Da Brat & Jermaine Dupri Gave Us A Party-Starter In 1994 That’s Still So So Def (Audio)
At only nine tracks long, Da Brat’s 1994 debut album Funkdafied was nevertheless a massive success, selling one-million copies and cementing her rightful place in Hip-Hop history as the first female solo MC with a platinum-selling LP. The Chicago, Illinois rapper made her first major move in 1992 after winning a local contest put on by the iconic television series “Yo! MTV Raps,” an achievement which would eventually lead her to meeting her future mentor and longtime collaborator, Jermaine Dupri.
J.D. signed Da Brat (born Shawntae Harris) to his Atlanta, Georgia-based So So Def imprint which at the time already boasted tremendous success with female clients, namely R&B group Xscape. But Dupri’s relationship with Harris would prove to be more long-lasting than his with Xscape, and the two went on to collaborate on all four of Da Brat’s LPs, through the ’90s and up until 2003’s Limelite, Luv & Niteclubz. 1996’s Anuthatantrum and 2000’s Unrestricted both continued the formula found on Funkdafied and although Da Brat would go on to find repeat platinum success and chart-topping singles, it was the inaugural pairing of the two on her debut album that remains the most celebrated.
The self-titled lead single was itself a platinum-selling record and to date remains Da Brat’s most commercially successful single. But Funkdafied‘s third and final release (following “Fa All Y’all”) in “Give It 2 You” wasn’t far behind, earning a gold certification from the RIAA on June 14, 1996. Its original version borrowed its drums from the Mary Jane Girls’ “All Night Long” and featured a keyboard melody highly reminiscent of Warren G’s “This DJ.” It was the remix featured in the video release, however, which truly sent the song over the top.
The visuals were set at a luxurious house party that gave a real-life glimpse of the type of Atlanta Player’s Ball of which OutKast had rapped just the year before. In a show of So So Def’s strength in the industry, particularly in its affiliation with Bad Boy Records and its extended family, there were a multitude of cameos in the video, including Biggie, Puff Daddy, Mary J. Blige, Keith Murray, MC Lyte, Too $hort, Goodie Mob, Xscape, TLC, Kris Kross, and others. Bill Bellamy also served as Brat’s co-star. The ability to assemble so many superstars at once, likely also was a testimony to the hotbed Atlanta had become at the time for artists seeking to record with the likes of Organized Noize, Dallas Austin and Dupri, himself. No matter the star power, this was still Brat’s party, and she was the hostess with the mostess…for real doh.
#BonusBeat: Yesterday (July 20), a J.D.-Da Brat reunion surfaced in the form of “F U Pay Me,” which features a supporting hook from The-Dream.
Jermaine Dupri dropped the single at Los Angeles, California’s Power 106 radio station, where he also gave an in-depth interview.