The DJ and ‘Queen of ATL’ has died
Sad news came late on the evening of Saturday, December 22, when word spread that Atlanta DJ and stylist Speakerfoxxx had died. The Atlanta native was born Christen Nilan, or just Nilan to those who knew her, was 35 years old. After catching the world’s attention in 2012 with her sophomore mixtape, Dopegirl Anthems (released via Yelawolf’s Slumerican imprint) — a follow-up to 2011’s Dopeboy Anthems — she was dubbed by some the “Queen of ATL.”
Word of her death sent shock waves throughout the city’s music scene. The cause of death, according to friends and family, was a drug overdose. During a memorial service at Passion City Church on December 29, and a wake at Ria’s Bluebird the next day, family members and friends hosted a frank and transparent discussion about Nilan’s battles with drug addiction, attempts to check her into rehab programs, and interventions.
“Ultimately, Nilan succumbed to her biggest adversary; her long struggle with addiction” says Daniel Pollard, her longtime friend who performs under the name HXV.
Speakerfoxxx brought a singularly bold and progressive voice to Atlanta’s trap music scene. With the Dopegirl Anthems mixtape, which includes songs such as Unladylike’s “Bad Bitch Roll Call,” Terror Squad featuring Remy Ma’s “Take Me Home,” and Gangsta Boo featuring CoCo Brown’s “Pretty Pussy Lips,” Speakerfoxxx played selector for a pro-female grind, all the while never relying on girlie antics to make an impression. “Whether it’s dope ‘boy’ anthems or dope ‘girl’ anthems, what makes it an anthem isn’t a gender, race, class, or creed thing, it’s a lifestyle, an attitude, and a frame of mind,” Speakerfoxxx said in a 2012 interview with CL. “Yes, I am a girl in a male-dominated industry, but guess what, I can hold my own in both. Being a boss has nothing to do with gender,” she went on to say, and with Dopegirl Anthems, she drove the point home.
Over the years, Speakerfoxxx emerged as a leader of Atlanta nightlife. In 2011, she was inducted as a Ballers Eve resident DJ, and later earned a spot amid various DJ crews including the Queen Cartel and the Academy DJs. More mixtapes followed, as she rocked stages around the country DJing for Mike Will Made It, Rittz, and Gangsta Boo of Three 6 Mafia, and was a regular performer at Art Basel Miami, SXSW, A3C, and more. For her Cash Money Fridays residencies at El Bar, she shared turntables with one of the most influential hip-hop producers of all time, Mannie Fresh.
In 2015, Speakerfoxxx played a Boiler Room live set, and in 2016, she went into OutKast’s Stankonia studio with New York-by-way-of Atlanta artist Brittany BOSCO to step up the production for their one and only release together, Girls in the Yard (Fool’s Gold). Her death leaves a tremendous hole in the hearts of all who knew her.