When God came to Gangsta Boo, she listened. The rapper, who gained her fame as a member of sometime-darkside advocates Three 6 Mafia, has renamed herself Lady Boo and is exploring new ways to express herself creatively.
Although she appears on La' Chat's Murder She Spoke album and on the soundtrack for Three 6 Mafia's "Choices," both of which came out in October, the Memphis artist said she will no longer record with the group if they want her to present herself as the sassy, foul-mouthed, sex-starved rapper that she was on those recordings as well as her first two albums, 1998's Enquiring Minds and 2001's Both Worlds *69.
"I'm officially not a member of Three 6 Mafia right now," said Boo, who was saved in September. "I'm not going to be on the new Three 6 Mafia album unless they got some old songs that they've [already] recorded. But I'm not going to willingly participate in going to the studio and recording with Three 6 Mafia.
"There's no problem," she explained. "Sometimes people grow apart, and basically that's what it is. There's no drama, no beef. It's still the same. I just kind of grew apart, and I'm not doing things that they're doing. I'm not cursing in my music no more. We just grew apart like a marriage."
Boo said she is still signed to the group's Hypnotize Minds imprint, however, and Three 6 Mafia's DJ Paul said that she had indeed undergone a transformation. "She's gone Christian or something," he said. "She's been preaching and doing little seminars here and there" (see "Three 6 Mafia Flooding The Streets With Rhymes").
At these sessions, Boo explains why she's changed her name. "I wanted to change my name because of the stereotype that goes with 'Gangsta this' and 'Gangsta that,' " she said. "I wasn't living the gangster lifestyle, so I wanted to lose the name. Everybody was always telling me that it didn't fit me anyway. I was young. I grew up and matured, so I decided to go with 'Lady Boo,' since I say Lady Boo in my raps anyway. That was kind of like my code name."
It's a name that also mirrors her new role with God, whom she said sought her out. "He came to me," Boo said. "Half of my family is saved, and I didn't even realize that. He just always had a calling on me and I was kinda running from it. I was in and out of depression, and nobody was really around to take me away from that, so I would always end up praying to Him. I guess the stronger my prayer got, the more He was pulling on me."
Since being saved in September, Boo said she's been regularly attending church, sometimes every day, and has noticed a marked difference in her personality and her state of mind.
"Ever since then, I've been so happy," he said. "I've been more peaceful. I used to always have attitudes. I was around here wilding. Now I know myself. I was always into meditation anyway, so I think that helped, too."
Even though her dramatic change will alter her raps, don't think that the woman whose previous song titles include "Hard Not 2 Kill" and "I Faked It Last Night" will take the spiritual-music route.
"I'm not turning gospel," Boo said. "My rap is going to be reality rap. I'm going to rap about what I see and what I know. If I'm not smoking weed or doing a lot of stuff that I used to, then that's not what I'm going to rap about.
"I've toned it down a lot," she continued. "The last CD, Both Worlds *69, that's going to be the last crotch-grabbing [thing I do]. I toned my image down a lot. I'm not cursing in my music anymore. I wanted to clean my image up a whole lot and especially with all this stuff going on with
America and the world, we need more positive role models for our kids. They follow our lead. A lot of people say, 'Well, they know we're entertainers, and music doesn't have you doing this or that.' But yes, it does. If you have a song saying 'Tear Da Club Up' and that's what you're playing in the clubs, that's what you're going to do. I want to kind of uplift the kids and people's spirits more with the music I'm trying to do now."
Boo's new music will be profanity-free. She's now working with producer Drama Boy on music for her own Crazy Lady Records label, which she just started with her cousin and business partner Brian Portwood, who doubles as the rapper Stang. They've already recorded a song called "Crazy in the Last Days," which shares its title with CrazyNDaLazDayz, the 1999 album from Three 6 Mafia offshoot group Tear Da Club Up Thugs. The song's remix will be a tribute to victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Most importantly, Boo wants her impressionable female fans to know that there's more to life than money, a theme she'll be exploring on her upcoming work. "There's so many young girls that want to grow up so fast that are thinking that, 'I've got to get a man with a Bentley,' " Boo said. "No. The key is to get your own. Don't think that just because you sleep with him you're entitled to have this, because you're not. I think it's time for women in the industry to stop playing themselves."
Now that she's endured personal crisis and put her raunchy raps behind her, Lady Boo feels the utmost confidence in her new direction.
"I'm glad I changed," she said. "I'm glad I saw and realized what was going wrong with my life and corrected it. A lot of people can't correct their errors or their issues because they're scared of what people are going to say. But I'm not, though, because I've got to wake up to myself. I don't wake up to the world. The world don't go to sleep with me."