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Da Brat

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Don't call it a comeback. Though it's been three years since Da Brat's last album, Anutha Tantrum, Da Brat's been more visible than a lot of her female contemporaries. Adding her flow to Top 10 singles with the likes of Mariah Carey and Missy Elliot and featured often on MTV as a popular celebrity judge or as the host of the highly-viewed "TRL" ("Total Request Live"), the Chicago native has managed to stay in the spotlight. Who can forget the show-stopping presentation she made at last year's "Soul Train Awards" or her sassy dialogue at UPN's highly-rated "Source Awards" honoring fellow hip-hop artists? All this high-profile exposure without a current CD in rotation?! Just imagine what's to come with the release of Unrestricted, her third CD.... Da Brat's revealing everything. With a title borrowed from Millie Jackson's album of the same name (who drops a few lines on the intro by the way!) not only is Da Brat showing a tad more skin, but she's showing off lyrically as well.

Though the big-shirts-baggy-jeans-and-braids look will never completely disappear (hey that's quintessential Brat), one glance at the sexy CD cover is just a hint of what to expect in the grooves. Listen to the suggestively thirst-quenching "Pink Lemonade," featuring Debra Killings, and the flirty "What'chu Like," featuring Tyrese, to get a better X-rated, or make that R-Rated, picture.

But it's not all about displaying her feminine curves or spewing racy lyrics. This edgy femme fatale is still coming on with her signature spit-fire style of rhyming. One listen to her ode to thug passion, "That's What I'm Looking For," and it's obvious she hasn't compromised her lyrical skills for sex appeal. "On top of keepin' yourself lookin' good, hell you gotta come with the lyrics," says 25-year-old Da Brat. "You've gotta show people you've grown. You can't come with the same type of sh*t and think just 'cause you look good you don't have to work as hard. It's still all about the music. It's all about the whole package, lookin' good, smellin' good, tastin' good. But can't nobody f**k with me on the lyrics, not any females. Sorry. I might be over-confident," she laughs. "But, somebody gotta be!"

Confidence is not the only quality Da Brat's not lacking. She possesses an abundance of creativity. Though she's always written her own rhymes, on "Runnin' Out Of Time," featuring soulful songstress Kelly Price, Da Brat even penned the emotionally-charged hook. "I just thought about some of the things I'd been through, the things my friends had been through and it just came out of me."

Of course her "big brother" Jermaine Dupri produced the majority of the funkdafied cuts on Unrestricted including So So Def's new theme song, "We Ready," featuring JD & Lil Jon; the steel-drummed verbal assassination "F**k You"; and "Back Up," featuring Ja Rule. But it's Da Brat herself who's responsible for introducing her fellow Chi-Town native, the up-and-coming producer Aaron "The Hitman" Pittman on this project. The South Side producer is responsible for the tracks on "Breeve On Em" and "Runnin' Out Of Time." He's down with her entertainment company, Thowin' Tantrums along with 22, another Chi-town MC, who appears with Da Brat on "Breeve On Em."

Though Da Brat's slowly peeling the layers off to reveal both her beauty and her talent, there's still plenty of rawness to draw fans back to the first solo female rapper to go platinum. She's the perfect female MC still coming on hardcore while remaining undeniably feminine. "I'm still gonna be the same Brat no matter what," she says. "I'm gonna keep on praying. I'm gonna hold my head high, even if I fall on my face. I'll pick myself back up. Learn and start all over. The only thing I won't do is give up. This third album is like the kick-off album for the rest of my life." With the arrival of Unrestricted, life's lookin' real good for Da Brat-ta-tat-tat.

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