CASH ME OUTSIDE: What Danielle Bregoli Might Actually Accomplish For Rap Music

“These Heaux” is terrible. On a paint-by-numbers trap beat, Bregoli yelps at the mic in a voice heavily slathered in auto-tune, managing to pack more rap cliches into every bar than I ever thought imaginable. The beat is unimaginative. There is literally nothing here that sticks to the ribs, nor does it even have any true ear-worm appeal that I could identify, for what that’s worth. This is the untested bravado of a poorly behaved 15-year-old with a pitiably limited view of rap music. The funny thing about the attitude Bregoli approaches “These Heaux” with is that it doesn’t differ in terms of maturity level from the same attitude Cardi B gives us on the wildly popular “Bodak Yellow” (despite Cardi being 10 years older and having a more interesting story you’d think would make her work more compelling). Moreover, there’s not much difference in production value or creativity level between the two artists or songs. Coincidentally, both are signed to Atlantic Records. Both garnered a level of fame from viral content and reality TV. The elephant in the room for some people, however, is that Bregoli is white.

Remember Riff Raff? The oddball rapper was dragged through the wringer by Hot 97’s Ebro and others about how they felt he was making a mockery of the culture. Years later, RIff Raff can technically out-rap and is profoundly more interesting than most of the artists in the radio station’s current playlists. And yet the same can be said about how seriously many of them take the culture.

While mumble rap enthusiasts will argue with you tooth and nail about there being space in rap for nuance and experimentation and while Cardi B proponents will try to break down to you how she’s “empowering” or a cultural icon, you’ll oddly find people resistant to Bregoli’s brand of what’s basically the same musical content in terms of substance and caliber.

What we’re forced to come to grips with here is that Danielle Bregoli is basically a product of the rap music and reality TV we’ve been ingesting and allowing to speak for hip-hop in the mainstream for the past 5 years, if not more. This is a child raised by World Star. When you consider the percentage of the population that Black people make up in this country, it’s not hard to figure out that it’s no longer just Black kids that are being marketed to using rap music and “urban” themes – it’s everyone. Bhad Bhabie (Bregoli’s “rap name”) can’t really be placed within the same troubled bracket as Iggy Azalea because, for all intents and purposes, her accent isn’t a put-on. Her immaturity is indicative of her actual age. And her lack of bringing anything new or interesting to the game? Yeah, I think the rap game needs to own that because I’ve been hearing a lot worse in mainstream rap music over the past five years or so – more irresponsible, less witty, and even less interesting music from people much older than Bhad Bhabie who call themselves rappers and adults. Trying to treat bad rap music differently based on the race of the rapper is just dumb. Culture vultures and sucka MCs come in all colorways, b.

Maybe we’ve reached critical wackness at this point and maybe Bregoli is to thank for being an inadvertent whistleblower. Maybe this is a turning point where we look back and wonder what the hell we’ve been doing with this culture for the past decade. We’ve got Cardi B (and now Blac Chyna, reportedly) entering the game with the same re-heated Li’l Kim content casserole (minus Biggie’s pen) that we’ve been lapping up from female MCs since the mid-90’s (and getting a surprising amount of props for it). Danielle “Bhad Bhabie” Bregoli is the mirror some rap fans needed in order to take ownership of the bullshit we’ve been passing down to the next generation of hip-hop fans. Or at least we can hope…

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