribute to Boo on social media following the news of her death, with many referring to her as a “Memphis legend”.
Sharing a message of their first exchange on Instagram, GloRilla wrote: “I normally don’t post screenshots but the fact that she reached out to me before anybody else had a clue who I was...
“She always supported me and the girls way back before we blew up. A REAL LEGEND there will never be another Gangsta Boo.”
“Gangsta Boo, rest in Melody,” Questlove wrote, while Ty Dolla $ign tweeted: “Long live my home girl Gangsta Boo, Queen of the M.”