Da Brat brings the rat-ta-tat-tat one on one!
I know you’re busy today.
Is busy good?
Busy is always good.
What strikes me is how long you’ve been around and how many artists have come and gone since then. Do you ever think about that?
Yup. I think about a lot. I think it has a lot to do with my loyalties for the whole industry and my loyalty to the game. I love music for real. It’s not like someone just put me here and said ‘you have to be a rapper’. I’ve always wanted to do that. That is what creates longevity when you stay humble and you stay true to things.
You came out of the box hot and could have taken it for granted and been like everyone else. What do you think happens to these people who have come and gone?
I think they get caught up in the industry and think its all fun and games. But with every good thing comes bad things. They don’t realize that when they sell a million albums they don’t make a million dollars and they get discouraged. They say ‘this isn’t how I thought it was’. That is why I say you have to have a passion for it. The more you stay in the game and learn the more you learn how to make money. It is a struggle. With every good thing there is a struggle.
Are you constantly working on tracks?
I have at least a hundred songs just sitting. We are selling some of them. Any time I get a chance to get into the studio we are in there because I love creating. If it’s super hot of course I get first dibs and it’ll go on my album, but if it didn’t get on my album we can sell it or save it for the next album. I’m prepared for like three more albums already.
How do you decide which tracks to keep or do some just sound like they’d fit better with another artist?
I think I’m a pretty good judge of music. If I think I can pull it off and it’s within my character I’ll rock those. But those that sound good for another artist I’ll pass it to them or I’ll sell it to someone who likes it.
I read you have a production company.
My production company is Thowin’ Tantrums Entertainment. Right now it just consists of me and L.T. Hutton. We just come together creatively and work on writing hits.
Do you like the limelite?
I love it.
It’s not always good.
You’re right, it’s not always good. But you have to take the good with the bad. Even the worst events are good experiences.
I saw Roy Jones in the video for “In Love Wit Chu.”
Have you known him for a while?
No, but I’ve always had a crush on him. (We both laugh)
Did you just phone him and say come on down?
I told JD that I had to have Roy Jones in the video because who else am I going to say I’m in love with? I thought Roy Jones was a perfect candidate. He is cute and fits the part. (Sinister Laugh)
How did you pick and choose which tracks were the right songs for this record?
I took what I thought were the hottest tracks along with JD. I wanted to have a couple serious topics about relationships; I didn’t have that on other records. It’s a real hot album and really fun.
You go from nightclubs to everything else.
Everything goes down in the nightclub. That is where we chill and can get our groove on. We all meet up there and release stress. We dance and sweat. It’s a stress release.
What motivates you everyday?
The passion and if I hear something really hot on the radio I’ll be like ‘I have to write this song’. I could be in the park walking my dog and come up with something so I’ll put it in my Dictaphone and if it’s great I don’t want to forget it. I’m inspired by everything.
Why do you think pop, rock and other genres seem to have their ups and downs yet hip-hop continues to…
It’s still growing. It’s becoming a major like country, like pop, so we still have a lot of growing to do. I think people are serious when they get into this game. Most of the black kids who get into this come from nothing and don’t want to lose it. They want to do everything they can to have investments and make it large.
Was part of starting your production company to get kids like that into the industry or just to promote yourself?
Both. I want to get into the production side of it and to give other artists the opportunity to get down and make some money.
What would you say to kids who want to follow in your path?
When you have dreams and goals you won’t always have great moments to get to those goals. You will have lots of ups and downs and people will betray you. You will go through a whole lot. It’s an emotional rollercoaster. And if you have a passion for this music, you could have a passion for anything. You could have a passion for being a secretary then nothing should discourage you. If your boss is hitting on you then you can either cause trouble or be quiet and deal with his ass or tell him ‘yo, it’s not going to be like this’. Whether you go somewhere else or you cuss his ass out you learn from it. You might get fired, but there are other jobs just like in the music industry – if someone doesn’t like you then keep on moving. You go to someone else. There are a million producers and writers. Change is good.
Are you a different person from Brat?
No. Not at all. I’m always Brat and I’m always Shawntae. I’m the same person inside. Sometimes I might want to dress more feminine or a tomboy. I’m still the same person. I can be sweet or I can kick your ass. I don’t take no shit and don’t like to be fucked over like everyone else. I’m spoiled and want what I want so I’m still Brat inside all the time.
Do you think most of the ladies who are fans like you because you say what they can’t?
(Giggles) Some of them. Especially the younger kids and some of the grown people too. They might bite their tongue and love me because I don’t bite my tongue. People love me for me and that is why I’m not going to change. I’m always keeping it real. I haven’t let anyone tell me that I have to dress sexy, I do what I choose. I like to be a grown woman and show some cleavage and body parts. I thrive off the attention. Its fun knowing that people are watching and saying ‘wow, I didn’t even know the Brat had a body’. It’s fun to shock people. ‘Is that who? Da Brat?’ (Laughs)
You’re giving it away with the songs and the photos.
Oh yeah, wait until you see the next one. (We both laugh)
You’ve been in movies of course music and the sky seems to be the limit, but what is it you really dream of doing?
When I was in school I got straight A’s in all my math classes. And I’d like to build my own house one day. I know it takes a lot of schooling because it takes a good knowledge of numbers and stuff and I don’t know if I still have it, but I want to be able to build my own house.
What would it look like?
It would look like a big glass Miami stucco white on a beach with huge windows. I want a glass staircase. I want my bed to sit on a platform with a big pool underneath with Japanese Koi [fish]. I want my house to be really ridiculous. I want it to be different from anything else. I want it to look like it belongs in a museum.
I can’t wait to see pictures of that place.
You will. Give me one year.
+ Charlie Craine