The “Funkdafied” artist, born Shawntae Harris, stood out early in her career as one of the few women in the rap game and one of the even fewer who chose not to show off her body, instead opting for her signature tomboy looks instead.
During an age when Lil Kim and Foxy Brown were among the hottest female emcees sexing the game up, Da Brat stuck to her baggy pants and bandanas, and the So So Def artist remains “grateful” to record label boss Jermaine Dupri for not pressuring her to let it all hang out.
“I had my pants backward, cut a hole in my baseball cap, stuck my ponytail through it — I wanted to be the third member of Kris Kross,” she told HipHopDX. “So I’m grateful that I had a producer like Jermaine Dupri who did not try to change me and say, ‘Hey, in order for you to be famous or sell records or become somebody, you need to show your t-n-a [tits and a**].’ So I am blessed that he let me be myself, I blended right in with them.”
“I was a tomboy back then. I didn’t know I was into girls back then, I just thought I was a tomboy. I was never attracted to women until around maybe 18. So, yeah. And I’m grateful that I have someone now who shows me how to be a better person.”
The “What’chu Like” artist, who was the first female rapper to reach platinum status, thanks to her debut album “Funkdafied,” largely kept her private life to herself throughout her career but went public with her girlfriend, entrepreneur and Kaleidoscope Hair Care founder Jesseca Dupart, aka BB Judy, in March 2020. They’ve since taken their relationship’s publicity to the next level as the stars of their own reality series, “Brat Loves Judy,” airing on We TV.
Da Brat decided to take on a sexier image in her own time as “a business move” according to the rapper. “I just wanted to be f—able, and that is what had to happen to sell records, which is what I was told,” she previously told daytime talk show host Tamron Hall.