January 22, 2018

The Coup’s Pam the Funkstress, Rest in Peace!

This just makes the holidays sadder, but for 51 years, the revolution was a party thanks to her!

Pam “The Funkstress” Warren, who for 25 years stood at the turntables as the DJ for the politically revolutionary hip hop band the Coup, and had also spun for Prince as well, died on Friday after battling medical problems and recently being hospitalized. She was 51.

KBLX-FM, in the San Francisco Bay area, who was Warren’s former employer confirmed the news of her death via a Facebook post and on their website, also urging fans to give support to her mother and family via a GoFundMe campaign.

“The KBLX Family would like to send our love, prayers and condolences to the family and friends of Pam Warren, AKA Pam the Funkstress, The Turntable Queen, who passed away on Friday,” the post read. “She was one of the finest DJs on the planet, a true legend and she was family! Information about public services will be forthcoming. We will miss you Queen.”

Based in Oakland, California, The Coup is a hip hop band that is known not only for being influenced by funk, hip hop, punk and soul, but also for the politically charged lyrics of lead rapper Boots Riley, whose lyrics critiqued and lampoons American politics, capitalism, police brutality racism, and other issues. Warren joined the group in 1992 and appeared on their first full-length album 1993’s Kill My Landlord. She would also contribute to Genocide and Juice, Steal This Album, Party Music and Pick a Bigger Weapon before leaving the group to concentrate on her work as a club DJ and contribute mixes to KBLX 102.9,  In 2016, Prince tapped her to be on what would ultimately be his final tour before his passing in April of that year.

Warren and the Coup are also known for their activism and community service, and she also had a catering business in the Bay Area’s Foster City called Piccadilly Catering. News of her passing hit the hip hop community hard, as tributes appeared on Twitter from such notables as Chuck D of Public Enemy, fellow Oakland hip hop artist MC Hammer, director Ava DuVernay and singer Goapele, who is also from Oakland.

Pam the Funkstress is considered a music trailblazer as one of the first female DJs in hip hop.

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