The Coup’s DJ Pam The Funkstress Dies at 51, Hip-Hop Community Reacts
Bay Area legend DJ Pam the Funkstress died of organ failure on Friday (Dec. 22), according to the San Francisco Chronicle. She was 51.
The legendary DJ, whose real name is Pam Warren, was a member of the Oakland hip-hop collective The Coup featuring Boots Riley. Warren was also Prince’s personal DJ, known as Purple Pam, during the final months of the music icon’s life.
Recently, Warren was hospitalized after undergoing organ transplant surgery. Bay Area radio station KBLX confirmed her passing online. The statement reads:
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. 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.
Warren was a trailblazing music artist and recognized among the first female DJ in hip-hop. She was also a champion and voice of the Bay Area hip-hop scene.
During the late ‘80s, Warren made a name for herself as one of the best DJs in the Bay Area. As a member of the politically charged Coup, she contributed musically to four albums, including 1994's Genocide & Juice, 1998's Steal This Album and 2006's Pick a Bigger Weapon.
In 2001, the Coup sparked controversy over their album cover for Party Music, which depicts Warren and Riley blowing up the Twin Towers. Although the group claimed the artwork was created months before 9-11, they changed it out of the respect for the families who lost loved ones in the terroristic act.
In February 2016, during Prince's run of Bay Area concerts, Warren auditioned to serve as Prince's personal DJ. "When we first met, I was like, 'OK, Pam, don't act a fool,'" Warren recalled to the San Francisco Chronicle in May 2016. "I was trying to keep my composure, because this is fricking Prince. It's like Elvis Presley or Michael Jackson. It doesn't get any higher than that."
In-between DJing gigs with Prince, Warren also ran a catering business in her neighborhood. “I’m cooking up the beats in the kitchen, and I’m stirring up the beats on the turntable,” she said.
Upon hearing the news of Warren's passing, DJs, rappers and friends went on Twitter to pay tribute. Read some of them below.
Rest In Beats, DJ Pam the Funkstress. Thank you for your service.