“I still have a lot to learn. I am the best and I will be the best at what I do, but I still have a lot to learn.” Da Brat
Female rapper Da Brat enjoyed dramatic success in the 1990s with her platinum debut album Funkdafied (1994), which also went platinum for its title song. She then built her status in the hip-hop music industry through recordings like Anuthatantrum (1996) and Unrestricted (2000). However, her latest album Limelite, Luv & Niteclubz (2003) did not fare as well.
Da Brat’s name was known more for her featured appearance in other artists’ songs, such as Mariah Carey’s “Always Be My Baby (Mr. Dupri Mix)” (1996), “Honey (So So Def Mix)” (1997) and “Loverboy” (2001). She also worked with mentor/producer Jermaine Dupri in “Da B Side” (1995), “The Party Continues” (1998), Destiny’s Child’s “Jumpin’ Jumpin” (2000) and some other tracks.
Da Brat, who drives a Mercedes-Benz SLK and BMW M3 drop top, does not create many headlines (so far) about her love life. However, when asked whether she found some difficulty in finding a partner, the rapper stated, “No, it’s not hard at all. I will probably find [one] who is almost in the same category as me, with the same stability, if not more.”
Drumming in Church
Childhood and Family:
Da Brat was born Shawntae Harris on April 14, 1974, in Chicago, Illinois. She is the sister of actress LisaRaye McCoy.
Shawntae began her musical experience at a local church where she played the drums. In 1992, she won a local MC contest sponsored by “Yo MTV Raps” and had a chance to meet the then-ruling rapper group Kris Kross. Shawntae, who uses the stage name “Da Brat,” was unexpectedly introduced to hip-hop music mogul Jermaine Dupri, who helped her open up a career in rap music.
“Without him, I may be famous, but it was because of him that me, Bow Wow and Jagged Edge are where we are. He treated me well and I appreciate that. You do not get that from most CEOs of record companies.” Da Brat on Jermaine Dupri
Da Brat signed with Jermaine Dupri’s newly developed label So So Def. She was soon featured in Kris Kross’ song “Da Bomb” (1994) before making an immediate sensation with the debut solo album Funkdafied (1994). Its title track leapt to the Top 6 position on the US Hot 100 and the US R&B/Hip-Hop charts, making her the first solo female rapper ever to sell a million copies of a single. The platinum recording also produced the singles “Fa All Y’all” and “Give It To Ya” (1995).
Next, Da Brat was known more as a featured rapper. After sharing the microphone with Jermaine Dupri and The Notorious B.I.G. in “Da B Side” (1995, became a soundtrack for the 1995 Bad Boys), the rapper performed in Total’s gold single “No One Else” (1995) and Mariah Carey’s “Always Be My Baby (Mr. Dupri Mix)” (1996, also featured Xscape).
In 1996, Da Brat released the sophomore album Anuthatantrum, which spawned the gold singles “Sittin’ On Top Of The World” and “Ghetto Love” (1997). Besides sitting on the 20th spot on the US Album chart, Anuthatantrum also received gold certification from RIAA. The same year, the rapper branched out to the screen world with a cameo appearance in the unsuccessful Shaquille O’Neal-starring movie Kazaam. She also guest starred as Boo in two episodes of the sitcom “The Parent ‘Hood” (1997, 1998).
Da Brat performed with Lil Kim, Angie M., Left Eye, and Missy Elliot in the platinum single “Not Tonight (Remix)” (1997) and Missy Elliot in “Sock It To Me” (1997). Her voice could also be heard in Dru Hill’s “In My Bed” (1997), Jagged Edge’s “The Way That You Talk” (1997) and Mariah Carey’s “Honey (So So Def Mix)” (1997, featured Mase, The Lox, Da Brat & Jermaine Dupri). After doing “The Party Continues” (1998) with Jermaine Dupri and Usher, the female rapper guest performed in Kelly Price’s “Secret Love” (1999), Brandy’s “U Don’t Know Me” (1999), as well as other Mariah Carey’s best-selling tracks: “Heartbreaker (Remix)” (1999, with Missy Elliot) and “I Still Believe” (1999, with Krayzie Bone).
Resuming her solo endeavors, Da Brat issued Unrestricted (2000), which put her in the top position of the US Hip-Hop & R&B charts. Unrestricted set off such singles as “That’s What I’m Looking For” and “Whatchu Like.” Meanwhile, Da Brat also worked with trio Destiny’s Child in “Jumpin’ Jumpin” (2000), along with Jermaine Dupri and Lil’ Bow Wow, as well as in the remixed “Survivor” (2001). Also in 2001, the artist appeared in Mariah Carey’s “Loverboy” and Jagged Edge’s “Where The Party At.”
Da Brat then became the narrator in the TV musical drama Carmen: A Hip Hopera (2001), which marked Beyonce Knowles’ acting debut. She also took the supporting role of orphan girl Louise in Mariah Carey’s movie debut Glitter (2001) and joined sister LisaRaye in the prison-set feature Civil Brand (2002), as inmate Sabrina. On the small screen, Da Brat appeared as Baby K2K in “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” (2002).
A year later, the rapper returned with the studio album Limelite, Luv & Niteclubz (2003), but did not gain the same response as her previous albums. Its first single, “In Love Wit Chu” (featuring Cherish), even missed the charts.
Within several years, Da Brat’s collaboration with Dem Franchize Boyz, J.Dupri and Bow Wow titled “I Think They Like Me” (Remix) (2005), became the 15th US single and peaked at No.1 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles chart. Da Brat, alongside Eve, next allied with Kelly Rowland to record the song “Gotsa Go” (2006). Additionally, she recently acted with Taye Diggs, Ellen Burstyn and Hill Harper in the little-seen drama 30 Days (2006).