A Bay Area icon, Pam was a member of the beloved Oakland collective The Coup as well as a personal DJ to Prince in his final months.
Pam The Funkstress, best known for her role as DJ in the long-running Oakland rap group The Coup, has died at age 51, The San Fransisco Chronicle reports. Born Pam Warren, the Bay Area icon passed away from organ failure Friday night. She had spent over a month in the hospital after undergoing organ surgery. KBLX Radio, Warren’s former employer, confirmed her death after friends and colleagues shared condolences on social media.
“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,” reads a statement from the station. “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.”
After establishing herself as a respected club DJ, Pam was recruited by Boots Riley to work with The Coup in the early 90s. She contributed to albums including Kill My Landlord, Genocide & Juice, Steal This Album, Party Music, and Pick a Bigger Weapon. Warren appeared on the accidentally controversial original cover of Party Music, where she and Boots Riley were depicted in front of the exploding World Trade Center. The album was released a few months before 9/11, and the cover was later changed. After 2006’s Pick A Bigger Weapon, Pam left The Coup to focus on her club DJ career and catering business, but joined the group for live events in the Bay Area.
In 2016, Warren landed a gig as Prince’s personal DJ, performing at post-concert gigs and afterparties during the final two months of the singer’s life. Prince called her “Purple Pam.”
Artists, friends, fans, and family have shared thoughts on social media in wake of Pam’s passing. Read some of the posts below.
RIP Pam the Funktress, a Bay Area legend. pic.twitter.com/E4hhcNwbS5
— Too $hort (@TooShort) December 23, 2017
Rest In Beats SIS …damn this is a hurting one. THE COUP – PAM THE FUNKSTRESS (LIVE) – YouTube https://t.co/Ku2blpQhqX
— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) December 23, 2017
Rest In Peace And Soar In Glory Pam The Funkstress 🙏🏿Town Love & Town Bizzness 👊🏾💯 Peaceful Journey 🕊🕊🕊🕊🕊🕊🕊🕊🕊
— MC HAMMER (@MCHammer) December 23, 2017
r.i.p. pam the funkstress
— ghetto fragile. (@Mike_Eagle) December 23, 2017
Rest In Peace my friend! Thanks for allowing me to mix up some cool sounds with you plus you served up some great brunches at Piccadilly Catering and just the laughs we had. Pam Warren aka #PamTheFunkstress I hope your spinning for @prince again! https://t.co/1QE9QUxlU9
— Stanley Roberts (@StanleyRoberts) December 23, 2017