Bhad Bha­bie is not bad af­ter all

The Press - - News - Kate Robert­son kate.robert­son@stuff.co.nz

Her de­but mix­tape is ti­tled 15, but teen rap­per Bhad Bha­bie is done with talk­ing about her age and her gen­der.

‘‘I have both neg­a­tives, I’m young and I’m a girl. If I was a boy and I was young, what­ever. If I was a girl and I was old, what­ever, but I’m a girl and I’m young. That’s just crazy to some peo­ple,’’ she says quickly, speak­ing down a rat­tly phone line.

Thir­teen-year old Danielle Bre­goli be­came a su­per­star overnight when a Septem­ber

2016 ap­pear­ance on Dr Phil went vi­ral.

Snap­ping at the talk show host to, ‘‘Cash me out­side how­bow dah?’’ her mem­o­rable line bred remixes and within days had found its way into main­stream dis­course.

In the two short years since, Bre­goli has gone from a vi­ral meme girl to one of hip-hop’s most promis­ing artists.

Mu­sic ex­ec­u­tive Adam Kluger knew he wanted to man­u­fac­ture a star and, af­ter hear­ing her po­ten­tial, that’s ex­actly what he did.

Now, Bhad Bha­bie is to Gen Z what late-90s Brit­ney Spears is to slightly older mil­len­ni­als.

The video for her sin­gle Gucci Flip Flops (fea­tur­ing Lil Yachty) has been viewed

91 mil­lion times on YouTube, and just three weeks af­ter re­lease, her crit­i­cally ac­claimed mix­tape boasts 15 mil­lion fol­low­ers on In­sta­gram.

A rap­per whose po­ten­tial is ev­i­dent in her flow and her stage pres­ence, Bre­goli says mu­sic wasn’t ever a ca­reer she imag­ined for her­self.

‘‘As a white fe­male I never re­ally thought, yeah, I’m gonna be an artist, I’m gonna pur­sue that. I wanted to do some­thing med­i­cal, like be a nurse, or a phar­ma­cist or some s... like that.

‘‘That’s what I re­ally wanted to do. I’ve al­ways loved mu­sic. I grew up lis­ten­ing to mu­sic. I re­ally, re­ally love mu­sic. Be­ing able to be an artist, it’s like sure, why not? Let’s do it.’’

Head­strong by na­ture, her at­ti­tude is part of the ap­peal. When asked whether she’s al­ways been this way, Bre­goli’s an­swer makes clear how she found her­self on Dr Phil’s couch in the first place.

‘‘I could be hold­ing a red cup, and I will fight you to the end that the cup is blue. If I feel a cer­tain way about some­thing, I’m go­ing to make you feel the same way, whether it’s right or wrong.

‘‘Peo­ple want to call me a fem­i­nist be­cause I stand up for be­ing a girl, and it’s just like, it’s just about what’s right. It’s not re­ally about be­ing a cer­tain way.’’

No stranger to prov­ing her­self, Ber­goli, who spent time in a trou­bled-teen re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­gramme be­fore launch­ing her mu­sic ca­reer, has no time for peo­ple seek­ing to bring her down.

‘‘Cer­tain peo­ple didn’t like me be­cause I was white or be­cause I was younger. I’m not let­ting no one treat me like that no more.’’

‘‘I told my­self I wouldn’t be in this sit­u­a­tion again. You just have to fight and fight and fight and fight.’’

Hav­ing felt the force of global ridicule, Bre­goli says she still strug­gles with the over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive re­ac­tion she’s had to her mu­sic,

I could be hold­ing a red cup, and I will fight you to the end that the cup is blue.

from crit­ics and fans alike.

‘‘I didn’t re­ally be­lieve the things peo­ple were say­ing about the mix­tape. I thought that peo­ple were say­ing that just to say it.

‘‘I thought it was just go­ing to be all neg­a­tive, be­cause that’s what it’s all about. Peo­ple who are dif­fer­ent, whether it be young or what­ever the case is, other peo­ple just want to s... on them com­pletely.’’

Told not to raise the Dr Phil video be­fore the in­ter­view, it’s hard to dis­cuss Bre­goli’s still fresh ca­reer with­out it com­ing up. Un­prompted, it arises when dis­cussing the de­mands of be­ing such a recog­nis­able face.

‘‘Hear­ing ‘Cash me out­side’ ev­ery day is never go­ing to go away, so I’m like, what­ever.

‘‘I pay no at­ten­tion, but when peo­ple are nice, I em­brace them. I’ll stick my head out the sun­roof when they no­tice me.

‘‘When peo­ple start do­ing the bulls... and try to show out, that’s when I back up. I don’t run away from it, but I ig­nore it.’’

Does the rap­per have any ad­vice for other artists on the rise? ‘‘Keep do­ing ev­ery­thing how you’re do­ing it. Some peo­ple will go higher than oth­ers.’’

Bhad Bha­bie plays Auck­land venue The Stu­dio on De­cem­ber 15.

Danielle Bre­goli, aka Bhad Bha­bie has gone from a vi­ral meme girl to one of hip-hop’s most promis­ing artists.

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