A farewell to the ‘Queen’
Tributing Gangsta Boo: Family, friends and fans celebrate the life of the late Memphis rapper
Family, friends and fans honored rapper Gangsta Boo, aka Lola Mitchell, by celebrating her life at the Railgarten on Friday, January 13, 2023.
Ray Padilla, Memphis Commercial Appeal
Family, friends and fans of Memphis rap pioneer Gangsta Boo crowded into the pews of the church to bid farewell to the “Queen of Memphis.”
Hundreds gathered to pay their respects to the late rapper during a funeral service Saturday afternoon at Brown Missionary Baptist Church in Southaven. A celebration of her life as a performer and dedication to her family and friends was held at the Railgarten on Friday.
“As dark as this world got, or seemed at times, she gave us hope and let us know that things were possible,” said her close friend and Memphis artist Drumma Boy, whose name is Christopher Gholson. . “She came in and lit up the room. She sure knew her power. She loved and showed us how to love. It’s so dark, man, and she was the light.”
Also in attendance were state Rep. Antonio Parkinson and Shelby County Commissioner Mickell Lowery. Both read proclamations for the family to commemorate Mitchell, and Lowery announced a countywide project to open a hip-hop museum “where [Mitchell’s] the legacy will live forever.”
“Lola’s not just a Memphis legend, she’s a hip-hop legend,” Lowery said. “Every time she was in town, she asked where she could be most helpful. That’s a side most didn’t get to see.”
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Gangsta Boo, born Lola Mitchell, was found dead at a friend’s house on January 1. In a tweet the next day, Memphis police said officers found Mitchell dead around 2:18 Sunday afternoon when they responded to a call in the 1600 block of Raines Road. . She was 43 years old.
At Friday night’s party, her discography played as friends, family and fans danced and sang along to her songs and top hits.
Saturday’s event was more somber than Friday’s, but still maintained the high energy and positivity associated with Mitchell.
“I saw firsthand how happy she made you and how happy you made her,” said Katrina Hamilton, Mitchell’s cousin. “I’m so thankful that she left knowing how much we loved her and how much she loved us.”
Mitchell’s death is still under investigation and autopsy results are still pending, but police said there were no immediate signs of foul play.
An outpouring of love came from Memphians and other hip-hop artists after her death, reflecting her status as a pioneer of the genre, her breakthrough movement to become one of the first major female rappers from the South and her ability. to spotlight the female rappers who would follow her, including Gloria Woods, better known as GloRilla, the latest Memphis rapper to gain national attention with hits like “FNF”
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Born in 1979 and raised in Whitehaven, Mitchell would join Three 6 Mafia, a Memphis rap group, at the age of 15, where she would first turn heads with her work on Album of the Year 1995 “Mystic Stylez”. She would go on to record a number of songs with the group before they broke up in 2001.
Her first solo album, ‘Enquiring Minds’, was released in 1998 and featured the hit ‘Where Dem Dollars At’. Her departure from Three 6 Mafia came on the heels of her second album, Both Worlds *69. All of her solo albums charted on the R&B charts.
Mitchell would go on to collaborate with multiple generations of artists, including Eminem, E-40, OutKast, Lil Jon, Krayzie Bone, Gucci Mane and Run the Jewels, among others. She had a quiet period in the 2010s, but recently returned to the limelight.
She rejoined Three 6 Mafia for a stint that included a headlining gig at the Rolling Loud music festival and a Verzuz performance with the band. In 2022, she released a number of singles including “Sucka Free” and “4Eva Crunk”. Most recently, Mitchell was working on a project with Drumma Boy.
Lucas Finton is a news reporter with The Commercial Appeal. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @LucasFinton.