Gangsta Boo’s Death Begs The Question: “When Are We Going To Get Real About Addiction?”

From Mac Miller, who overdosed in 2018 at 26, to Juice WRLD, who overdosed in 2019 at just 21, the roster of drug-related deaths just keeps growing.

With the unexpected passing of Gangsta Boo, beloved Southern rap pioneer and member of Three 6 Mafia, it’s time to get brutally honest about drug addiction. Too often, people want to brush it under the rug and pretend like it’s not ruining their lives and the lives of those closest to them. “They’re just having a good time. They’re just living life. They only do it on weekends.” There’s a laundry list of excuses people want to make for those struggling with substance abuse—but they don’t want to do the one thing they need the most—get them help. While it’s true you can’t force somebody to get clean (trust me, I learned the hard way), you can certainly choose not to enable the addict to further spiral. 

A legendary MC—who I prefer to keep anonymous—struggled with alcoholism. When I lived in New Mexico, I used to book a lot of Hip Hop shows, and he was one of them. In 2010, this particular MC had just finished his set at the Santa Fe Brewing Company when I was leading him backstage. Nearly everyone in the audience either offered him a drink, put weed in his hand or asked him to smoke as we made our way through the crowd. Fortunately, he had a DJ who truly cared about him and did everything in his power to shield him from the endless sea of substances being thrust in his face, and he was mostly able to avoid it. 

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But this is what life is like for every artist. Fans think their day revolves around “sex, drugs and rock-n-roll” and are desperate to gain their approval or bask in their presence for even a minute, so they do anything it takes to get their attention, including offering them drugs and alcohol. I’ve seen it time and time again. Gangsta Boo was likely exposed to the same behaviors, making it even harder to get on a path to sobriety. 

In a May 2022 episode of Marriage Boot Camp: Hip Hop Edition, Gangsta Boo was busted with a “white powdery substance” in her room. The therapist, Dr. Ish, confronted her on the show and she acted clueless. In fact, she grew increasingly angry and threatened to walk off the show as the conversation went on. She later lashed out at Dr. Ish on Instagram and questioned his legitimacy in the field—despite his offer to get her into rehab.

Still, did anybody follow up? Did anybody say to her, “Hey Boo, let’s get you that help” or “Hey Boo, there’s no shame in needing some support.” 

While Gangsta Boo’s cause of death has yet to be confirmed, sources close to her are emphatic it was a drug overdose. TMZ also reported she had “narcotics on her person” believed to be a “fentanyl-laced substance” the night before she died. With the introduction of fentanyl into nearly every street drug, it’s become a game of Russian roulette. Gangsta Boo appears to be another addition to the long list of artists who’ve died from addiction. From Mac Miller, who overdosed in 2018 at 26, to Juice WRLD, who overdosed in 2019 at just 21, the roster of drug-related deaths just keeps growing. When will it be enough? When will people stand up and say, “You know what? Drugs are actually f###### wack.” Let’s normalize being healthy in 2023. Let’s normalize talking about addiction. Let’s normalize helping one another. Being sober isn’t “corny.” It’s not “lame.” It might just be your ticket to living a fruitful life. I, for one, quit in 2006 and it was the best decision of my entire life. 

At the end of the day, Gangsta Boo could’ve gotten the assistance she needed, but maybe she wasn’t ready. Maybe she didn’t have people in her inner circle willing to call her out. Maybe her bubbly personality, infectious optimism and sharp sense of humor masked her pain a little too well. But to say this is a monumental loss is an understatement. In addition to Gangsta Boo’s work with Three 6 Mafia and her unforgettable appearance on the 2020 Run The Jewels single “walking in the snow,” she popped up on several songs last year, including Latto’s “FTCU” featuring GloRilla. Coupled with her Drink Champs interview and Verzuz against Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, she seemed to be on her way to an Act II. Now we’ll never know.