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​Def Jam rapper Boss has passed away aged 54

today18/03/2024 1

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Detroit-born rapper Boss, one the first women to sign to Def Jam, has died aged 54 following a battle with kidney failure, according to The Detroit News.

A family spokesperson told the publication that Boss passed away on Monday, March 11, at Ascension Providence Hospital in Detroit’s Southfield.

According to a GoFundMe page, Boss had battled renal disease since 2011 and needed a kidney replacement as a result. In 2017, she also suffered a “major stroke and seizure”.

The fundraiser collected almost $18,000 toward a specialised procedure and kidney transplant. An update in May 2023 confirmed that Boss was “doing good”, but was working through challenges.

Boss, real name Lichelle Marie Laws, was sought out by Def Jam’s co-founder Russell Simmons in the ‘90s, and signed to his West Coast offshoot label West, becoming the first female signee. She would also be one of the first female rappers signed to Def Jam Recordings after Nikki D.

She released her debut album, ‘Born Gangstaz’, in 1993, of which singles including ‘Deeper’ and ‘Recipe for a Hoe’ hit Number One on Billboard’s Hot Rap chart.

Def Jam went on to fund her second album, but ultimately rejected her demos. By this time, she’d relocated to Houston, Texas, and remained there before she became ill.

Boss continued performing and playing shows, and toured with the likes of Run-DMC, Dr. Dre, and more, and eventually pivoted to radio. She became the co-host of a nightly hip hop show on KKDA-FM after moving to Dallas with her then partner, Ricardo Royal, AKA ‘Coco Budda’.

At the start of the millennium, Boss collaborated with Krayzie Bone on his ‘Thug On Da Line’ record, and later released a mixtape produced with Def Jef, ‘The Six Million Dollar Mixtape’.

Read some tributes below.

[Via: The Detroit News]

Gemma Ross is Mixmag’s Assistant Editor, follow her on Twitter

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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