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Date of birth : 1974-04-14 Date of death : - Birthplace : Chicago, Illinois, U. Nationality : American Category : Arts and Entertainment Last modified : 2011-11-08 Credited as : Actress, rapper, Funkdafied Shawntae Harris better known as Da Brat, is an American rapper and actress.
She held her own in the male-dominated genre of hip-hop with lyrics touching on drugs and violence.
Her brazen style appealed both to hip-hop and pop fans.
She was raised in two households, by her mother and grandmother part of the time and by her father and his mother part of the time. At her mother's house, Da Brat, who was known as "Shawnie," wore long skirts and attended a strict Pentecostal church four times a week, where she played drums and sang in the choir.
When Da Brat began listening to rap music by artists like Monie Love and LL Cool J, she would mask the cassette covers with the names of gospel groups.
But at Da Brat's father's place, where they called her "Boo-Boo," she told Sonia Murray in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "I could cuss when I wanted to, listen to whatever I wanted to and beat up whoever my cousins told me to." Da Brat attended Kenwood Academy, where she ran track and played basketball.
She has stated that she got her rap name because she is "a spoiled only child," according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article.
In 1992, Da Brat got her big opportunity when she won a local rap contest sponsored by Yo MTV Raps.
For her grand prize, she was able to meet young duo Kris Kross, who were the hottest rap act on the charts at the time thanks to their popular single "Jump." They introduced her to their producer, Jermaine Dupri, who signed her to his So So Def label.
"She rapped with so much confidence," he later commented to Murray, "and she wasn't scared to say whatever." Dupri cultivated Da Brat's image as a female Snoop Doggy Dogg, and she became one of the first female "reality-based" rappers, complete with foul lyrics and braggadocio.
The term "gangsta rap" was used previously, but artists began to shy away from that term as their music started to cross over to the pop charts.
However, Da Brat incorporated more of a funk and rhythm-and-blues feel, owing to the sounds of 1970s groups like Parliament-Funkadelic.
And she affected a style more similar to Kris Kross, complete with baggy, backward pants, loose shirts, and hair braids.