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Shawntae Harris, 14 April 1974, Chicago, Illinois, USA. A forerunner of the new breed of female hip-hop artists Lil Kim and Foxy Brown, the foul-mouthed Da Brat became the most successful female rapper of all time in 1994 with her platinum-selling debut Funkdafied.
Harris first musical experience was as a drummer in her church choir, but her big break came in 1992 when she won a local MC contest sponsored by Yo MTV Raps. The prize for winning was a meeting with the hugely successful teenage rap duo Kriss Kross. The duo introduced her to their producer/manager Jermaine Dupri, who promptly signed the rapper to his So So Def label. Dupri set about styling Da Brat as a female version of Snoop Doggy Dogg, underpinning her in-your-face rapping style with his trademark G-funk rhythms. Released in June 1994, Funkdafied shocked the male-dominated world of hip-hop when it debuted at number 1 on the Billboard rap chart and also broke into...