She was sometimes called “the Queen of Memphis.” Other times she was “Lady Boo.” But most often, she was “Gangsta Boo,” — given name, Lola Mitchell.
The cause of Mitchell’s death is unknown; her passing comes just one year after Memphis grieved the killing of Castilia Heights-born Adolph Thornton Jr., best known as Young Dolph. Some are speculating that the death may be related to a possible drug overdose.
Monday afternoon, police confirmed Mitchell’s death in a tweet, saying officers found her deceased around 2:18 p.m. Sunday when responding to a call in the 1600 block of Raines Road. The investigation is ongoing and results of her autopsy are pending, but there were no immediate signs of foul play, police said.
Gangsta Boo:Celebrities react to Gangsta Boo’s death: ‘Queen of Memphis FOREVER’
By early Sunday evening, tributes for artists Mitchell worked with directly or influenced began to accumulate.
“This is a big loss for the Memphis rap community,” Bailey said. “Boo is one of the first to represent female rappers in a major way and still is respected by the new female rappers today like GloRilla and Gloss. Gangsta Boo is one of the reasons Memphis rap is global today. We will miss her and will always represent her legacy. I’m sending my condolences to her family.”
Largely considered a pioneer among female rappers, Mitchell’s steady rise as an ambassador of Memphis hip-hop started with her work on Three 6 Mafia’s first full-length studio album, “Mystic Stylez,” in the mid-’90s. She recorded several albums with the original core of Three 6 Mafia before parting ways with the group after the 2001 release of her second solo album, “Both Worlds *69.”
And while her initial success is largely associated with Three 6 Mafia, her solo work held its own. In 1998, she released “Enquiring Minds,” which included the hit, “Where Dem Dollars At?!”
All three of her solo albums ranked on R&B charts. A steady stream of mix tapes and collaborations kept her name in play over the span of a career nearly three decades long.
Last week, Mitchell filmed an unreleased video with fellow Memphian and award-winning producer Drumma Boy, according to a written statement from Echo Hattix of Echoing Soundz.
Hattix also shared a statement from Veronica Mitchell, Mitchell’s mother, and other members of the family:
“The Mitchell family would like to thank everyone for their condolences regarding the untimely death of Lola ‘Gangsta Boo’ Mitchell. The family is asking for your continued prayers and privacy as we process the loss of our loved one,” they said.
The statement from Hattix also said the cause of death had not been released due to the ongoing investigation.
Mitchell’s relevance as one of the first major female rappers representing the South has endured, and she shone a spotlight on other female rappers who followed, including Gloria Woods, better known as GloRilla, the latest Memphis rapper to nab the national spotlight with hits like “F.N.F.”
Some of my favorite verses include her bars in “Tongue Ring”, “Slangin Rocks”, and the song “Hard Not To Kill” off of her solo album.
You will be missed, Boo!