Da Brat burst onto the music step in the 1990s v a fast-paced rap style. She hosted her very own in the male-dominated genre that hip-hop v lyrics touching on drugs and violence. Her brazen style appealed both come hip-hop and also pop fans.

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Da Brat, actual name Shawntae Harris, to be born ~ above April 14, 1974, and grew up in Chicago, Illinois. She was increased in two households, by her mother and grandmother component of the time and also by her father and also his mother part of the time. She parents never ever married. At she mother’s house, Da Brat, who was known as “Shawnie,” wore long skirts and also attended a strictly Pentecostal church 4 times a week, where she play drums and sang in the choir. As soon as Da Brat started listening come rap music through artists like Monie Love and LL Cool J, she would mask the cassette covers through the name of gospel groups.

But in ~ Da Brat’s father’s place, wherein they dubbed her “Boo-Boo,” she called Sonia Murray in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “I might cuss once I want to, hear to whatever I wanted to and also beat up whoever my cousins told me to.” Da Brat attend Kenwood Academy, where she ran track and also played basketball. She has stated that she acquired her laboratory name due to the fact that she is “a spoiled just child,” follow to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article.

In 1992, Da Brat acquired her large opportunity as soon as she winner a neighborhood rap contest sponsored by Yo MTV Raps. For her cool prize, she was able to satisfy young duo Kris Kross, that were the hottest rap act top top the charts in ~ the time thanks to their popular single “Jump.” They presented her to their producer, Jermaine Dupri, that signed her to his so So Def label. “She rapped with so lot confidence,” he later commented come Murray, “and she wasn’t fear to say whatever.”

Dupri cultivated Da Brat’s picture as a female Snoop Doggy Dogg, and she came to be one that the first female “reality-based” rappers, finish with foul lyrics and also braggadocio. The ax “gangsta rap” was used previously, yet artists started to shy far from the term together their music started to cross over to the pop charts. However, Da Brat incorporated more of a funk and also rhythm-and-blues feel, owing to the sounds of 1970s groups like Parliament-Funkadelic. And also she affected a style more similar to Kris Kross, complete with baggy, behind pants, loose shirts, and hair braids. This come at a time when most female lab stars such as Salt-N-Pepa and Yo-Yo to be focusing an ext on their feminine side, both in dress and lyrics.

Da Brat’s debut, Funkdafied, came out in 1994 and also entered the lab album charts at number one. The single of the exact same title walk platinum, making her the an initial female rap artist to market a million duplicates of a debut single. The “Funkdafied” single also damaged a document by stop the peak spot ~ above the Billboard rap singles chart

For the Record…

Born Shawntae Harris top top April 14, 1974, in Chicago, IL.

Won local contest sponsored by Yo MTV Raps, 1992; signed v label therefore So Def and released debut, Funkdafied, 1994.

Addresses: document company; —So therefore Def Recordings, Inc., 685 Lambert Dr., Atlanta, GA 30324-4125.

for eleven weeks. Paul Evans in Rolling stone liked the album, calling the a “brassy charmer.” it featured both pop crossovers too as much more hardcore tunes. And, in an additional commonality v Snoop, Da Brat likewise included a track broadcasting she affection for marijuana: “Fire it Up.”

In October that 1996, Da Brat approve her second album, Anuthatantrum. If Dupri organized the an imaginative reins ~ above her first project, she stepped approximately give much more input top top this release. However, it sold only fifty percent as well as her vault effort, and also reviews were mediocre. At an early stage the next year, she collaborated v T-Boz native TLC top top the solitary “Ghetto Love.” She has also cut tracks through the likes the Mariah Carey (on remixes that “Always it is in My Baby” and also “Heartbreaker”), Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott (on “Sock It come Me”), and also Lil’ Kim (on the Grammy-nominated “Not Tonight”).

Meanwhile, part observers to be wondering what female rappers meant for feminism. Speak of artists like Da Brat, Lil’ Kim, and Foxy Brown, Joan Morgan created in Essence, “These girls possess undeniable talent, but longevity because that rappers depends a lot on safe, commercial appeal. Diva hoes don’t get dubbed to star in sitcoms or play that ail-American hero in mega-action films. And also none the them very own record companies.”

Just a couple of month after that post ran, though, Da Brat announced she had been to run her own label, mob Town, in her hometown of Chicago in addition to her boyfriend. “We currently got a pair of acts, children of the Ghetto and also Twenty II,” she remarked in the Voice. “We’re do the efforts to bring them out and also let the civilization know Chicago’s acquired talent.” She explained that she felt various other Windy City artist did no do enough to offer other neighborhood up-and-coming plot a hand, and she want to give something earlier to the community. She later also started a label referred to as Throwin’ Tantrums.

Continuing to occupational with Dupri, Da Brat in 1998 teamed through him to relax the solitary “The Party Continues,” which featured Dupri’s writing and also production skills as well together his rap talents. Likewise that year, Da Brat appeared on his full-length debut, Life in 1472, i beg your pardon featured performances by Carey, Nas, and also Jay-Z as well. Early the following year the pair issued one more single, “It’s Nothing,” likewise featuring R.O.C., which to be the first single indigenous the soundtrack to the Eddie Murphy claymation collection The P.J.’s.

