Da Brat’s debut album, Funkdafied, is the product of a genuine overnight success story. After graduating from high school in Chicago, the rapper born Shawntae Harris won a talent contest sponsored by MTV. The prize was meeting the rap group Kriss Kross, who subsequently introduced her to their Atlanta-based producer Jermaine Dupri. Within a year, Dupri had recorded the concise nine-song Funkdafied, which went platinum on the back of its hit title track. While “Funkdafied” is an irresistibly catchy slice of G-funk, the album's best songs are the rough-and-tumble “Da S**t Ya Can’t Fuc Wit” and “Ain’t No Thang.” Dupri was open about the fact that he envisioned Da Brat as a female Snoop Dogg, but her gutsiness elevates “Fa All Y’all” and “Funkdafied,” turning them into twists on Snoop’s sound rather than shameless clones. And while Da Brat and Dupri may have capitalized on Dr. Dre and Warren G’s patented sound, they offered at least one curveball in “Fire It Up,” which interpolates the moody bassline from The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Under the Bridge.”

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