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A whole lotta...
Hold up. Hold up now. Don't get this wrong. It isn't some XXX-rated story disguised as a bio. It's just that three years after Da Brat dropped one of her last hit rhymes it's still hard to get the melody out of your head.
And you can go back even further to:
It's like that, and as a matter of fact when it comes to Da Brat-a-tat-tat I'll make your neck snap back!"
It was 1994. And thanks to two fellow teenagers in backwards pants known as Kris Kross -who introduced her to Jermaine Dupri - the Chicago rapper born Shawntae Harris was about to stomp all over the history books in her big black boots. Her Funkdafied debut came out. The title track with the neck-snapping flow made itself comfortable for almost three months atop Billboard's rap singles chart. And with the added firepower of singles "Fa All Y'All" and
"Give It 2 You," Da Brat became the first solo female rapper ever to sell a million albums.
OK now how about this one:
"If you see me when I come around
Breaking all these h**s down
Aaahhh got you with that one right? That's actually one of the next smashes on Da Brat's fourth album full of hits, Limelite, Luv & Niteclubz.
That's right, it's that time again. Da Brat has returned to remind the millions who've bought her records that hip-hop's best are distinct personalities with something original to say, said in a style that's all their own. Not something out of every other video you flip by who thinks a whole song is naming what you drove up in and the gear you have on.
The lyrics on Limelite, Luv & Niteclubz are as memorable as those "tig ole bitties" Da Brat tartly described in Mariah Carey's Heartbreaker one of her contributions to remixes and original tracks by, among the many, Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott ("Sock It 2 Me"), Destiny's Child ("Survivor"), Jagged Edge ("Where The Party At?"), Dru Hill ("Sleeping In My Bed") and the Grammy-nominated Missy, Lil' Kim, Angie Martinez and the late great Lisa "Left-Eye" Lopes joined her on, "Not Tonight."
The hooks still pull you up by the collar and make you hear, relate or maybe just bounce to what Da Brat has to say.
And the world just better be ready.
"It's finna be crazy," Da Brat declares. "Crazier than Funkdafied, and not because this is my most recent piece. It's just that the maturity is there. M**her f**kers take you through the ringer and you learn so much. And I just feel like I'm there now and I'm so ready to just put all this s**t out. These past three years since [her last CD] Unrestricted, I been like mad busy the whole
time. I ain't just been laying around, not doing nothing. Worrying, just waiting to come out. I've been just doing my thing. I've been writing for other people. I've been tightening up my craft, my business, like my production company ?Thowin' Tantrums Entertainment.' I've been just getting s**t right on every level."
"Plus I just wanted to wait in the wings to see what everybody was doing. To see what I was gonna do to smash ?em. And that is Limelite, Luv & Niteclubz," she adds.
Every song on this album falls under at least one of those categories.
First there's the limelight: " Or the things I go through being Brat," she explains. "Being an entertainer. Being whatever people see in me, what people don't see in me. People saying I'm something. People saying I'm not something. Or whatever. That's my life in the limelight."
That also pretty much sums up "Who Am I?", one of her signature, syrupy thumpers produced by Da Brat's "big brother" JD (Jermaine Dupri, CEO of SO SO Def and Senior Vice President, Arista Records). And just in case you didn't pick it up from the "Well, well, well -I'll be damned," it's also a dedication to one of Da Brat's favorite veterans, MC Lyte.
As he has from the start, JD came with a line-up of hits for his little braided sis. He also produced "Ain't Got Time 2 Waste." "It kind of speaks for itself. Everybody's getting older and it's time to really be focused. I'm really all about getting some money, making myself happy, and you know, living good, eating good, smelling good, and looking good," says Da Brat.
Helping Da Brat along in the pursuit of an even better life style, is someone she used to dance with back in her childhood days in Chicago: L.T. Hutton. Well L.T. grew up to be a big time producer for Death Row. Out on his own now, he created several tracks for Da Brat, including, "Can't Let Go." With Mariah on the hook beautifully cooing some old Bobby Caldwell
"I guess you wonder where I've been..."
and Da Brat confidently reaffirming her stature in the entertainment business, just sit back and watch this one zoom up the charts.
Oh, and it's best that you remain seated because the rhymer best known for such lascivious lines as "the party begins when the slurping ends," is finally ready to really deal with love in all of its hues.
Surely you've already heard the bright side, the good side, which Da Brat details in Limelite, Luv & Niteclubz first single "In Love Wit Chu."
For the flipside, there's the breezy, steel drum-accentuated "Get Somebody." Drawn from Da Brat's own personal experience, it warns:
"If you get somebody, not just anybody, get somebody that's gonna love you like nobody. If you get somebody, don't tell everybody, 'cause somebody gon try to crash your party."
"A lot of things on this album are really serious," Da Brat says. "If it's not about me, it's about somebody very close to me where it affected me."
So like everybody else, she needs a release right? Well that's what the nightclub part of this album is for. "Smoking, drinking, having a ball partying and just enjoying life with my friends and family - that's Da Brat at my best; enjoying my damn self!"
And to set the same kind of party mood for her listeners, Da Brat is serving up that "Gushy Wushy." Hold up one more time now. It's not that kind of party. This driving funk anthem in the making is really "all about being in the club and chilling," Da Brat says. "I just called it ?Gushy Wushy' 'cause it sounds nasty and it's gonna make a m**her f**cker wonder."
Well there's no question about "Chuch." It's a Wimbledon-winning Serena Williams type smash! " ?Chuch' is my ?Funkdafied'-reminiscent song," Da Brat says of the single sure to be the new slang on the streets. "It's real grooving. It makes me think of [Arista label mate] Cee-Lo, that's why he's on it. It also makes me think of Bishop Don Juan from Chicago and all them pimps and players. They all went to school with my parents so I'm like their little goddaughter. I been had my pimp cup for many years. That word ?Chuch' came from them."
"It's not being derogatory to Christians or any religion or anything," she quickly adds. " I grew up in church. I played the drums in church for the choir. I directed the choir. I sang in the choir. And most people don't know I played like six different brass instruments, and wrote for the church too. But this is c-h-u-c-h. And they just say it so much in the Chi that I just picked it up. I love it!"
"I'm confident about all of Limelite, Luv & Niteclubz actually, because it's sickening! And like I said, it really is my life in the nutshell. Really. I mean let's break it down:
When I get up in the morning, unless I stay in the house, I have to experience things in the limelight because when I go out people want autographs, pictures and whatever. I'm Brat. Love -you go through love with your mother, your father, your auntie, your family, your close friends, in relationships; that covers that whole thing. And nightclub - I'm forever in a nightclub. And what do we do? We get f***ed up. We party and have a good time in the nightclub because that's our way to release from all the frustration from being in love and in the limelight. I'm doing this all for the love of the limelight and love of the fans so those three words are just everything. That's my life."
So again we ask:
A whole lotta Shawntae?
Well with Limelite, Luv & Nightclubz, clearly Da Brat is really about to get it started.