The Return of Gangsta Boo: Femcee Talks Music Scene, Working with GloRilla, Latto & More

“Yeah hoe!” It’s the infamous tagline from 90s rap star Gangsta Boo (born Lola Mitchell), member of the Oscar award-winning group, Three 6 Mafia. Gangsta Boo joined when she was just 15 years old in 1994 and that same year, recorded her first solo record with the group, “Cheefa Da Reefa.” The track set the tone for the Memphis femcee, who later unveiled the her most well-known hit, “Where Dem Dollas At?,” in 1998.

Boo has gone through a number of transformations since then, renaming herself Lady Boo in 2001 and embraced Christianity, according to MTV. In 2013, Gangsta Boo joined Da Mafia 6ix before the passing of band member Lord Infamous in December of that year. In 2014, she and Da Mafia 6ix’s other femcee La Chat, recorded Witch together.

Fast forward to the present day, and you can hear Gangsta Boo on the adlibs and hook on Memphis rising star GloRilla and Atlanta’s very own Latto’s collaboration “F– The Club Up,” a play-off of Three 6 Mafia’s “Tear Da Club Up.”

The song helped Gangsta Boo become a hot topic yet again on social media, and Billboard caught up with her to discuss how she got on “FTCU,” her return to the music scene, participating in the Verzuz battle with Three 6 Mafia and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Lord Infamous’ impact on her, female rap and more.

Let’s start with the present day. How did you end up collaborating with Latto and GloRilla?

Well, Latto has been showing me support for a while. I always see her mentioning my name when they ask her who were some of her inspirations, and when she talked about her dad, she told me that her dad used to support a lot of female rappers and I was one of them.

So, that’s kind of how it came about. We just started following each other on the Internet and supporting each other and s—. And yeah, she hit me up last minute. She was like, “Man, I smoked a blunt and had a genius idea.”

She’s like, “The song already done, we already did the video and s— but I want you to be on the outro, the intro or some sort of adlibs.” I was like, “Of course, Latto. I got you, man.” It was simple just like that. Of course, I would’ve wanted to spit and kill on that mother — but just anytime I can contribute and support any female rapper that I like, that like me back, I’m always down for it.

What are your thoughts on GloRilla Grammy nod seeing that she’s from the same stomping grounds?

She pretty much came out the gate kind of running. They use the quote a lot. They say, “Gangsta Boo walked so a lot of people can run.” If this is a moment to say that particular quote, I would f— say it because that b—- took off full speed. And she is pretty talented. I like the way she puts her bars and s—. She’s bumping. I’ve been watching GloRilla and listening to her for a couple of years now.

There’s so much going on nowadays, I want to know, do you think female rappers can coexist with each other?

You know what I think? Okay, for example. I like what Latto is doing. I thought that was dope how she is bridging the gap. She was like, “You know what? The song is already done but f— that. I still won’t Gangsta Boo on this motherf–er.” So, it’s like not only do I have fans, she does too.

Some of her fans probably don’t listen to me or know who I am and vice versa. I think bridging the gap is pretty much all we got to do, and there is a lot of female unity that supports each other and stuff. Everybody doesn’t have to sing “Kumbaya” at the dinner table. But as long as you just show respect and keep supporting each other, whether it’s from afar or up close, I think it’ll be cool. It’s only a handful that acts petty and s—.

Like when Nas and 21 Savage got together to do “One Mic, One Gun,” that was brilliant to me because it’s like, it’s okay to work with motherf—er that came out before you that still doing their s— and that’s still popping and that that’s not on the washed up looking s—.

I think that right there, that’s where we need to normalize it and not make it so awkward. But as far as female hip-hop and rap, I think it’s in a good space. I would like to see more MCs have different types of context, and subject matter to talk about other than the sexy stuff, which I love. Because I talk my sexy s— too. But I definitely would love to see more.

What other femcees would you like to work with?

I f– with Missy Elliot. I f– with Cardi. Rapsody, I vibe with her. But I would say out of all of them, Missy would be numero uno. If I had the opportunity to be in the studio with her and to see how she creates and to vibe off her energy and have her vibe off mine, I think it’d be dope. Because she was one of my influences, using my voice as an instrument.

Sometimes if I don’t use a DJ to scratch, I’ll just make up a sound scratching. And I got that from Missy and Timbaland and s—. So, I would just love to see where she would take me. I would let her produce some s— for me.

Since we were on the topic, where do you see the new sound of Memphis headed and where would you like it to be?

Man, I love where it is. I think the Memphis sound just needs to keep growing and we just keep it as Memphis as possible. I don’t want nobody coming out of my city that sounds like they’re from New York or that sound like they’re from L.A. or it sounds like they’re from Washington or sound like they’re from Houston.

I want Memphis to stay Memphis as f—. We got a slogan that says “Memphis as f—,” and I just think that Memphis should say Memphis as f— because Memphis is the home of a lot of great musicians from Al Green to 8 Ball & MJG. I think as long as we keep Memphis the way it is, I feel like s—, it’s only room for growth and opportunities.

Because right now, we never took off like Houston did or like Atlanta did or like L.A. did or even like New York or even in Miami because we are this small place. But out of that small place comes some big motherf—ing sound, some big noise, and some big music. That’s why we call it Big Memphis.

You know Atlanta got crunk and trap, and Texas is known for the chopped and screwed-sound. What is Memphis’ unique place in hip-hop?

Memphis is the originator of crunk. That’s obvious. Shout out to my boy Lil Jon, that’s my brother. But he knows that as well. Memphis is the originator of crunk. So, Memphis sound is crunk, get buck. The Memphis sound is 8 Ball & MJG. The Memphis sound is Young Dolph. Memphis sound is Three 6 Mafia. It’s laid back, it’s player, it’s rowdy, it’s pimpish, it’s smooth, it’s jazz, it’s rhythm, it’s blues. Memphis is the home of the blues. And it comes across in our music too with the dark baseline, with the heavy baselines, the high hats. Keeping this s— Memphis.

“Cheefa Da Reefa” was the first solo song you recorded with Three 6 Mafia. But, what was the defining moment for you that said, “I made it?”

Well, right now, just still getting my recognition and my newfound accolades and when other ladies pop out, it’s always like, “Wow, this person sound like Gangsta Boo,” or, “Why is Boo’s name not mentioned enough?”

But at the same time, I still have so much work to do. I haven’t had that yet other than that like, “Damn, I’m dope as f–. People are still talking about me.”

And I haven’t even dropped a lot of music and back-to-back or a lot of content. But people still, the fans, when I search my name on Twitter, every time somebody comes out, I always see them compared to me. And that’s a form of, in my mind like, “Damn, b–. You that b–, like the blueprint, so you did make it.” But at the same time, I still feel like it’s so much opportunity for me. I’m excited about that, to be honest.

You coined the adlib, “Yeah Hoe.” Legendary. How would you describe your legacy or impact on female rap and hip-hop in general?

I would honestly say that I have to admit, respectfully and humbly, that I am the blueprint. I hear my cadence in a lot of men and female rappers. It’s hard to f– lie to myself and says, “Oh wow, she’s from New York but she raps like she’s from Memphis. Oh wow, this person is from f– wherever, but they rap like they are from Memphis.” Because I’m not talking about anybody in particular, but my sound is a Memphis sound. It’s a Gangsta Boo sound, it’s a Three 6 Mafia sound. So, I am the blueprint and I wear that badge proudly as f–.

I used to run away from it. I used to didn’t want to even give myself flowers because I’ve been so low-key and humble, but I’m on some f– that s—. It’s time to claim what’s mine. I’m one of the main b–. And it feels fun to still be able to look good and be relevant in a place where I don’t have this million-dollar machine behind me and I have all my natural body parts, no shade to the ones that don’t. But it just feels great to stand in yourself and look in the mirror and be like, “Wow, you did that.” And not sell your soul and go to bed at night with a smile on your face. Because I don’t have any pressure.

Let’s talk about your late group member, Lord Infamous. What kind of impact did Lord Infamous have on you before his passing in 2013?

S—. Lord was my brother, man. Lord, he was one of the originators of Three 6 Mafia. If I’m not mistaken, he came up with the name Three 6 Mafia with Paul. You see, Paul is Lord Infamous’ uncle. He was a big influence on how I wrote my raps and my lyrics and s—. How he put his words and how intelligent he was, the books that he read, the things that he spoke about, it’s still influential to me because he wasn’t just rapping about simple s—.

You had to be knowledgeable to even pay attention to follow what he was saying. It’s kind of hard for me to even rap simple because I don’t even know how to do it. Lord wasn’t a simple rapper. And to me, that’s what kind of motivated me to not be a simple rapper and to just go hard with my pen.

What’s your fondest memory of him?

He was very short and soft-spoken but was a big old beast and he did not take no s—. I remember I used to rap on his answering machine, and his house phone when I was younger to get him to tell Paul how good I was.

So if it wasn’t for him, I probably would not even have been able to be in the group. And for two, he also was the one that helped put the group back together when we were able to tour as the Mafia 6. When Juicy wasn’t around, it was the Mafia 6. It was me, Paul, Lord Infamous, Koopsta Knicca, Crunchy Black, and Lord Infamous who made that happen. So that’s my fondest memory of him, being able to complete a Mafia 6 project with him on it and being able to shoot a couple of videos with him in it before his passing.

Three 6 Mafia repped Memphis so well on VERZUZ. How was your VERZUZ experience overall? How did the city react?

Man, we turned the city up. They were so proud of us because that was our first time on the stage altogether, minus the ones that we lost, which were Lord Infamous and Koopsta. And Bone Thugs a group that we used to have issues with back in the day, are legendary. So, when I walked out on that f– stage and I couldn’t turn my ass around, I was like, “Oh s—, I’m on the stage and Paul and Juicy.” And I was the only girl out there until they brought out La Chat.

So, in hindsight 2020, it was surreal as f–… I just feel so blessed and just so grateful to still be making moves like that and relevant like that because you can’t be irrelevant to be paid, for one. So I’m just really, really honored that our sound is still so relevant to the point that it makes people still intrigued at what we have to say.

What is the hardest lesson you had to learn about the music industry that other young ladies who want to follow in your footsteps should know?

Man, take your time, be different, and be original. Don’t burn yourself out and don’t let people play you. I’d say don’t get lost in the sauce. Money ain’t going to have me doing something that I can’t look in the mirror and be proud of. And you don’t have to be a porn star either. Be an MC. I like that different s—. Everybody doesn’t have to have a viral moment or be trendy. Because when that trend goes away when that viral moment goes away, then what?

I heard you got a new project in the works. What’s next for Gangsta Boo?

Right now I’m just working on a project, it’s called The BooPrint and hopefully, I’m dropping that first quarter next year I’m just happy to be dropping content now. I got a song called “Sucker Free” that’s available on all platforms produced by Drumma Boy. I got a song called “I’m Fresh,” that’s available.
And to be honest, girl, I’m just excited to be working with the Lattos and I’m happy to see women like GloRilla represent Memphis, so just excited…that’s motivating me to want to keep doing my music.

Sierra Porter