My mother was the first person to teach me about female rap. It was through album and radio plays, and constant repeats, of several women femcees that enchanted me. The first artist on the syllabus was Southern female rap innovator Gangsta Boo, also known as Lola Chantrelle Mitchell. Gangsta Boo, born and raised in Memphis on August 7, 1979, passed on January 1, 2023.
She leaves us with several albums, mixtapes, club bangers, and a blueprint for Southern female rappers to learn from. In 1995, at age 15, Gangsta Boo became a member of the trailblazing Memphis rap group, Three 6 Mafia. She remained a member for six years, from 1995-2001. Boo’s heavy hitters with the rap group include “Barrin’ You B*’s” (2000), “Tear the Club Up” (1997), and “Who Run It” (2000).
In 2000, the rap group released “Who Run It” as the lead single from their fourth studio album “When the Smoke Clears: Sixty 6, Sixty 1.” The song peaked at number 12 on the Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart.
Outside of work with Three 6 Mafia, her first solo album, “Enquiring Minds,” was released in 1998 and reached number 15 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and number 46 on the Billboard 200.
The album featured the hit “Where Dem Dollas At!?,” a track played in clubs and homes across the country. It reached number 49 on the R&B singles chart.
Gangsta Boo has released several albums, mixtapes, and features. Her assertive lyrics and Memphis accent brought rap a different gift. A new gift that forever changed radio waves and Southern rap.
On December 1, 2022, Gangsta Boo teamed up with Latto and GloRilla, two rising southern female rappers, on FTCU. Latto and Gangsta Boo tag teamed the chorus and first verse. The song was officially a Top 5 Record on iTunes Hip-Hop/Rap Chart, at #5 in early December.
As news and social media pile us with mixed messages and discrimination about Black women, including those in hip-hop, may we offer more roses, care, and tenderness this year. May Gangsta Boo rest in peace.
Armonte Butler (he/Him) is a Black Latinx Writer and activist based in Washington, DC. He serves as the Program Coordinator for the Gran Varones Positive Digital Arts Fellowship.