Pam Warren—a.k.a. Pam The Funkstress, a.k.a. Purple Pam, a.k.a. the Turntable Queen—has died, Rolling Stone reports. Best known for her sonic collaborations with Oakland-area rap outfit The Coup, Warren was a celebrated hip-hop artist who also served as the personal DJ for Prince in his final months.
According to The San Francisco Chronicle, Warren grew up in Foster City, California, with dreams of becoming the West Coast’s first prominent female DJ. She hooked up with The Coup’s Boots Riley in the early ’90s, and ultimately scratched and blended on four of the band’s politically charged albums, including Genocide & Juice and 1998's critically beloved Steal This Album.
Outside her musical work, Warren also ran a successful Bay Area catering company, serving up soul food cuisine. In February of 2016, she auditioned for the post as the personal DJ to Prince, a gig that saw her frequently fly out to perform post-concert shows for him in the final two months of his life. Talking about the audition, Warren once said, “When we first met, I was like, ‘OK, Pam, don’t act a fool.’ 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.”
Warren’s contemporaries and admirers eulogized her musical ability and her boundless positivity on social media today, paying tribute to the Turntable Queen:
Warren died of organ failure on Friday, at the age of 51. There’s currently a GoFundMe campaign in place to help her family cover medical costs.