The Untold Truth Of Da Brat

Nineties fans will remember Da Brat as the groundbreaking artist who spawned Funkdafied in '94, becoming "the first solo female MC to achieve platinum status." The veteran rapper has remained relatively quiet in recent years, but she made headlines in March 2020, when she emotionally professed her love for (and confirmed her relationship with) Jesseca Dupart, CEO of Kaleidoscope Hair Products.

Da Brat made their relationship Instagram official when she shared a video sitting in a brand new Bentley apparently given to her by Dupart as an early 46th birthday present. The clip captures the rapper in a very raw and real moment, crying tears of joy as Dupart kisses her off-camera. The haircare mogul, who is tagged in the gram, commemorated the relationship on her own Insta account with a photo featuring two white Bentleys and the caption "HERS n HERS."

Da Brat going public with her romance is the latest development in what seems like a renaissance for the Grammy Award-winning artist. Younger fans may only recognize her through reality shows such as MTV's Growing Up Hip-Hop or VH1's Celebrity Fit Club, but there's a lot more to this game-changing rapper. Here's the untold truth of Da Brat.

Da Brat broke barriers in the music biz

Da Brat (birth name Shawntae Harris) was born on April 17, 1974, and grew up singing gospel on Chicago's West Side. "I was involved with the church choir and played seven different instruments," she told Gapers Block. "There are lots of things people don't know about me; they think I'm just some ill-mannered, potty-mouthed rapper." After graduating from high school in 1992, Da Brat found success in the area's rap scene and gained recognition for winning a contest sponsored by Yo! MTV Raps

One thing led to another, and Da Brat was introduced to Jermaine Dupri (pictured), who signed the burgeoning star to his So So Def label. She said her stage name was derived from her background as a "spoiled only child." In a 2013 interview with Complex, Dupri admitted that he was initially hesitant to give Da Brat a chance. "She was introduced to me by Kriss Kross. They saw her while they were on tour, and they came to me and said, 'We got this female rapper you should check out.' And when they did it, I didn't want no female rapper." 

But Dupri did check her out, and she proved him — and a lot of other folks wrong — when her G-funk swagger dominated the charts and made music history. 

Da Brat seemed untouchable at the height of her fame

Da Brat's popularity soared in the '90s and early aughts. In addition to 1994's Funkdafied, her third album, Unrestricted, was also certified platinum in 2001, and her signature style was often the cherry on top of other artists' tracks. She rapped on the remix of Mariah Carey's "Always Be My Baby" and on Mimi's iconic breakup bop "Heartbreaker." Da Brat graced Missy Elliot's "Sock It 2 Me" and T-Boz's single "Ghetto Love." She also branched out into acting –well, sort of– appearing as herself in Shaquille O'Neal's genie kid flick Kazaam.

In a 2000 interview with Rolling Stone, Da Brat was riding high with a modeling contract, TV and movie offers, and ... wait for it ... "100 pages a day" — as in pages from a pager! "I'm having a ball. I love performing, rapping; I love people recognizing my talent. My dream came true, and now I'm trying to take it further," she said at the time.

The future seemed to hold only more promises of success to come for Da Brat, but life took a dark and violent turn.

Da Brat nearly knocked out her career

All that success nearly came crashing down when Da Brat landed in serious legal trouble. In 2007, she pleaded guilty to felony charges over an incident that occurred at an Atlanta nightclub owned by music producer Jermaine Dupri. According to MTV News, "Da Brat was sentenced to three years behind bars, seven years of probation and 200 hours of community service ... for striking a woman in the face with a rum bottle" and cutting her face. 

That wasn't the first time Da Brat had allegedly assaulted someone. "In 2000 she faced charges that she beat a woman with a gun during a dispute over VIP seating" in another nightclub, per MTV News. She reportedly pleaded guilty to misdemeanor reckless conduct and agreed to a $1,000 fine, community service, and probation. 

Da Brat has managed to stay out of trouble with the law in recent years — a trend we hope she'll continue — and she's worked her way back into the spotlight via reunion shows and, of course, reality TV

Rumors about Da Brat's love life have followed her for years

Unsubstantiated rumors about Da Brat's sexuality have circulated throughout her career. Most notably, the hip-hop star was allegedly linked to Bay Area rapper Kreayshawn in 2011, a rumor which both performers quickly shut down. 

On her now-defunct Twitter account, Da Brat vehemently denied having any relationship with the "Gucci Gucci" star, claiming they'd never even met in person. "Yooo! I jus got word dat I'm spose to be an item w Kreayshawn???? We haven't even talked or had a convo yet??" Da Brat tweeted at the time (via MTV News). She asserted that any rumored romance was just a testament to both artists being "da s**t!" 

Kreayshawn concurred: "I like that rumor, but it wasn't true," she said.

Now that Da Brat is out of the closet with beauty mogul Jesseca Dupart, is it possible that we'll hear more about her past love life? Possible ... but not likely.

Da Brat found her 'heart's match' in Jesseca Dupart

The lack of information on any of Da Brat's prior romantic relationships can best be summed up by the rapper herself. "I've always been a kind of private person until I met my heart's match," she stated in her headline-making Instagram post on March 26, 2020. In the video clip, Da Brat breaks down into tears as over her birthday gift from Jesseca Dupart — a white Bentley with a big red bow on the hood. "I have never experienced this feeling," Da Brat said. "It's so overwhelming that often I find myself in a daze hoping to never get pinched to see if it's real so I can live in this dream forever." 

According to Forbes, Dupart used the power of social media to grow a business that includes "Kaleidoscope Hair Products, real estate management, public speaking, mentorship and philanthropy." According to the New Orleans native, "I risk it all when the ideas come to me because I believe in what I am trying to create ... When you trust in your ability and vision, you are not as scared to take chances."

It looks like Dupart has taught Da Brat to take chances to and invest in the idea of a happily ever after. It's nice to be reminded that love can still thrive under any circumstances.