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Boss, First Female Rapper on Def Jam, Dead at 54: 'One of the Best Female MCs'

The rapper had longstanding health issues that led her loved ones to request help through a GoFundMe campaign in 2021.

Boss
Source: YouTube

Boss, the first female rapper signed to Def Jam in 1993, has died at age 54.

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Boss, the first female musician signed to Def Jam Records, has died at age 54. News about the artist born Michelle Marie Laws came in an Instagram post from the rapper Bun B.

"Rest in peace to my big sis Lichelle Laws AKA Boss," he said on Monday, March 11.

"One of the best female MCs and a dear friend. Give Rick Royal a hug for me. Long Live The Org!"

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Boss
Source: YouTube

She was best known for her 1993 record 'Born Gangstaz,' which included hits like 'Deeper' and 'Recipe of a H-e.'

No cause of death has been reported at this time, but the rapper did have longstanding health issues.

A 2021 GoFundMe campaign was started to pay for her medical care after Boss had a stroke in 2017. The page also revealed that she had been struggling with kidney disease since 2011.

"I just wanted to stop by and let everyone know that Boss is doing good," said an update posted to the GoFundMe in May 2023. "We still are working through some challenges but the healing journey continues."

The organizer of the GoFundMe didn't immediately respond to Q's request for comment.

Boss grew up in Detroit. She moved to Los Angeles after she spent two years studying business at Oakland University in Michigan. The rapper was discovered by DJ Quik, who helped her get on the AMG track "Mai Sista Izza B–ch" in 1991.

That's how she caught the attention of Def Jam's Russell Simmons, who signed to her the label. The rapper's debut album Born Gangstaz came out in 1993.

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Boss saw some commercial success with singles like "Deeper" and "Recipe of a H-e," but she wasn't popping off quite like some of the other Def Jam artists at the time, Stereogum reported.

Her career took a big hit in 1994 when the Wall Street Journal reported that the rapper grew up middle class and attended a private Catholic school and college.

None of that was a secret beforehand, but Boss never released another solo album.

That didn't mark the end of her music career. Boss moved to Dallas in the mid 1990s where she worked as a radio DJ and raised her child.

The rapper also contributed to Krayzie Bone's 2001 album. She put out at least two mixtapes in the years that followed.

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Tributes from other musicians poured in following Bun B's post. Jermaine Dupri, Jadakiss, 9th Wonder, Ed Lover, Lloyd Banks and Slim Thug all left comments.

"R.I.P. BO$$. Condolences to your family...SALUTE DETROIT!" DJ Premiere said in his own Instagram post.

"We did a dope 'Deeper Rmx' (Def Jam) never released. Back in 1993 she came to D & D and recut her vocals to my beat. It was so RAW. We had a good session drinking 40's, puffin Lah and vibing. Can someone at Def Jam find that in the Vaults? I want a copy of that Remix.

"Sleep Peacefully Queen. S–t was mad real."

Boss
Source: YouTube

The rapper had longstanding health issues that led her loved ones to request help through a GoFundMe campaign in 2021..

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Warren G also posted a brief tribute to Instagram: "Rip Lichelle aka Bos one of the Dopest females to rap and was a good friend and label mate."

The producer Battlecat paid his respects on the platform, as well.

"I HATE POSTING BUT PEOPLE GOT TO KNOW WHO SHE WAS FROM (Detroit) VERY OWN FIRST FIRE INCREDIBLE M.C. BO$$ TO COME OUT AND SET THE TONE WITH GANSTA RAP IN A LYRICAL HEART FELT WAY," he said. "REST IN DETROIT QUEEN & THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING !"

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