Samoan rapper remembered as a pioneer
Tributes have poured in for Samoan hip hop pioneer and father-of-five, Paul DeVoux - aka Gangsta Ridd - who is being remembered as a trailblazing artist after he passed away last weekend.
DeVoux, who was 52 years old, died of renal failure in a California hospital, a family member confirmed.
DeVoux, a member of pioneering group the Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E, is remembered as the “the life of the party,” a man who loved his family dearly and blazed trails in the American music industry for Samoan artists.
The American hip hop community was thrown into mourning by news of DeVoux's passing.
“I just woke up to the Terrible news,” rap legend Ice-T tweeted. “My very close homie ‘Gangsta Rid’ of Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E passed away yesterday.
"My love and condolences go out to the family."
Reverend James Kerisiano DeVoux told the Samoa Observer Paul was “the life of the party” whose presence will be sorely missed at family gatherings.
“Ridd was the life of the party. He always had jokes – he was always being ‘extra.’ He loved hard. He also had this infectious laugh that anyone who knew him would be able to recognize his laugh anywhere,” said Rev. DeVoux, who was the deceased’s first cousin.
“We are going to miss him so much. Family gatherings aren’t going to be the same without him!”
The Reverend and Gangsta Ridd were born and raised in Carson, California. Although first cousins, they grew up together as brothers in a place called Happy Valley.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, no one was allowed to visit Paul when he was at the hospital, said Rev. James.
“No one was able to see him or be with him because of the COVID restrictions – so we prayed at home and said our goodbyes via FaceTime,” Rev. DeVoux said.
Rev. DeVoux dispelled media reports from music news sites such as NME that Gangsta Ridd had died after contracting COVID-19.
“He passed from renal failure, not COVID-19,” Rev. DeVoux said.
With his brothers Vincent DeVoux (Gawtti), Donald DeVoux (Cobra), Danny DeVoux (OMB), and late brother Ted DeVoux (Godfather), Ridd formed the Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E. in the late 1980s.
The DeVoux brothers are children of a pastor and got their start in music in church.
Their legacy as the first Samoan hip hop group is now part of American musical history.
Friends of Ridd are paying tribute to his memory and expressing their condolences to the DeVoux family across social media.
Tanoai Reed, stunt double for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson posted tributes for Ridd on his Instagram and Facebook accounts.
“Sending my deepest condolences to the whole Devoux Aiga and my Boo-Yaa Tribe brothers. Rest easy my uso [Ganxsta Ridd]. Thank you for setting the stage for future generations of Pacific Island artists, and thank you for keeping me banging hard in the gym and getting me hyped before every football game. See you when we get there,” Reed wrote.
Island music artist George Veikoso, better known as Fiji, called Ridd a trailblazer, pioneer, and a legend in an Instagram post.
“Rest in love uso. We lost a great pioneer in music Gangsta Ridd. Trailblazer. Legend. West in Peace,” Veikoso said.
Paul is survived by his five children.
“He loved his family very much, from his brothers, sister, to his cousins, nephew and nieces,” Rev. DeVoux told the Observer.
Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E released their debut album ‘New Funky Nation’ in 1990.
They would go on to release seven other albums, including 2003’s ‘West Koasta Nostra’ which featured the track ‘911’ featuring rap superstar Eminem.
In 2018, one of the group’s other members, Ted “Godfather” Devoux also passed away at 55.
Funeral details for Gangsta Ridd are pending.