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  • Writer's pictureStacie Singleton

Remembering Bo$$ for Leading the Way for Women in Rap

How can we pay tribute to the Detroit Queen of rap, The Boss. The first lady rapper signed to Def Jam and a lyricist with her own unique style. She came and brought a lot of beauty and energy into a man driven world of music at the time and as we all know it was much needed and well taken back then. This intelligent woman was like a breathe of fresh air with a gangster twist and she was very easy on the eyes but she also let us all know she was not one to play with within the industry. She was spotted by the legendary member of NWA, DJ Quik who stuck her on a track with rapper "AMG" in 1991 called "Mai Sista Izza Bitch". AMG who real name is Jason Lewis and Boss attracted the attention of Def Jam Records, which was struggling to break into the blowing-up West Coast market. Russell Simmons liked the track and promptly signed her to Def Jam West. Her debut album, "Born Gangstaz" was released in 1993 and the singles, "Deeper" and "Recipe for a Hoe", hit number one on the Billboard Hot Rap Tracks chart.

Boss, who real name is Lichelle Marie Laws was born on September 12, 1969. She had a mid class upbringing with her parents in Detroit but due to early childhood poverties that came and went she had her ups and downs growing up. Her father was a autoworker and her mom was a teacher. Her parents were both deacons and she had two older sisters. In the mid-1990s, Laws relocated to Texas to record songs with Ricardo Royal, a.k.a. "Coco Budda", a rapper whose work she had admired. Laws settled in Houston, entered a relationship with Royal, and had a son, Lamar. Although living a more relaxed life, Laws recorded demos for a second album, funded by Def Jam, but the label rejected them, and she was dropped from the label. Laws took this development in stride, noting, "I was used to that kind of shit... I thought I was good enough to get another deal. But I just chilled in Texas. Then I got sick." Still performing shows despite up and down popularity in light of her lack of new releases and slow promotion, Laws moved to Dallas with Royal, where she took a job as co-host of a nightly hip-hop radio show on KKDA-FM, where she stayed for five years, recalling in 2004 "that was a bomb job".

By 1999, she was suffering kidney failure; she and Royal amicably split up, and she went to live with her parents, undergoing dialysis for three and a half years, experiencing "every complication that you have with... bad kidneys", and given a poor prognosis. At times of comparatively better health it came to light in 2011 that Laws was in need of a kidney due to her suffering from renal disease. Laws reached out her Facebook community for a potential donor, but none were found. In 2017, Laws suffered from a major stroke and seizure and on January 31, 2021 a GoFundMe was set up to raise $15,000 for a recommended medical procedure. By February 17, the NME reported it had reached only $2,215 but by March 3, it had surpassed the $15,000 goal, reaching $16,314.[ Laws had suffered from renal disease since 2011 and eventually found herself in need of a kidney transplant. Laws died on March 11, 2024, at the age of 54. She was still in good spirits and still creating music in her late days according to family and friends even though she was out of the limelight for a long while. Her mark in the music game will forever be respected and will always exist. Prayers go out to her friends and family and I am sure this hits deep within the music industry whether it is the generation she came through the door with or anyone within the new generation she paved the way for. Long Live The Bo$$.


(Music Video: The Boss - "Deeper")


(Music Video - The Boss - "Progress Of Elimination")

(Music Documentary (YouTube - (ThugTales) "The Story Of The Bo$$")


(Interview Clip - (1993) The Boss)


(Interview with Producer Def Jess) - A guest on Money B's "Goin' Way Back" Radio Show, discussing working with 90's female rapper "The Boss" and producing the "Deeper" song


(Interview Clip - (YouTube - (RE Classics) 1993


Rapper Eminem Mourns Rap Pioneer Lichelle BO$$ Law


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