Despite the recurring projects, artists favor Da Brat, Elliott, and Lil’ Kim uncovered it harder to rest into major stardom choose Queen Latifah and also Salt-N-Pepa had actually done earlier. But Da Brat remarked in USA now in June of 1999, “We space making an ext noise than we ever before have before. Slowly but surely us are getting ready to take it over. A couple of of us have actually our own labels, and we space working with artists and showing people how to perform it. We space paving the method for other people.” and also the standing of females in rap and also hip-hop gained a vast boost with the success that Lauryn Hill’s five Grammy wins in 1999.

Unfortunately, Da Brat made headlines in the spring of 2000 not for her music yet for a much-publicized incident that landed she in court. The March, she to be accused the striking a mrs in the head in ~ an Atlanta nightclub v a dull object after ~ an argument. The mrs reportedly compelled stitches. Since of the severity of the injuries, Da Brat’s charge was upgraded native misdemeanor battery come felony aggravated battery. The rapper continued to preserve her innocence. Her court day was collection for April 13 in Atlanta Municipal Court, just two days after the booked release the her 3rd album.

Later the same week, someone opened up fire top top a limousine leave Da Brat’s upscale apartment complex, write-up Chastain, close to Atlanta’s Buckhead district, whereby she had lived for 5 years after relocating from Chicago. 5 people, consisting of the limo driver, to be wounded in the attack, i m sorry police identified as a feasible retaliation related to the previously incident entailing Da Brat. However, that was later concluded the the shooting to be drug-related and also in no means connected through Da Brat or the injured woman from the bar. Da Brat, who said she remained in Cancun, Mexico, make a video clip when the shooting occurred, relocated out of the complicated shortly afterward.

Meanwhile, Da Brat’s 3rd album, Unrestricted, to be released in April. Murray composed that the occupational was “much wider lyrically” than previously efforts, and much more sexually oriented. In fact, the album location is an homage come the X-rated singer Millie Jackson’s work, “Totally Unrestricted,” and Jackson herself is also featured top top the introduction. Britt Robson in the Washington post remarked the on Da Brat’s brand-new release, “the tomboy has actually morphed into a still-naughty seductress, exchanging her baggy blue jeans for a black rubber bodysuit if wielding her quicksilver-paced, expletive-laced text on an ext sexually suggestive material.”

Unrestricted landed squarely at number one on the R&B/hip-hop chart once it to be unveiled and also clung come Billboard’s height ten album list. The single and video, “What ‘Chu Like,” featured a steamy duet with Tyrese, while various other cuts ranged indigenous Rasta rapping (”Back Up”) come a much more slinky sound (”Breeve ~ above Em”). Her next single, “That’s What I’m feather For,” which contained performers Dupri and Elliott, likewise made it to the peak ten of the pop, R&B, and also rap charts.

Telling roll Stone’s Jancee Dunn of she reaction when Unrestricted struggle number one, Da Brat related, “Oh man, I practically did earlier flips and also cartwheels. I obtained some Cristal and also drank the $250 champagne…. I’m really proud that this album, because I wrote every one of the verses myself.” In the meantime, like countless musical artists, Da Brat to be branching out into television and also film as well. She had actually a guest spot in the season premiere of the series V.I.P with Pamela Anderson Lee in the autumn of 2000, and other acting uses were reportedly putting in as well. In addition, Da Brat signed a contract with the Wilhelmina modeling company in 2000.

Selected discography

Funkdafied, for this reason So Def, 1994.

Anuthatantrum, so So Def, 1996.

Unrestricted, so So Def, 2000.



Atlanta Journal-Constitution, July 20, 1998, p. B2; march 11, 2000, p. G5; in march 13, 2000, p. A1; in march 14, 2000, p. C1; in march 14, 2000, p. C5; march 18, 2000, p. D3; in march 31, 2000, p. C1; April 10, 2000, pp. G1, G3; April 14, 2000, p. D3; April 20, 2000, p. D1; June 1, 2000, p. D6.

Billboard, October 5, 1996, p. 92; respectable 24, 1996, p. 19; February 8, 1997, pp. 63, 76; march 27, 1999, p. 24.

Entertainment Weekly, November 22, 1996, p. 138.

Essence, march 1997, p. 76.

Los Angeles Times, January 12, 1997, p. 72.

Rolling Stone, December 29, 1994, p. 182; might 11, 2000, p. 132; June 22, 2000, p. 41.

USA Today, July 28, 1994, p. 1D; June 25, 1999, p. 6E; April 11, 2000, p. 6D.

Voice, may 26, 1997.

Washington Post, April 30, 2000, p. G10.


“Da Brat,” every Music Guide, http://allmusic.com (September 1, 2000).

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“Da Brat,” roll Stone, http://www.rollingstone.com (September 8, 2000).