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Gangsta Boo, Memphis rapper formerly with Three 6 Mafia, dies aged 43

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Lola Chantrelle Mitchell, the Memphis rapper and former member of Three 6 Mafia who, like Gangsta Boo, helped define the genre in the South with her confident flows and paved the way for other female artists, died on Sunday. She was 43 years old.

She was found dead Sunday afternoon in a neighborhood west of Memphis International Airport, the Memphis Police Department said in a statement on Monday. “There were no immediate signs of foul play,” police said, adding that the investigation into her death was ongoing.

With smart lyrics that were at times flirtatious and playful, energetic and proud, Gangsta Boo quickly established himself in the 1990s as a rising rap star who came and flourished in the south. As a teenager, she joined Three 6 Mafia, an underground rap group that would become one of the most influential of its era.

In 1995, Gangsta Boo and the other members of the group, Juicy J and DJ Paul, released their first album, “Mystic Stylez”, a nightmarish addition to the booming rap scene at the time. The album, part of the rap subgenre known as horrorcore, captivated listeners with its dark references to death and murder, ominous beats and sinister vocals. Gangsta Boo referred to herself on the album as “the devil’s daughter,” capturing the project’s otherworldly tone.

Three years later, Gangsta Boo released his first solo album, “Enquiring Minds”. It featured one of her best-known hits, in which she turned a provocative line into its title and a catchy, memorable hook: “Where Dem Dollas At!?”

Although the single hinted at a superficial sentiment, Gangsta Boo said in a 2014 interview with HipHop DX that it also touched on the pressures of motherhood and raising a child.

“How can you have a child with a guy who has nothing? I feel the same way,” she said. “I feel that way even more now. That’s why I don’t have kids. It has to be the right one and the right time.”

Lola Chantrelle Mitchell was born on August 7, 1979, in Memphis, where she was raised alongside three older brothers in an environment she once described in an interview as “difficult”.

“I have a hood on me because I had a lot of friends from the neighborhood,” she said in an interview with All Urban Central in June of last year. Details about his mother and father, and his date of birth, were not immediately available. A list of survivors was also not available.

Gangsta Boo said that as a child, he was always comfortable with boys because of his brothers. Their Memphis neighborhood was called Whitehaven, but Gangsta Boo said she and her siblings and friends nicknamed the neighborhood “Blackhaven” because the area’s residents were predominantly black.

At school, she met DJ Paul, whose real name is Paul Duane Beauregard. Soon, the two bonded over their love of music.

Impressed by her lyricism, DJ Paul asked her if she wanted to join his crew, Three 6 Mafia. She did. At the age of 16, Gangsta Boo made his first significant leap into the music industry.

“It just happened like that overnight,” she told All Urban Central, adding, “we took off kind of quickly.”

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 she left, she said in an interview with MTV in 2001, “No problem. Sometimes people distance themselves, and that’s basically it. There is no drama, no meat. It’s still the same. I kind of split off and I’m not doing the things that they’re doing. I’m not cursing in my music anymore. We just parted like a marriage.”

That same year, Gangsta Boo changed her name to Lady Boo because she said she wasn’t “living the gangster lifestyle” and wanted to more closely align with God. Her website still referred to her as Gangsta Boo at the time of her death.

The composition of Three 6 Mafia has evolved over the years. In 2006, after the departure of Gangsta Boo, the group won the Oscar for best original song with “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp”, from the movie “Hustle & Flow”.

Later in his career, Gangsta Boo collaborated with several rappers, especially those with southern roots.

She told Billboard last year that “as far as hip-hop and female rap go, I think it’s in a good space.”

“They say, ‘Gangsta Boo walked so a lot of people can run,’” she added.

In recent years, she has reflected on how she was one of the first female rappers to build the image and sound of gangster rap that took off in the 1990s, singing about smoking, revenge and villainous intentions – themes normally reserved for men.

“A lot of guys in Memphis were like ‘Gangsta Pat’, ‘Gangsta Black’ — gangsta this, gangsta that,” she told All Urban Central.

But towards the end of his life, the nickname took on an enhanced meaning.

“It’s more, you know, just enjoying my life as a legendary gangster,” she said.

Livia Albeck-Ripka contributed reports.