Q & A with Gangsta Boo
|2 years ago||class of '11 - away - #1|
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Posted by Louis Goggans on Mon, Mar 25, 2013 at 2:37 PM
At the tender age of nine, Lola ďGangsta BooĒ Mitchell spit her first raps on a karaoke machine that she got as a birthday present. Years later, this childhood hobby blossomed into her delivering standout verses on gold and platinum albums, worldwide exposure, and being labeled a legend within the Southern rap movement.
Largely known for her role as the only female emcee in the male-dominated hardcore rap group Three 6 Mafia, her professional career began at the age of 16 when she signed a record deal with Prophet Entertainment (then owned by D.J. Paul and Juicy J) as a member of the group.
Three 6 Mafiaís debut album, Mystic Stylez, sold more than 100,000 records independently. This would eventually lead to the group securing a major record deal and releasing several gold and platinum albums such as Chapter 2: World Domination and When the Smoke Clears: Sixty 6, Sixty 1.
Gangsta Boo's unorthodox style on songs such as ďTear Da Club UpĒ and ďLate Night TipĒ built demand for her to release a solo album. In 1998, she did just that with her debut installment, Enquiring Minds. The album featured the successful single ďWhere Dem Dollas AtĒ and reached number 15 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and number 46 on the Billboard 200. In 2001, she dropped her sophomore effort, Both Worlds *69, which reached number eight on the R&B/Hip-Hop chart and number 29 on the Billboard 200.
After parting ways with Three 6 Mafia due to monetary disputes and other issues, she released Enquiring Minds II: The Soap Opera on her independent label, Crazy Lady Entertainment in 2003. The album served as an introduction to her musical collaboration with platinum producer and fellow Memphian Drumma Boy.
Since then, Gangsta Booís released a series of mixtapes and has officially joined forces with Drumma Boy as part of his Drum Squad collective.
Prepping the release of her latest musical installment, Itís Game Involved, Gangsta Boo took time out to speak with me about her music career, her short tenure as curseword-free ďLady Boo," how E-40 inspired the title of her new mixtape, the difference between working with DJ Paul and Juicy J versus Drumma Boy, and a lot more.
Check out Gangsta Boo's website: lolamitchell.com
Follow her on Twitter: @GangstabooQOM
What sparked your interest in music?
I started off writing poems. I used to write my dad all kinds of poems. [I grew] up in a musical home. My dad and mom used to sing all the time. My dad used to have a bunch of albums. He had a record player. So I used to watch him sing, and being in Memphis, Al Green lived in the neighborhood that we lived in ó Coro Lake. Just growing up in the musical town of Memphis inspired me to do music.
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Did your music career begin with Three 6 Mafia, or were you making a name in the city before you joined the group?
I used to be on [the late] DJ Filaís mixtapes. He and DJ Pinky, I used to be on a lot of their mixtapes. How I ended up meeting [DJ] Paul was, I used to hang out with this girl named Kim, and she used to rap with Paul under the name of K9. She, for whatever reason, wasnít making her studio appointments on time, and Paul heard about me through Hillcrest [High School]. I used to go to the same school he went to. I used to rap in talent shows, and I had my own little name within the Memphis rap community. There wasnít a big a community of rappers at the time, and I was a girl. I was just in the pursuit of my music career, so I stuck with it. [DJ] Paul put me down on his mixtape, Vol. 16 [For Da Summa of Ď94] and the rest was history.
Since launching your career, you've gone from being recognized locally to nationally, and have been involved with many Gold and Platinum albums. How does it feel?
It feels great. I get to work with some of the best artists in the world. I get to be around some of the best people. I get to meet and do business with some of the greats. Itís pretty much like Iím living a movie. Iím living my dream. Itís great to do a song with Eminem. Itís great to do a song with Outkast, [and be featured on] Stankonia, one of their best albums. Itís just an honor to work with those types of geniuses, and they want to work with me as well. Itís motivational.
Shortly after the release of Three 6 Mafia's album, When the Smoke Clears: Sixty 6, Sixty 1, in 2000, you left the group, changed your name to Lady Boo, and decided to refrain from cursing in your music. What exactly caused you to leave the group and deliver a different message in your music?
I was young as hell. I was like 21 years old [when I left]. I was doing my thing. I [had been] traveling since I was like 16. So from 16 to 21 years old, seeing money and seeing stuff and going through stuff, I was extra-stressed and under pressure, and I wanted to try something different. I thought it was religion. I dipped and dabbled into it and found out it really wasnít for me, so I decided to be more spiritual than anything and just become a better person. Have a more positive attitude, because I pretty much used to walk around with the ĎI donít give a fu-kí attitude like I was Tupac or something. I really wanted to kinda leave all that in the past. I started reading more books and hanging out with Pastor Del and different people who uplifted my spirit at the time. You know, during my departure from Three 6 Mafia, I was at a down place in my life, but God brought me out of the darkness.
