by Alden Tackett, edited by dj saratonin
There was a small crowd of people avoiding the rain beneath small overhangs at The Catalyst on November 28th. Bhad Bhabie, also known as Danielle Bregoli was getting ready to perform that night solo after the cancellation of the other headlining act, rapper Lil Yachty who collaborated on her song “Gucci Flip Flops.” As I waited for the doors to open, I caught snippets of the conversations around me. There were murmurs of disbelief and excitement. To some, the concert seemed like a novelty – the ability to see a social media star in person. Bhad Bhabie achieved stardom before she made her first song. Her appearance on the Dr. Phil show is what initially launched her into the limelight. However, as she explains on the song Bhad Bhabie Story (Outro) from her debut mixtape “15”, her goal was never to become famous. In fact, her overnight rise to stardom happened while she was on a rehabilitory ranch, completely disconnected from the Internet. Only after she returned did she see the meteoric rise in her social media numbers. Her rebellious, uncaring attitude sparked something important in the Generation Z kids who spread the TV clips like wildfire.
In the venue, there was no shortage of hype for the main act. Her appearance was teased for a good two hours after the doors opened, and the crowd erupted in cheers every time the DJ asked “Who’s ready to see Bhad Bhabie tonight?”As the clock hit 10 pm, Danielle’s personal DJ Asia Shabazz took the stage playing three songs as a solo set before determining that the crowd was hyphy enough for Bhad Bhabie to come out. The crowd erupted in excitement at the sight of the star as the chorus of the song Juice (feat. YG) boomed through the speakers. She continued the concert with other hits from her mixtape, including Yung and Bhad (feat. City Girls), Geek’d (feat. Lil Baby), as well as her debut single These Heaux. About halfway through the show she paid a tribute expressing her sorrow over the death of controversial rapper XXXTentacion, covering his songs SAD! and Look at Me.
She then continued the show with other hits from her tape, including Count It (feat. $hirak), in which she tossed counterfeit USD with her face on it into the crowd. The crowd’s hype culminated as she played Gucci Flip Flops (feat. Lil Yachty), pausing to take a selfie video from a fan’s phone and interact with a few other people on the barricade. She brought the crowd back down from a roar, and I was honored to be one of the people picked out from the crowd that she said “hi bich” to before erupting into the eponymous single “Hi Bich”, a timeless classic as well as a personal favorite. Her posse left the stage, in which they soon returned with a reprise of “Gucci Flip Flops” before exiting the stage for the last time.
This is where I want to begin my case for Bhad Bhabie. During the weeks leading up to concert, I told several people about my plans to attend. There was a mixed reaction, to say the least. A few shared envy at the opportunity, but most laughed in disbelief. I found that most people still think of her as Danielle Bregoli, the rebellious young girl who made a spectacle of herself on television. However, I can say that after listening to her mixtape and seeing her in concert, I see a tremendous amount of growth from the Bhad Bhabie who achieved viral stardom over two years ago.
Danielle Bregoli was not born with a silver spoon by any means. On her mixtape, she explains the absence of her father and how he tried to create problems for her after she got popular, about how she struggled to make money and provide for her family, and how she even witnessed a murder at the solitary rehabilitation camp she went to. These references all appear in the song Bhad Bhabie Story (Outro), in which she tells the story of her rise to stardom and ending with her recording “Hi Bich”, moving to Los Angeles, and getting a record deal. The other songs on her mixtape feature wildly different themes. Many are filled with proclamations of wealth, confidence, apathy towards her haters, as well as her readiness to fight anyone threatening her and her career. Bhad Bhabie was able to cultivate a large fanbase which supports her to this day, and it’s easy to see why. She’s confident, charismatic, funny, and unapologetic. She’s also extremely talented. Partway through her set at the Catalyst, she had her DJ cut the backing track, and started rapping a monologue very quickly. It’s hard for me to say if this was freestyled or pre-prepared, but it was nevertheless impressive.
On the outro to her 15 mixtape, Bhad Bhabie says that she had 500,000 followers when she first logged into instagram after her initial rise to stardom. Now she’s sitting pretty at over 15.7 million. There’s no doubt in my mind that this continual rise in popularity is due to her relentless attitude and total apathy towards other people’s ideas of her. She refused to let others’ negative opinions get in the way of her career, and I’m sure she will continue to do so. She has yet to tease another mixtape or hint at a debut album, but she recently did a feature with fellow popstar Charli XCX, so I’m sure there’s more to come. I had a great time at the concert and I’m extremely excited to see what’s next for Bhad Bhabie.