With over 20 years in the game, Da Brat is a certified Hip-Hop legend. She’s the first platinum-selling female lyricist known for hits like “Funkdafied” “Give It 2 U” and “What’chu Like” and collaborations alongside acts like Jermaine Dupri, Mariah Carey and Missy Elliot.

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Brat, 41, makes her debut on the fall finale of the Fox TV Hit Empire tonight [Wednesday, December 2] as a former cellmate of Cookie’s. Empire‘s known for bringing out some of the entertainment world’s finest to guest star, so it’s no surprise Brat (born Shawntae Harris) makes a memorable debut.

We sat down with Da Brat to discuss her role on tonight’s Empire, the new Hip-Hop acts she’s listening to and her new single which also drops today: “#YAK (You Already Know)” featuring Sage The Gemini and Eric Bellinger.


You’re set to appear on the fall finale of Empire. It seems your character Jezzy and Cookie have an interesting history? Tell us about Jezzy.

“Jezzy is a strong woman and a survivor who helped Cookie through some of the adversities presented while incarcerated.”

How did you get involved with the show?

“I DM’d Lee Daniels and asked him to please put me on the show after I watched it. That was in February. He called my phone and said, ‘It’s Lee Daniels! I want you on the show!’ I damn near hung up on him thinking I was being punked. He said he’d just seen my DM a few days prior. I had the pleasure of hanging out with him through Mariah Carey previously. He included a song I played for him on the Precious soundtrack. He was everything then and still is. I’m so grateful.”

How was it working with the cast?

“The cast is down to earth, humble and all about getting the work done. I absolutely loved the atmosphere.”

You’re a Hip-Hop legend with nearly 25 years in the game. Will you be releasing new music in the upcoming year?

“Yes, I’m be dropping a single today! It’s a new joint called ‘You Already Know’ produced by Sage The Gemini, featuring Sage and Eric Bellinger.

What are some of the inspirations behind your new project?

“My inspirations are my family, friends and loyal fans who keep asking me, ‘WHEEEEEEEN?’ This is what I do. Music is my savior.”

Who are some of your favorite new artists right now?

J. Cole, Big Sean, Wale, Kendrick Lamar, Tink and Cornbread from Chicago.”

Can you leave a special message for your fans?

“My dear fans, I will always be here, staying true to myself. Thank you for your undying love and support. Your reward is in effect. Muahz!”