The Origins and Evolution of La Chat
An exploration of the Memphis pioneer's career, from high school talent shows and early Three 6 guest appearances to her 'Murder She Spoke' debut and beyond.
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Memphis MC La Chat started rapping in third grade by reciting her poem about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during Black History Month. In seventh grade her principal read her “Peace in the Middle East” rap over the school intercom and she decided to hand out physical copies of her lyrics to her admirers afterwards. “I was pressing them up and passing them out and letting people read them, giving them to teachers and lots of different people,” she told Tyrone in a 2012 So Many Shrimp interview. “So, from that point on I thought I was a rapper.”
By 9th grade La Chat’s talent show performances were catching the attention of Three 6 Mafia member Juicy J, who was just starting to make a name for himself with solo and collaborative underground tapes sold throughout the city. He eventually called her house to ask her to rap for him over the phone, though La Chat declined because her mother was in the room at the time.
When he called again she did an impromptu performance for him which led to several guest verses on other artist’s tapes. One of her first appearances happened at age 17 alongside Crunchy Black and Juicy J on the ultra-dark “Body Full of Bullet Holes” from Juicy’s ‘95 Greatest Hits tape.
La Chat earned another impressive notch in her belt the same year with a steller verse on the title track from Three 6 Mafia’s debut studio album Mystic Stylez.
Work outside of the Three 6 camp came the following year with “Last Alternative” (also featuring 2-Face) and “Gangsta Forever” (also featuring Playa Fly) from esteemed Memphis veteran Tommy Wright III’s On The Run album.
One year later she spit flames on “Let Me Kill ‘Em” from the 10 Toes Down, a record released by Wright III’s supergroup 10 Wanted Men.
According to the excellent aforementioned So Many Shrimp interview, Lat Chat moved away from Memphis for a bit right as Three 6 signed with Relativity and started to blow up on a larger scale. But she was back in the fray by 2000, appearing on “Touched Wit It” from their 2000 LP When the Smoke Clears: Sixty 6, Sixty 1 alongside guest verses from Fiend and Mr. Serv-On.
By 2001 she was primed to release her solo debut Murder She Spoke. For the single “You Ain't Mad Iz Ya” DJ Paul and Juicy J took two familiar Memphis sample stapes (Isaac Hayes “Ike’s Mood I” and The Showboys “Drag Rap”) and put an interesting spin on them. The beat makes for an effectively spare head-nodder aided by some string samples and a back and forth exchange between Chat and Juicy on the hook.
Though “You Ain't Mad Iz Ya” features guest verses from Juicy J and DJ Paul, La Chat sounds equally confident and comfortable carrying the song by herself on other album standouts like “Don’t Sang It.” The track features a slick Paul and Juicy flip of composer Richard Band’s spine-tingling Puppet Master I & II score and an incredibly subtle “Drap Rap” drop underneath the hook. La Chat spits her verses with the greatest ease while she takes aim at the opposition.
According to La Chat, she moved 250,000 units of Murder She Spoke but saw no royalty payments for her promising debut. Further frustration over not being compensated for her work in the Choices movie and her appearance on the platinum Project Pat single “Chickenhead” led to a separation with Three 6 Mafia and the Hypnotized Minds camp.
On her 2004 sophomore effort Dramatize La Chat took the opportunity to vent about the situation on the first verse of “Where Was U,” a song she has since cited as one of her favorites. Though she would be more than justified in still feeling anger over the situation with Three 6, more recent interviews seem to indicate that La Chat is now focused on moving on.
Thankfully La Chat didn’t let the harsh realities of the industry prevent her from continuing her frequent live performances and consistent studio output. She recorded and released several records in the 20 years following Murder She Spoke, including her 2014 Gangsta Boo collaboration Witch, 2015’s Murder She Spoke II, and her most latest full-length offering Drama Queen- Who Want Smoke?.
Recent offerings like the Gangsta Boo, La Chat, and Kholebeatz single “Moving Slow” demonstrate that La Chat has plenty of verses left to spit and she isn’t finished telling her story yet.
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