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Detroit rapper BO$$, Def Jam's first signed female Hip-Hop gangsta rapper passes away at 54

Lichelle Laws, the Detroit rapper known as BO$$ and one of Hip-Hop's first female gangsta rappers, passed away according to a family spokesperson.

In the 1990s, Laws was signed to Def Jam West, the West Coast-based offshoot of Russell Simmons' Def Jam Recordings, where she was DJW's first female signee.


Her 1993 single "Deeper", spent three weeks at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Rap Songs chart.

The video, in which she's filmed rapping behind bars and while in a strait jacket, was a staple on "Yo! MTV Raps" and BET's "Rap City."

BO$$ was an acronym for "Bitches On Some Shit"; and the female persona that satirically challenged the male dominance of Hip-Hop's sub-genre of street reality-rap.


Laws grew up on Detroit's west side.

She was writing her own rhymes and dreamed of a rap career, but not finding any opportunities in Detroit, she fled to New York, and later to Los Angeles, where she struggled to make ends meet. "It was hard. We didn't have any place to stay. We ran out of money and had to sell dope," she told The Detroit News in 1992. "I'm not proud of it, but it was a matter of survival."


In L.A., Laws befriended DJ Quik, who introduced her to rappers AMG, 2nd II None and the Penthouse Players Clique. She rapped on "Mai Sista Izza B----," a duet with AMG which was included on his 1991 debut album, "B---- Betta Have My Money."


Born Gangstaz, the debut album from BO$$ was technically a collaboration between Laws and her DJ, Irene 'Dee' Moore — and released in May 1993.

It featured production by Def Jef, Jam Master Jay and Erick Sermon, along with cameos from Onyx, AMG and Laws' parents, Lillie and Joe. It sold nearly 400,000 copies and spun off the singles "Recipe of a Hoe" and "Progress of Elimination."


Laws was the subject of a Wall Street Journal article that called her gangsta bonafides into question, even though the WJS article supposedly exposing revelations — that she grew up in a middle-class home, studied ballet and was a cheerleader — were actually from interludes of her parents' dismay intentionally recorded on the album.


Regardless, Entertainment Weekly wrote in an A- review, "'Born Gangstaz' works because (its) lyrics hover between celebration, regret, and horror."

In the 2004 Detroit Metro Times article Same as the old Boss, BO$$ recalled, “Critics started f--king with me, sayin’ ‘She’s from a middle-class neighborhood, how can she be gangsta?’ Ya know I killed a million n----- on that record. They weren’t getting it. There’s gangsters all over the place — ones that went to Harvard in the business world….”. “Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown, Yo Yo would be nothing without Boss. She’s the first one to start calling herself a bitch,” says Chill, laughing. “Her first album sold almost 400,000 copies. That’s unbelievable.” >


She was definitely a force - in the manner of which all other female rappers started speaking up in the name of womanhood via Hip-Hop.


BO$$ appeared on "One Nation," a track on St. Louis rapper Sylk Smoov's debut album, as well as the soundtrack to the Detroit-filmed "Zebrahead," alongside artists such as MC Serch, Flint's MC Breed, and a young Nas - still known at the time as Nasty Nas.

She also drop verses for a Krayzie Bone track, “Rollin’ Up Some Mo”.


Many Hip-Hop legends expressed their appreciation of BO$$ - via social media - upon learning of her death.

A public memorial will be held March 23 in Detroit at a location to be announced.


• SOURCE: Detroit rapper Boss, pioneering female gangsta rapper, dies at 54; Rapper born Lichelle Laws topped Billboard's rap chart with 1993's 'Deeper.' >

*VIDEO: Boss "Deeper". WhenRapCityWasDope >


*RehaB101 Original New School Webcast > #RehaB101ONSW newsfeed.


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