Memphis rapper and former Three 6 Mafia member Lola Chantrelle Mitchell helped define the genre in the South with her confident stream as Gangsta Boo and paved the way for other female artists, she died Sunday. She was 43 years old.
The Memphis Police Department said on Monday it was found dead in a neighborhood west of Memphis International Airport on Sunday afternoon. “There was no immediate sign of foul play,” police said, adding that the investigation into his death was ongoing.
With clever lyrics that are at times flirtatious and playful, strong and proud, Gangsta Boo quickly established herself as a rising rap star that came and developed from the South in the 1990s. As a teenager, he joined Three 6 Mafia, an underground rap group that would become one of the most influential groups of its time.
In 1995, Gangsta Boo and fellow band members Juicy J and DJ Paul released their debut album, “Mystic Stylez,” a nightmarish addition to the then booming rap scene. Known as the horror subgenre of rap, the album captivated listeners with its dark allusions to death and murder, eerie beats and ominous vocals. Gangsta Boo captured the project’s supernatural tone, referring to herself as the “devil’s daughter” on the album.
Three years later, Gangsta Boo released her first solo album, “Inquiring Minds”. It included one of his best-known hits, turning a sarcastic quote into the title and a sticky and catchy hook: “Where’s Dem Dollas!?”
While the single implied a superficial feeling, Gangsta Boo said in an interview with HipHop DX in 2014 that it also touched on the pressures of motherhood and child-rearing.
“How can you have a baby from a man who has nothing? I feel the same,” she said. “I feel it more now. That’s why I don’t have children. It must be the right moment and the right moment.”
Lola Chantrelle Mitchell was born in Memphis, where she once grew up alongside three older brothers in an environment she described as “vulgar” in an interview.
“I have a hoodie in me because I had a lot of hoodie friends,” he said in an interview with All Urban Central in June of last year. Details regarding his mother and father and date of birth were not immediately available. A list of survivors was also not available.
Gangsta Boo said that as a child she always felt comfortable around men thanks to her brothers. Their neighborhood in Memphis was called Whitehaven, but Gangsta Boo said she, her siblings and friends nicknamed the neighborhood “Blackhaven” because the residents were predominantly Black.
At school, she met DJ Paul, whose real name is Paul Duane Beauregard. Soon, the two bonded because of their love of music.
Impressed by the lyrics, DJ Paul asked if he would like to join his team, Three 6 Mafia. He did. Gangsta Boo took her first major step in the music industry at the age of 16.
“This happened overnight,” he told All Urban Central, adding, “we went a little fast.”
Gangsta Boo collaborated with Three 6 Mafia on several albums, but left the group in the early 2000s to pursue a solo career.
When asked why he left, he said in an interview with MTV in 2001: “It’s okay. Sometimes people drift apart and that’s basically what happens. No drama, no beef. Still same. I grew up a bit separated and I don’t do the things they do. I no longer swear in my music. We grew apart like a marriage.”
That same year, Gangsta Boo changed her name to Lady Boo as she said she didn’t “live the gangster lifestyle” and wanted to bring herself closer to God. The website still referred to him as Gangsta Boo at the time of his death.
The structure of Three 6 Mafia has evolved over the years. After Gangsta Boo’s departure in 2006, the band won an Oscar for best original song for “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” in the movie Hustle & Flow.
Later in his career, Gangsta Boo collaborated with numerous rappers, especially those with roots in the South.
She told Billboard last year that “female is in a good field in terms of hip-hop and rap, I think.”
“They say, ‘Gangsta Boo walked so many people could run,'” he added.
In recent years, she thought she was one of the first female rappers to build on the rising gangster rap image and voice of the 1990s, singing about smoking, revenge, and malicious intentions – themes often reserved for men.
“A lot of guys in Memphis were like ‘Gangsta Pat,’ ‘Gangsta Black’ – gangsta that, gangsta that,” he told All Urban Central.
Toward the end of his life, however, this nickname took on an enhanced meaning.
“Moreover, you know, enjoying my life as a legendary gangster,” he said.
Livia Albeck-Ripka contributed to the reporting.