The 'Turntable Queen' And Prince's Personal DJ, Pam The Funkstress, Dead At 51
The Bay Area hip hop legend was recently hospitalized after undergoing organ transplant surgery.
December 24, 2017 at 7:30 pm
The hip hop community is mourning the loss of another great industry pioneer. Pam Warren, aka Pam the Funkstress died Friday, according to Rolling Stone. Warren was in the hip hop duo the Coup and served as Prince's personal DJ during the last months of his life. She was 51 years old.
The Bay Area radio station KBLX confirmed Warren's death, and the San Francisco Chronicle reported that she died of organ failure. Warren was recently hospitalized after undergoing organ transplant surgery. Warren's family had established a GoFundMe page to help with medical costs.
"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 radio station said in a statement. "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."
Inspired by Salt & Peppa and DJ Spinderella, Warren started DJing in 1988 — building her reputation as a club DJ and serving as a guest DJ for a few East Bay rap groups. The Coup rapper Boots Riley recruited Warren to join the group in the early '90s. Warren contributed to four of the group's albums, including Genocide & Juice, Steal This Album, Party Music and Pick a Bigger Weapon. Over the years, Warren became known as the "Turntable Queen."
After Pick a Bigger Weapon in 2006, Warren left the Coup to focus on her catering business and being a club DJ. In February 2016, Warren auditioned to be Prince's personal DJ during his run of Bay Area concerts.
"When we first met, I was like, 'OK, Pam, don't act a fool,'" Warren told 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."
For the last two months of Prince's life, Warren — who Prince referred to as "Purple Pam" — would fly to the music legend's post-concert events or to the Paisley Park compound to DJ Prince's after parties.
Supporters, fellow DJs and fans responded to the news of her death on Twitter.
2017 couldn't end without losing another Hip Hop Great…RIP DJ Pam The Funktress (The Coup).
— DJ Mark Luv (@djmarkluv) December 23, 2017
RIP Pam the Funktress, a Bay Area legend. pic.twitter.com/E4hhcNwbS5
— Too $hort (@TooShort) December 23, 2017
I will always remember seeing Pam at a set literally loosen up and take off her bra while scratching Afro Puffs by Rage. Legendary.
RIP #PurplePam the Funktress – an #Oakland legend.https://t.co/EUAUc1f8G9https://t.co/TGIT6dHZ5B
— Chris Ferreira (@chrisdferreira) December 23, 2017