Da Brat was one of the first of a new breed of hard-edged female MCs to hit the hip-hop scene during the '90s. Although sexuality was certainly part of her image, it wasn't as important to her as it was to Lil' Kim or Foxy Brown; instead, Da Brat made her name as a tough, profane rhymer whose hardcore attitude and lyrical skills were never in doubt. Da Brat was born Shawntae Harris in Chicago in 1974, and started rapping at age 11. Still a teenager, she was discovered by producer Jermaine Dupri in 1992, when she won an amateur rap contest and got a chance to meet Dupri's protégés Kris Kross. With their endorsement, Dupri signed her to his So So Def label and produced her debut album, Funkdafied, which was released in 1994. The title track was an enormous hit, going to number two on the R&B charts and spending nearly three months on top of the rap singles chart. Its success -- as well as that of the follow-up singles Fa All Y'All and Give It 2 You -- helped Da Brat become the first female rapper ever to have a platinum-selling album. Funkdafied also hit number one on the R&B album chart, a staggering achievement for a debut release by a female rapper.