She was sometimes called “the Queen of Memphis”. Other times she was “Lady Boo”. But more often than not, she was “Gangsta Boo”, her first name, Lola Mitchell.
On the first day of 2023, Mitchell, 43, was found dead at a friend’s house in Memphis, according to media partner The Commercial Appeal WMC Action News 5, who spoke to Delmar H. Lawrence, also known as by M. Del. Lawrence was a collaborator with Three 6 Mafia – the iconic Memphis band that propelled Mitchell and others to fame.
Lawrence’s comments were among many comments from fellow artists who worked with Mitchell.
Mitchell’s cause of death is unknown; his passing comes just a year after Memphis mourned the murder of Castilia Heights-born Adolph Thornton Jr., better known as Young Dolph.
On Monday afternoon, police confirmed Mitchell’s death in a tweet, saying officers found her dead around 2:18 p.m. Sunday while responding to a call in the 1600 block of Raines Road. The investigation is ongoing and the results of his 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 to artists Mitchell worked with or influenced directly began to pile in.
Alphonzo Bailey, a renowned rapper from Memphis known as Al Kapone, was a friend and collaborator of Mitchell. He described Mitchell’s passing as a deep and significant loss for Memphis. Mitchell, he told The Commercial Appeal, let her know early on what his own style and influence meant to her.
“It’s a great loss for the rap community in Memphis,” Bailey said. “Boo was one of the first to represent female rappers in a major way and is still respected by today’s new female rappers like GloRilla and Gloss. Gangsta Boo is one of the reasons Memphis rap is global today. She will be missed and will always be missed representing her legacy. I send my condolences to her family.
DJ Paul, one of the founding members of Three 6 Mafia and one of Mitchell’s early collaborators, took to social media to pay his respects on Sunday, with a wordless message from Mitchell on a mixing board.
Widely considered a trailblazer among female rappers, Mitchell’s steady rise as Memphis’ hip-hop ambassador began with her work on Three 6 Mafia’s first full-length studio album, “Mystic Stylez,” in the mid-1990s. 90s. She recorded several albums with the original core of Three 6 Mafia before parting ways with the group following the 2001 release of her second solo album, “Both Worlds*69”.
And while his initial success was largely associated with Three 6 Mafia, his solo work held firm. In 1998, she released “Enquiring Minds”, which included the hit “Where Dem Dollars At?!”
His three solo albums are ranked on the R&B charts. A steady stream of mix tapes and collaborations kept his name in play throughout a nearly three-decade career.
Last week, Mitchell filmed a never-before-seen 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 family members:
“The Mitchell family would like to thank everyone for their condolences regarding the untimely passing of Lola ‘Gangsta Boo’ Mitchell. The family asks for your continued prayers and privacy as we process the loss of our loved one,” they said. .
Hattix’s statement also indicates that the cause of death has not been released due to the ongoing investigation.
Mitchell’s relevance as one of the first great female rappers representing the South has endured, and she has shone the spotlight on other female rappers who followed, including Gloria Woods, better known as GloRilla, the later Memphis rapper to national attention with hits like “FNF”
In November 2022, Mitchell made an appearance on popular culture show “Drink Champs” and spoke about rising stars of GloRilla and Memphis rapper Gloss Up; supporting women in rap, Mitchell said, was important.
“It just felt good to me, because they turned out badly and they represented Memphis well,” Mitchell said.
On Sunday night, Woods shared screenshots, apparently of conversations between her and Mitchell.
“She was always supportive of me and the girls before we broke up,” Woods said.
Commercial Appeal reporter Katherine Burgess contributed to this report.
Micaela Watts is a reporter for The Commercial Appeal covering issues related to access and equity. She can be contacted at email@example.com.