What made you return to "Gangsta Boo" and everything that the alias embodies?
Well, I never was gospel. Thatís one thing. What I said at the time was I donít want to curse in my music anymore. Thatís what I thought. I thought, ĎAw man, Iím about to be clean.í I guess I was going through so much that I just wanted to get away from anything negative, anything dark. And what converted me back to Gangsta Boo wasnít necessarily because Iím gangsta hardcore street, but [to me, gangsta] means "Getting a necessary greatness stimulating the abnormal." I get a kick out of it, which is the greatness part of it, when I stimulate the abnormal, which is people like Outkast, Yelawolf, Eminem, and Lilí Jon. All those people are abnormal. Theyíre not normal people, so when I stimulate them, I think itís a greatness and thatís gangsta. So I just decided that that fits me better then the whole Lady Boo thing, which is still in me. Itís Crazy Lady Gangsta Boo. Itís Miss Lola. Itís Miss Yea Hoe. I got a whole bunch of different code names. As you grow, you make decisions, [and] when youíre young, you make decisions.
Youíve had the opportunity to be on both a major and independent label. Which do you prefer?
Itís just the right situation. Of course when youíre major, youíve got more of a major push, but sometimes you can be sat on the shelf. I know a lot of people with major deals whose albums flopped. Theyíre doing better off their mixtapes. I think whatever situation fits you the best is the best situation for you. For me, itís the same thing. Whatever situation fits me the best, I think is a good situation. Right now, Iím affiliated with Drumma Boy, Drum Squad. Thatís like my brother from another mother. Weíre so close. And I have my own movement with my DJ, Speakerfoxxx. Sheís a dope DJ out of Atlanta, and weíre working on an indie-EP together.
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How did you develop a relationship with Drumma Boy?
Well, he was one of the first producers I got with when I left Three 6 Mafia. He was about 17 at the time, maybe 18. I went to his momís house in Cordova. He was so excited to meet me. I autographed his stuff.
He never judged me when I was considering going 100 percent clean in my music. He was still giving me beats. He was loyal throughout the whole, ĎOh, you messing with Gangsta Boo? She washed up. Oh, Boo ainít sh-t.í He stayed through all of that, so I just feel like me and him have some sort of loyal connection, and thatís why Iím down with him. I respect his movement. Dude is a young brother, and heís doing a lot of positive things for his city. I acknowledge that and I love having his energy around me. Heís a creative genius and heís going to end up being one of the greats.
You've had the opportunity to work extensively with both DJ Paul and Juicy J, as well as Drumma Boy in the studio. Is there a correlation between working with the two?
I honestly miss working with [DJ] Paul and Juicy [J] in the studio. As producers, theyíre some of the greats, just to be real. And does Drumma remind me of them? Uh, yeah but Drumma Boy reminds me of Drumma Boy. When Iím in the studio with him, I donít think about Paul and Juicy, maybe because itís been so long. Iíve been with Drumma pretty much since 2001. But in comparison to Paul and Juicy, I would pretty much consider them on the same level.
As far as production, Iím pretty content with Drumma Boy. Iím about to do some business with SpaceGhostPurrp. Iím working with Lex Luger, so Iím really not missing any type of beats as far as from Paul and Juicy. Iím working with some of the greats.
Did you ever think you would be the first female rapper from Memphis to gain national exposure and reach the plateau that you have?
I actually thought I would be bigger by now. I see way more things to come. This is like the beginning, and I feel like Iím finally about to get my just due this year. I donít know where the feeling is coming from, but Iím loving it. I feel like itís going to be a good year when I drop this mixtape. I didnít drop any mixtapes last year. I was just doing a lot of features. This time around, I want to drop my own mixtape, Itís Game Involved. Itís dropping on livemixtapes.com. Itís going to be featuring up-and-coming producers. Itís going to be featuring Crunchy Black, Future, Drum Squad, Young Buck. Iím looking forward to what I got going on.
Weíre going to do the whole tour thing. Like I said, working with Speakerfoxxx is giving me a dope advantage because sheís a fly white girl and she definitely taps into the hippie market and the indie market very well. And I gained a lot of new fans working with Yelawolf and Eminem [on the song "Throw It Up"]. Thatís why I say I still feel so new, because a lot of folks still donít know who I am. Iím still gaining new fans, and itís a real good feeling. I have so much more room to grow. So, yeah I saw it and I see it being even bigger.
What inspired you to title the mixtape, Itís Game Involved?
I couldnít come up with the perfect title, and I didnít want to force a title. I just wanted it to come to me. So you know, I did a song with E-40, and he was doing an interview. They were like, ĎYou got a song with Gangsta Boo. Yo, the Boo is back.í He was bigging me up. Telling me how Iím smashing on a lot of the current females right now. And after he finished bigging me up, he said, Ďand when she do it, itís game involved.í I was like, 'bam thatís my title right there.'
