Weekly Wire
Memphis Flyer An Enquiring Mind

By Echo Hattix

DECEMBER 28, 1998:  Being naughty has been very nice for Gangsta Boo this year.

The 19-year-old rapper, known for her graphic, unexpurgated rhymes, earned her first gold record award (500,000 units sold) from the Recording Industry Association of America earlier this year for Three 6 Mafia’s major-label debut, Chapt. 2: World Domination.

Now the only female member of the Memphis sextet could soon earn another gold record all her own for her debut solo album, Enquiring Minds, on Hypnotize Minds/Relativity Records. Her first single, “Where Dem Dollars At,” has been heavily requested on rap stations across the country, and her second single, “Don’t Stand So Close To Me,” featuring the Tear the Club Up Thugs (Juicy J, Lord Infamous, and DJ Paul of Three 6 Mafia) looks to equal or better its success

Known for her aggressive rap style with Three 6 Mafia, Gangsta Boo reveals a much more relaxed side on the remarkably varied Enquiring Minds. And why shouldn’t she be? With one of most popular and best-selling of all the Three 6 Mafia solo projects, Gangsta Boo has surprised many who assumed she couldn’t make it in the rough-and-tumble, male-dominated society of hip-hop.

“I’m on a mission,” says Gangsta Boo. “And I’ll be damned if anyone tries to hold me back. When I set out to do this rap thing, I made a decision within myself to do what it takes to get me where I want to be. Early in the game, I got the wrath of people trying to persuade me to do something else, but I kept doing rap because I felt that’s what I needed to do.”

Although it may appear that this Southern bad girl’s success came overnight, it did not. She has been paying her dues since her early high school years. It was then, while still developing her rap chops, that Boo became one of the hottest artists, guy or girl, to ever hit the underground homemade-tape scene that has bred most of Memphis’ rap elite. She soon caught the ear of noted deejay and rap artist DJ Paul.

“Once I put on one mixed tape, it was on,” says fellow Three 6 Mafia member DJ Paul, who also helped produce Enquiring Minds. “People started asking me about her. They wanted to to hear more from her.”

DJ Paul wanted to hear more, too. When he first heard her tape, he was in the process of putting together a group with rival rapper Juicy J, and he soon recruited Gangsta Boo for the project.

Since then – from Three 6 Mafia’s initial success with “Tear the Club Up” to the group’s deal with Relativity and her shining cameos on projects such as MAG’s song “How U Like it” and Indo G’s “Remember Me Ballin,” – Gangsta Boo has actually grown more humble in the face of success. Although rap fans eagerly await her next album, they have some time. Enquiring Minds, which dropped late October, is doing Gangsta Boo justice right now.

“All of my shows have been packed with fans showing me nothing but love,” says Gangsta Boo. “I think one of my favorite shows was probably on an Army base. I really felt appreciated as an artist. I can tell you right now, I’ve honestly been shocked by the national attention I have received. My album Enquiring Minds gave listeners a verbalized picture of all that I have done, seen, or been through. My next album will verbally illustrate how I’ve grown in the music industry. It will expose the lessons I’ve learned, starting with lesson number one: Business and pleasure lead to destruction. Don’t ever mix business and pleasure, it is the ultimate no-no.”

In this season of giving, Gangsta Boo’s gratitude for her success has inspired her business to give back to the community that has supported her growing efforts. In conjunction with Hot 107.1FM, the rap diva gave a free concert last week at the Hard Rock Cafe on Beale Street to support underprivileged children. Attendees were required to bring a toy for admission.

“I’m always down for a good cause,” says Gangsta Boo.

And unlike a lot of other artists who felt the need to move away once they get a taste of the big time, Gangsta Boo says she remains committed to her hometown. She says she is really glad to have come from a city that doesn’t have an over-saturated pool of rap artists.

“One thing about Memphis, we have our own sound and our own style,” she says. “Simply because of the different flava, people are feeling our music. We don’t sound like anyone else.”

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