Earlier this week during my semi-daily scroll through Snapchat, I came across a headline reading Old Hip Hop Heads Are Impressed With Bhad Bhabie. Of course, I kept scrolling, as one does or does not (depending on perspective), when reading ridiculous headlines. However, since I came across the article, the rap newcomer has dropped two tracks and both have been met with highly-acclaimed reviews. Are hip-hop heads really impressed with Danielle Bregoli or is it just the state of hip-hop? Maybe, it’s both! Bhad Bhabie’s success is a reflection of music today: quantity over quality. Let’s take a closer look at the 16-year old rap-diva Danielle Bregoli aka Bhad Bhabie.
The world was introduced to Danielle two years ago after her Dr. Phil episode “I Want To Give Up My Car-Stealing, Knife-Wielding, Twerking 13-Year-Old Daughter Who Tried To Frame Me For A Crime,” went viral. The catchphrase “Cash Me Outside,” one Danielle brought to life inviting a shocked audience to fight her in the studio’s parking lot, made the then-unknown 14-year-old a household name faster than anyone could really process what happened. With over a half million followers on Instagram, the reckless Baytona Beach native had a valuable platform worth more than tummy-teas and body lotions. A day after the Dr. Phil episode aired, Adam Kluger, a manager with a similar genius to Justin Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun, reached out to Danielle with a plan to invest in her viral fame. “Everybody got weird. I wasn’t even mad that they were bashing Danielle, because everyone was bashing Danielle at the time. I was like “You really don’t believe that I know what I’m doing? Don’t bet the horse, bet the jockey”,” he explained in New York Times. In a world of technology and digital media, followers equal customers and in the music industry, this is almost as important as the talent driving the star. We’ve seen a handful of careers built off of media magic: Soulja Boy, most recently Queen Niaja, and everyone’s favorite Cardi B.
Initially, reality TV was in the works but the duo settled on a hip-hop career. Within a few months into 2016, we were introduced to Bhad Bhabie through collaborations with DJ Suede The Remix God and Kodak Black. However, Bhad Bhabie wouldn’t really make an impact until she released her debut single “These Heaux”. The track debuted at 77 on the Billboard Hot 100 making her the youngest female rapper to appear on the chart. The track prompted a record deal with Atlantic Records, a label known for signing fresh, young, internet famous acts. Shortly after, Bhad Bhabie would deliver a handful of hits including “I Got It,” “Hi Bich,” and a personal bop titled “Gucci Flip Flops” featuring Lil Yachty. Danielle’s sound and influences can be found among the latest trend in SoundCloud rap and club music. “[I listened to] Plies, Trina, T-Pain. Keyshia Cole growing up,” she explained in a Billboard Interview. Her sound similar to hip-hops current rappers makes it easy to listen to her music, her rapping, impressive considering Danielle never rapped before. “Bitches that hold no position, come at me, fall in my mentions / Hoes be thirsty for attention, knock a ho out this dimension / Then continue my ascension,” she spits on “Hi Bich (Remix)”. “How you hoes livin’ with no purpose / I be pumpin’ venom in my verses / Bitch, you worthless, you ain’t fuckin’ with my worst shit / Doubted me, now it’s all comin’ together like cursive,” she continues in a southern drawl similar to T.I.’s.
“Can Bhad Bhabie rap? The truth is she can. Does she write her own rhymes? Almost certainly not, but finding fault with that means you somehow supposed she did in the first place”. (Toseiello, 2018). With the current state of hip-hop praising who is popular versus who is talented, something Nicki Minaj is very upset about, Bhad Bhabie’s swag and delivery is enough for young hip-hop lovers to appreciate and if one didn’t know any better, it’s enough to fool an old hip-hop head into thinking she can actually rap. Although I’m sure the drink-throwing, s–t-talking, urban persona isn’t much of an act, just strategically marketed, Bhad Bhabie’s image as a hip-hop rapper has been widely accepted. Wanna Thompson discusses the success of “white pop star clinging onto marketable imagery of the hood,” to push a marketable person, a “dual space, in the industry in which their Black counterparts will never be able to access,”. In a recent interview with Power 106, “You cannot act a color,” Bregoli declared. “You can’t say I’m acting black because I braid my hair.” “In a genre notoriously hostile to women of color — Bregoli’s ignorance of her relative privilege has largely been forgiven due to her youth and image as a dead-end girl from a broken home cashing in on overnight celebrity in a male-dominated field”. (Thompson, 2019)Embed from Getty Images
So what’s the verdict? Are old hip-hop heads impressed with Bhad Bhabie? Absolutely not! But the current state of hip-hop paved a way for this 15-year old’s success! With a brilliant marketing plan and a strategically pushed persona, Bhad Bhabie will continue to meet success in the music industry. Personally, I find myself bopping to some of her hits including the latest release “Bestie” featuring Kodak Black but she will never make the cut in my book! What’re your thoughts on Bhad Bhabie? Sound off in the comments below!
Bhad Bhabie – “Bestie” featuring Kodak Black
Bhad Bhabie – “Babyface Savage” featuring Tory Lanez