What exactly can fans expect from you with this new mixtape?
That Gangsta Boo they want. Ms. Yea Hoe. A lot of the ĎYea Hoeí ad-lib chants. A lotta classic songs. I brought Crunchy Black on there. Youíre gonna have a lot of classic, great music. And itís going to be totally different from my indie-EP. Thatís going to be for when I tour and do festivals like Coachella, but the mixtape is going to be for when I perform in the 'hood. Itís for my brothers in jail. My brothers and sisters in the struggle. Itís going to be the typical classic Gangsta Boo people have been fiending for, because my sound that Iíve had for so long is obviously still current, so itís like Iím not missing a beat. Iím still current. Itís like Iím superior. And the mixtape is going to be some real superior queen sh-t.
When will the mixtape be released?
Itís scheduled to drop in May. Itíll be right in time for Memphis in May, and Iím having a really dope exclusive mixtape release party in Memphis. Iím doing it in conjunction with the Memphis Jookers. Itís going to be a dope gangsta-walking a.ss mixtape.
Q & A with Gangsta Boo | Calling the Bluff
|2 years ago||class of '11 - away - #2|
Q& A With Gangsta Boo Part 2
Who is Gangsta Boo a fan of within the Memphis music scene right now, and what did you grow up listening to?
Iím an extreme fan of Young Dolph. I like P-London. I also have some young cats Iím working with out of Memphis. They gangsta walk. But as far as who I see doing their thing next out of Memphis outside of Drumma Boy, since heís pretty much established, is Young Dolph.
As far as what I grew up listening to: 8ball & M.J.G., Tela, Skinny Pimp, Ska-Face Al Kapone, Al Green, Isaac Hayes. All that Memphis sh*t.
Outside of music, I understand youíre active in the Memphis community.
Yeah, I wish I could be more active. This past Thanksgiving, I hung out with Stephen Brown at Logic Church. I helped them feed the homeless.
Iím also in the process of organizing some things where I can speak to women just to encourage them. The domestic violence situation is getting out of hand, and I just want to encourage women to get out of that situation. You donít really need to be with a guy if heís putting his hands on you. I want to be more involved in that.
And I want to be more involved in just saving Memphis. So anyway I can help, Iím putting it out there. Iím easy to reach. I follow Memphis Gun Down [an initiative launched by Mayor A C Wharton to help lower youth gun violence]. Iím just active in anything that has to do with bringing more peace to my city. More things to come. You know, free shows. Just whatever I can do to help, Iím down.
You participated in this yearís South by Southwest (SXSW) event in Austin, Texas. How was the experience?
SXSW was so fun. This was my second year performing. I just love the love, because there are so many different genres of music. There are so many different [races] of people. And itís all of your fellow artists. All of the bands. All of the free showcases. Itís just dope. I saw Trinidad James perform a couple times. It was so fun, because me and him are actually friends. I knew him before he blew up. It was dope watching him do his thing in front of the masses of people. I got a chance to catch up with Yo Gotti and his shows.
I saw you tweet that you got a chance to meet Ghostface k!llah at SXSW, which is one of my favorite rappers. I know that was a cool experience.
Meeting Ghostface k!llah was definitely one of the highlights of my career. Iíve been a long time Wu-Tang fan, so meeting him and getting the love that he gave me back and just still seeing him do his thing was great. Itís always an honor to see your fellow musicians, especially from the generation that I came up in still out looking well and doing their thing but also still getting the respect that they deserve. Shout-out to all of the new cats, but at the same time, if it wasnít for people like me or the Wu-Tang Clans, the Three 6 Mafias, the 8ball & MJGs, there probably wouldnít even be the whoís who of now, so itís always good to be around veterans of the game.
Is there anything else you would like readers to know?
All of the nonprofit organizations, if you ever need me to speak at a high school, college, or church about my testimony, my life story feel free to contact me at (901) 492-1240.
Also, I consult new and old talent in entertainment. My connects will save them time and money. Contact me for consulting monthly fees.
Lastly, I want to say rest in peace to my grandma. She used to love the Memphis Flyer. Grandma Mitchell, rest in peace. I wish you were still alive to see all of the success Iím about to get, but I know youíll be with me in spirit. I also want to say rest in peace to Natina Reed of the group Blaque. Wish she was still here to witness the stuff thatís about to go on with me.
|2 years ago||class of '11 - away - #7|
Mane Gangsta Boo was the first female a n*gga actually could listen to. She was one of the first female rappers to be able to hold her own with the n*ggas on the track. Hell sometimes she slaughtered the rest of Triple 6 on some songs.