“Life is like a hotel, you check in and you check out.”
Those were some of the last words rapper Shotty Boo told his cousin and music partner, Joe Cross, before he passed away in late July after suffering from a long-term illness. To those who knew him, Boo was a gentle soul who showed love to everyone he met, but that didn’t stop him from building a reputation as one of the best freestylers in the Twin Cities hip hop scene.
From local rappers to those known around the country, Cross said Boo could easily beat anyone in a rap battle and never lost a single one.
And when the two first started recording together, he said they would often spend all night in the studio together, but despite the long hours, Boo was always ready with a fresh rap every time.
“He never wrote any of his rhymes for any of his albums, even the ones he didn’t do with me,” Cross said. “He would just get in there and you would listen to him like, ‘Did you write this?’ But you know he didn’t write it, because if you knew him, you knew him. Like who can remember that many rhymes in their head? He would just go into the studio and make six or seven songs in one night and it would just sound like, ‘Wow, you didn’t write this?’”
Boo loved making music and he always wanted to be in the studio, a place where Cross says he felt no pain.
Even after his passing, the reputation Boo worked hard to build for himself continues to live on, That’s something that became clear to Cross as he was taken aback by the amount of people who showed up to honor the rapper at a memorial picnic his family hosted.
“There was at least two, three hundred people out there who came to support,” Cross said, “He always used to say, ‘I’m a legend, when I die, the hood is going to miss me like Tiger Jack’s.’ which was an older guy who owned the little candy store in the corner, and he was right. He always used to say ‘I am a local celebrity, you got to understand that. I’m a local celebrity and I’m a legend.’ He always used to say that and to see how these people gravitated towards him and his death when he died, how many people showed up. It was kind of like when Notorious B.I.G. died, and they had his funeral and people were hanging out the window, that’s the kind of reception that he had.
Boo is survived by his five children and his fiancé. A funeral service, open to the public, will be held Friday, August 4 at New Hope Baptist Church with a viewing starting at 10 a.m.
Simone Cazares is a student at Saint Paul College. Originally from Miami, Fla., she survives Minnesota’s cruel winters by immersing herself in the Twin Cities music scene.