Rapper Da Brat opened up about how Jermaine Dupri empowered her unique style during the early days of her career. The veteran rapper shared in a new interview with Hip Hop DX how the producer did not pressure her to show skin even though she was a woman. The Chicago-bred artist, also the first solo female rap act to go platinum with her debut album Funkdafied in 1994, was a fan of baggy clothes and baseball caps over midriffs and low-rise jeans.
“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 recalled. “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 [ti*s and a*s].’ So I am blessed that he let me be myself, I blended right in with them.”
Da Brat signed with Jermaine Dupri in 1992, after winning a rap contest and landing the opportunity to meet Kriss Kross. The duo introduced her to the producer and she inked a deal with So So Def. Throughout her career, she has released four studio albums and collaborated with artists such as Mariah Carey, Lil Kim, Missy Elliot, Destiny’s Child, and Dem Franchize Boys.
The 47-year-old also spoke to Hip Hop DX about understanding her sexuality. She discussed how her image back then did not necessarily translate to being LGBTQ. Da Brat is now publicly in a relationship with a woman. She and her fiance Jesseca “Judy” Dupart have a reality show Brat Loves Judy chronicling their journey together.
“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.”
In September 2020, the “What’chu Like” rapper talked about coming out as a lesbian to R&B singer Kandi Burruss whose group Xscape was also signed to So So Def. Da Brat admitted she was nervous to come out in her early career due to fear she would disappoint her family, among other circumstances. In 2010 when Da Brat was released from prison, Burruss approached her about being in a reality series about lesbians however she was not ready. She went public with her sexuality in June of 2020.
“I was nervous but I was like ‘f*ck it.’ I’m happy, I don’t care,’” she recalled of coming out. “I’m in love with this woman, she completes me, she makes me feel like I’ve never felt before.”
“I got nothing but good responses,” continued Da Brat. “It made me feel so good that I did it. First of all, it was a weight lifted but I got nothing but positive responses then you got your troll motherf*ckers talking bout ‘we been knew.’”
In stardom, Da Brat admitted she dated both men and women, including some high-profile male partners. One of them being NBA superstar Allen Iverson who had other women pursuing him at the height of his basketball career. She recalled a physical altercation with one woman while the two were dating.
“I’m like, b*tch I know you see me sitting here with n*gga, you still gon’ say you’re looking for him? I must’ve mollywhopped that b*tch down the hallway,” shared the Dish Nation co-host. “I said, ‘You know what? I can’t do this with you [Iverson],’ and I kind of like faded out answering the calls and just had to pull back, and then it eventually fizzled out.”
Check out a scene from Da Brat’s new WE tv show Brat Loves Judy below: