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.