Bo$$, the first female rapper for Def Jam West, dead at 54
(Credit: CanvaPro)


Bo$$, the first female rapper for Def Jam West, dead at 54

One of hip-hop’s pioneering female gangsta rappers, BO$$ (real name Lichelle Laws), has passed away aged 54 from an unfortunate case of kidney failure. The emcee was a relatively unknown yet essential part of the West Coast scene in the early 1990s.

Although Laws was born and raised in Detroit, she is known as a West Coast emcee who operated musically out of Los Angeles, the home of the home of N.W.A and the birthplace of gangsta rap. Laws rose to fame under the wing of DJ Quik.

DJ Quik (real name David Blake) was behind much of the legendary G-funk churned out of LA in the 1990s and worked with Snoop Dogg, Kurupt, Tupac and many others during his prime. However, one artist from Inglewood he worked with regularly was AMG, who was one of the first MCs to embrace BO$$ and put her on a song on his debut album.

In 1993, the year that Doggystyle was released, a savvy and business-minded Russell Simmons decided to launch the LA-based Def Jam West. Laws was Simmons’ first artist on the label and was the first female act to sign with Def Jam ever.

BO$$ was an acronym for B*tches On Some Sh*t, and a duo that included Laws DJ Dee. Laws’ debut album, released in 1993, featured production from DJ Quik as well as Jam Master Jay and Erick Sermon.

The project entitled Born Gangstaz sold 400,000 copies, and it appeared that BO$$, akin to Lady Of Rage, may have become a female force to be reckoned with on the West Coast.

Although the debut was successful, a legal issue highlighted by the Wall Street Journal led to Laws getting dropped by Simmons. In 2017, Laws suffered a stroke after being diagnosed with renal disease. A 2021 GoFundMe raised $18,000 to assist with her medical bills. However, she never fully recovered. She has now passed away.