By Jack M. Angelo, Senior Content Producer
When asked to name a fake doctor that launches rap careers, one’s mind might first go to Dr. Dre, but it’s 2018, and times have changed. A rap career can begin through a daily talk show, and spawn a 14-year-old internet sensation.
When Dr. Phil introduced the world to Danielle Bregoli in late 2016, she spouted off rude catch phrases to her mother and anyone who tried to show any sense of authority. “Catch me outside, how about that?” she spouted at an audience member. Her accent and fury caught on quickly with the masses, transforming her into a meme overnight. ‘Cash Me Ousside’ was all over social media for a while, and after a while, everyone figured it was just another dead meme.
Behind the scenes, however, Danielle Bregoli had other plans. In August 2017, Bregoli surprised everybody by dropping a rap single with a music video, titled “Danielle Bregoli is BHAD BHABIE – ‘These Heaux.’” The video featured the 14-year-old riding in a convertible and rapping at a surprisingly decent quality. Her rhymes were not necessarily impressive, but her production and flows were enough to create a track at or above the quality of most songs in the mainstream. The video currently sits at 60 million views, and reached number 77 on Billboard, making Bhad Bhabie the youngest female rapper to ever grace the charts. The track must have shown some promise, because Atlantic records immediately signed her. Her next musical effort, “Hi Bich,” did even better, was certified Gold, and reached number 68. With these singles, Danielle Bregoli was no longer the “cash me ousside girl,” she was Bhad Bhabie.
In the months that followed and into the present, Bhabie continues to release music, and maintain a YouTube channel, where she reacts to videos, does makeup tutorials, and creates other vlogger-type material. There is clearly a large and diligent team behind Bhad Bhabie, and the well-crafted image that has been developed reflects who she was to begin with. It is her abrasive personality that resonates with her fans, or, “biches,” as she calls them, who are numerous, as evinced by her YouTube channel’s 4.3 million subscribers. Her record label is aware of this massive fan base, and has sought to capitalize on it with Bhad Bhabie’s first national tour, “Bhanned in the USA.” To date, Bhad Bhabie has released zero musical projects, with only a handful of singles and remixes, but she’s bringing all of it across the country.
On May 8, College Park, Md.’s MilkBoy Arthouse hosted the tour. A couple hundred people had already gathered by the time the first opener, Alexis Ayaana, had begun. Her set, which was mostly singing and choreographed dancing, complete with backup dancers, was short and sweet, providing a lot of intricate choreography. Ayaana came off like an inexperienced version of SZA, enjoyable and promising. The performance, however, seemed to be somewhat underappreciated, due mostly to the fact that no one could see it. The flat floor and barely-raised stage at MilkBoy ensured anyone outside of the first few rows or less than six feet tall saw basically nothing the entire show. The audience seemed generally unhappy at this arrangement, pushing and shoving, getting upset and commenting on the lack of a clear visual. The narrow room that MilkBoy holds its shows in can house approximately four to five hundred people, but only a few dozen will be able to see at a time.
When the first advertised, and highly anticipated, opener Asian Doll came out, the audience’s spirits seemed to lift. The 20-year-old rapper has been around for a few years now, making a name for herself very quickly. She released a project just a few days before this show called Doll Szn. Much of her performance that evening came from this project, some of which certain members of the audience were already familiar with. The crowd, many made up of teens and parents, seemed to thoroughly enjoy Asian Doll’s energetic set. Asian Doll took time in her set to dance on a guy, as well as speak to the audience in between songs, keeping the energy up throughout. Her performance was fun, intricate, and has likely been crafted through years of shows, improving every time.
Asian Doll’s set was just over 30 minutes, and it did not take long after she finished for the headliner to come out. Both between-set DJs took the time to speak to the audience as well, hyping them up and making them chant “Bhad Bhabie” and “Gucci Flip Flops,” Bregoli’s most recent single and the opening song of her set. Two men who seemed to be twins also came out to hype the crowd, and stayed on stage throughout. They apparently help run her social media accounts, and perhaps add to the hefty security team Bregoli has around her at all times. This team is likely quite necessary, for both Bregoli and her fans, since she has been known to fight any people who may disagree with her. In fact, the day after this show, her security had to fend off a fan who rushed the stage in New York City.
Upon taking the stage, Bregoli’s youth is immediately apparent. Her 15-year-old stature is not obvious when watching her videos online. However, in person, her height is surprising, and is an instant reminder of how young Bhad Bhabie really is. Bhad Bhabie’s stage presence, on the other hand, is anything but small.
Her appearance drove the crowd wild, and any words out of her mouth were eaten up by any who could hear them. After opening with “Gucci Flip Flops,” Bregoli charged through several of her songs, briefly introducing each one beforehand. She also took time to address the audience, saying that being a rapper has long been a dream of hers. Her interest in music has been life-long, which she credits to her upbringing in Florida. She refutes that her music career came “out of nowhere,” and has the chops to prove it. Her rhymes are just as impressive in person, and she can do each and every one live without missing a beat.
The main issue with Bhad Bhabie’s set manifested about halfway through, when she started to perform some of her many remixes. These songs are fine, and her remixes are quality, but it quickly became apparent that she had to perform these songs, because at the moment, she does not have enough material to fill out a headlining set. All said and done, including an encore, her set was about 35 minutes. Full credit to Bhad Bhabie and her team, who did everything she could to make her short set interesting, including playing music videos on large screens behind the artists during every song, picking a fan to come on stage, bringing Asian Doll back out, and having Bregoli rap many of her most lyrically dexterous verses a capella. Bregoli also put a lot of vocal energy into her performance, with her yelling often betraying her age, becoming shrill and child-like at points. These elements altogether created a solid show from front to back, despite its short length.
Anyone of the belief that Bhad Bhabie’s music is garbage and symbolizes a downfall in quality of art is certainly entitled to that opinion, but cannot place the blame on this 15-year-old girl from Florida. She is rapping at or above the quality that has become acceptable in the mainstream for years, with trendy production, relevant cosigns and substantial label support. If anything, Bhad Bhabie is a creature of a larger wave of Hip-Hop that she did not start, but fits snugly into. The notion that Bhad Bhabie is ruining the culture is unfounded; she was born in South Florida in 2003, she’s lived this culture her whole life. If you don’t like it, well, you can catch her outside. How about that?
These incredible photos from Bhad Bhabie’s performance at MilkBoy Arthouse, in College Park, MD, on May 8, 2018, were taken by StayUp.News senior content producer and photographer Jack M. Angelo:
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