‘90s Rapper Bo$$ Is Dead at 54 Years Old — Here’s What We Know

After releasing one modestly successful album in 1993, Bo$$ never released another album.


Mar. 12 2024, Published 1:01 p.m. ET

Bo$$ performing on stage in the 1990s.
Source: Getty Images

After years of health struggles, news broke in March of 2024 that Bo$$, the first female rapper ever signed by Def Jam Records, had died at the age of 54. Following the news of her death, many wanted to learn more both about who Bo$$ was and what the circumstances were that ultimately led to her death.

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Born Lichelle Marie Laws, Bo$$ originally came from Detroit but made a name for herself as a rapper after moving to Los Angeles. Although she didn't have an enormous career, many are remembering her music, and the legacy that she left behind.

Bo$$ with her DJ Dee in Chicago.
Source: Getty Images
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What was rapper Bo$$'s cause of death?

The news of Bo$$'s death was first reported by HipHopDX, but no cause of death was given along with the report. The news came after years of health struggles, though, including a stroke in 2017. In 2021, a GoFundMe was set up to help her get a kidney transplant. What's clear is that Bo$$ had lingering health issues in spite of her relatively young age. Following the news of her death, though, many also spent time looking at her legacy.

In 1991, Bo$$ rapped on AMG’s DJ Quik-produced track “Mai Sista Izza Bitch,” which is what first earned her the attention of Def Jam. She released her only solo album, "Born Gangstaz," two years later. The song included "Deeper," which sampled Barry White and ultimately landed at #65 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album reached #22 on the Albums chart, but didn't have the kind of success that Def Jam was hoping ahead of its release.

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Bo$$ was featured on a number of other tracks after the album's release and could have had a successful career. Her career was ultimately damaged by a 1994 Wall Street Journal article that suggested she didn't have as much cred as she might appear to. The story noted that Bo$$ didn't grow up in California, had grown up middle class, and that she had attended college. She mentioned all of that on her album, but the article slowed her momentum enough that she never released another album.

Source: Instagram/@djpremier
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Bo$$'s career ended in the 1990s.

After moving to Dallas to raise a child in the mid-1990s, Bo$$ worked as a radio DJ. She continued to record demos, but never found the same level of success that she had achieved on her first album. She never got the chance to launch a full comeback, although it's one that many in the hip-hop community likely would have welcomed.

Following the news of her death, tributes poured in from rappers who were contemporaries of hers, and from fans who remembered her music fondly.

"Rest in peace to my big sis Lichelle Laws, aka Boss. One of the best female MCs and a dear friend. Give Rick Royal a hug for me. Long Live The Org!" rapper Bun B wrote on Instagram.

Although her exact cause of death has not yet been determined, it's safe to say Bo$$ will be missed by many.

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