Highly regarded for her outstanding crowd rocking turntable talent, Pam Warren best known as Pam the Funkstress passed away last night (Dec. 22) at the age of 51.
Warren died from complications following an organ transplant surgery. Her death was confirmed by Bay Area radio station KBLX and San Francisco Chronicle.
“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, December 22nd, 2017. 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.”
On November 12th, the Funkstress announced on Instagram that she has been forced to cancel all of her upcoming gigs due to what she described as “unforeseen health issues.” She was hospitalized at an undisclosed Bay Area hospital, where she was recovering from a successful, and at the time, concealed surgery. Many people in the hip-hop community were uneasy about the news, as reports about Pam’s critical condition invaded social media. Fellow The Coup member, Boots Riley, took to Facebook two weeks after her surgery, to reassure the status of the treasured DJ’s condition. “Pam the Funkstress is still in the hospital recovering from an emergency, life-saving surgery. She is not out of the woods yet,” writes Boots.
Please send all your love and good energy out to Pam The Funkstress who in the hospital in critical condition. She is a Bay Area legend who has always loved and supported young artists. We love you Pam. pic.twitter.com/YmjAJQwfFK
— Daveed Diggs (@DaveedDiggs) November 17, 2017
Following the surgery, a GoFundMe page was made, PamFunkstressLoveRecoveryFund, with a $25,000 fundraising goal for the financial well being of the treasured Bay Area disc jockey.
According to the GoFundMe page, the prognosis for Pam’s condition was excellent even though her road to recovery was estimated to be elongated. The page reveals that during her birthday weekend, she suffered from an unexpected sickness which lead to her to being hospitalized in ICU. The undisclosed sickness required for her to conduct organ transplant surgery, which was performed three weeks after the hospitalization.
Despite being on the verge of recovery after a successful organ transplant surgery, “Purple Pam” died from the surgery’s complications on Friday night.
Dubbed as the “Turntable Queen,” Pam started spinning in the late 80s after she became touched by the sounds of Salt ‘N Pepa, and in particular, the spins of DJ Spinderella. She gained acclaim as a turntablist in the early 90s as the DJ for the politically receptive Oakland, California hip-hop band, The Coup. She curated the unforgettable scratches heard on their debut album, 1993’s Kill My Landlord, triggering the collective influential mark on the region.
She went on to become an in-demand DJ as her mastery in skill with rocking funk, soul, and r&b records became a signature force throughout the hip-hop community eventually sharing stages with icons such as Grandmaster Flash, KRS-One, and Diddy.
In 2016, The Funkstress solidified a position as the official Bay Area DJ for the late legendary musician, Prince. She is one of the last figures to work with the late icon, as her last gig with the Purple Prince was five days before his death for a “Paisley Park After Dark” party. Warren was dubbed by Prince as “Purple Pam” and she continued to perform gigs in his honor after his death.
“When we first met, I was like, ‘OK, Pam, don’t act a fool,’” The Funkstress recalled in a 2016 interview with San Francisco Chronicle. “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.”
The hip-hop community immediately sent their condolences towards Pam the Funkstress and her loved ones following the news of her passing, shocked in grief over the loss of the Bay Area icon. She is recognized as being one of the first notable female disc jockeys of the Bay Area, whose knowledge on soul, funk, and classic r&b music was impressively extensive, her vinyl collection was above average which was avidly reflected in her turntable tactics. Pam the Funkstress’ fearless presence in the female DJ world birthed confidence for women to hit the faders without being questioned.
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
— ⚡️DJ Styles⚡️ (@somanystyles) December 22, 2017
Saluting the life + work of Pam the Funkstress. Legendary west coast icon. Passionate artist and pioneer for women in hip hop. May she rest in power and peace. pic.twitter.com/GPF6wkBtpF
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) December 23, 2017
The Coup is one of the best and most important groups in hip hop, R.I.P. Pam the Funkstress
— dream hampton (@dreamhampton) December 23, 2017
#RIP Pam the Funkstress ?
— Rah Digga (@therealrahdigga) December 23, 2017
— Questlove Gomez (@questlove) December 23, 2017
— ledisi (@ledisi) December 23, 2017
RIP Pam the Funktress, a Bay Area legend. pic.twitter.com/E4hhcNwbS5
— Too $hort (@TooShort) December 23, 2017