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BBMA Nominee Bhad Bhabie on Being a Rapper 'For Real' and Growing Up on Nicki Minaj

Though she’s only 15, Danielle Bregoli is already well into her second act, having transformed from a meme-spawning Dr. Phil delinquent (“Cash Me Outside Girl”) into the Atlantic-signed rapper Bhad Bhabie. Since inking her deal in September 2017, she has scored a single on the Billboard Hot 100, the swaggering “Hi Bich”; her YouTube channel is approaching half a billion views; and she has paid off her mother’s mortgage. If her career hadn’t exploded, “I’d probably be back in Florida doing something stupid,” says Bregoli. Instead, she has a new single featuring Lil Yachty (“Gucci Flip Flops”), a U.S. headlining tour with Asian Doll and a Billboard Music Award nomination for top female rap artist alongside powerhouse MCs Cardi B and Nicki Minaj.

Get Out The Way

“People don’t necessarily take females as serious, and some [women] are like, ‘I give up. They’re not taking me serious because I’m a girl, so fuck this.’ Others, like Nicki Minaj, are like, ‘Bitch, I’m here to stay. Try to move me. Watch what happens.’ [Once I got signed], people started taking me more serious as an artist, listening to my music more, understanding me more. When ‘Hi Bich’ went gold, I was like, ‘OK, this is for real.’”

Cash Her In Her Own Lane

“I grew up on Nicki. She’s always the original. There are still old Nicki albums I listen to, like [2010’s] Pink Friday -- you know how old that is? But I don’t really look up to any rapper. I don’t want to be like anyone else or do what someone else did. I want to be like me and do what’s best for me. I can’t go do stuff Cardi B did -- that may not work for me.”

Tunnel Vision

“I just don’t care what people have to say. I keep pushing toward what I want. It’s just how I am. I don’t know where I got it from. I haven’t had a huge hit yet. All I know is I have it, but I’m still coming up.”

This article originally appeared in the May 19 issue of Billboard.

Billboard Music Awards 2019

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