We Interviewed Bhad Bhabie And It Did Not Go To Plan
"I just do it my way and it comes out perf."
“I don’t think anything weird has really happened,” Bhad Bhabie tells me over the phone, reflecting back over the past year of her life.
I am somewhat winded by this response, because it is objectively not true. On one level, one person’s weird is another’s normal (and, unable to really ask a further question from that response, I offer something to that effect back), but Bhad Bhabie’s whole world is bizarre. It just is.
That’s not meant to be an insult, nor intended to shrug off her hustle: it’s incredible that Danielle Bregoli has gone from being that 13-year-old ‘Cash Me Outside’ girl from Dr. Phil into a genuine rap power.
Which is why we’re chatting: Bregoli is coming to Australia later this December for a frankly huge national tour, playing the kind of 1000+ person capacity venues most acts work their way up to across albums. But Bregoli’s done it off Fifteen, her debut trap mixtape which dropped just a month ago, featuring verses from the likes of Lil Yachty and Ty Dolla $ign, not to mention a remix with Snoop Dogg.
Her ascension from meme to rap queen (against Cardi B and Nicki Minaj, she was a contender for Best Female Rapper at this year’s Billboard Music Awards) began last year with ‘These Heaux’, a somewhat pedestrian trap song elevated by her bombastic presence. It caught on, and since then, her songs have stuck to the same formula: Bhad Bhabie is bhad, and she’s going to let it be known.
Still, issues abound. Bregoli has lived a life — and you can hear about it on Fifteen’s closer, ‘Bhad Bhabie Story’. At six-and-a-half minutes, it’s an epic compared to her tracks, most sitting around two-minutes. There’s clearly a lot to go over.
After all, we first met Bregoli on a Dr. Phil segment called “I Want To Give Up My Car-Stealing, Knife-Wielding, Twerking 13-Year-Old Daughter Who Tried To Frame Me For A Crime”. Since going viral, the Floridian has spent time at an Utah ranch for troubled teens, been arrested, and had her relationship to her estranged father tested further by her fame — you can hear the pain behind the persona on ‘Bhad Bhabie Story’, where she recounts the whirlwind past few years.
But to Bregoli, her life since Dr. Phil isn’t necessarily strange or ‘weird’: it’s just her life.
By this part of the interview, I’ve come to expect a one-sentence answer from Bregoli. In fact, I realise by the very second question that our chat isn’t quite going to go to plan. I wanted to keep things pretty light overall — maybe a question around the criticism around her ‘Blaccent’ rapping style, but otherwise, something light: her music is driven by a hard-persona and heavy content, sure, but it’s almost always fun.
I abandoned my planned questions, instead lobbing softballs about Australia in the hopes she’d offer something interesting.
That’s not to say I don’t have high hopes for our chat. In interviews with the New York Times and Complex, she’s been pretty forthcoming, shedding some of the Bhad persona to offer insight into what these past few years have been like.
Less so with me. Which, look, is fine. B(h)ad interviews happen, especially when you’re just one of a bunch of journalists with a 15-minute slot. It’s also made worse by the international call’s tendency to echo out and make my Australian accent impenetrable. As it went on, I got desperate, flustered: this had never happened to me.
So I abandoned my planned questions, and instead lobbed softballs about Australia in the hopes she’d offer something interesting. And she did, at times — like I bet you didn’t know she has two friends who are Australian (#scoop.)
Maybe Bregoli wanted to let the music speak for itself. Maybe she didn’t fuck with me; maybe she thought I was a hater. Maybe my accent was too weird. Maybe at 24, I simply can’t talk to fifteen year olds (this is also objectively true.) What is clear is that Bhad Bhabie is coming to Australia, and she’s here to let it be known.
Fifteen, your debut mixtape, came out a few weeks ago. How are you feeling, now it’s out there in the world?
It’s cool, because I been seeing people fucking with it.
When you were making it, what was the thought process? What did you want it to sound like?
I just wanted it to be fun. I didn’t want it to be too deep. I just wanted it to be fun and happy, and all that.
Did you feel any need to prove yourself with this mixtape against the people who have doubted you?
Yeah. I don’t really think I had to prove myself, I think I did prove myself [already].
Sweet. What’s your favourite track for the moment?
‘Yung and Bhad’.
I think mine’s ‘Bhad Bhabie Story’, mostly because I wasn’t expecting to hear something like that on the mixtape at all. How come you included something so raw and long?
Hold on I couldn’t hear you, what’d you say?
That’s cool, I’ll speak louder. I think my favourite song is “Bhad Bhabie Story”, at the moment at least, because it’s so raw. I was wondering how you decided to include something like that on the mixtape?
Because I needed to let my story be known the right way, out of my mouth and not what everyone thinks it is. I feel like it’s just something that had to be said.
And now it’s said, do you feel like it’s done, like you can move on?
Yeah, I think so.
Have you been reading any of the reviews at all or seeing what people are saying online?
Yes and no. I wanna read pages where it’s like, “Oh, I’m fuck with your mixtape,” and all that — but haters and shit I don’t really pay attention to.
You’re relatively new to the music industry overall; coming into it, what was the thing that surprised you the most coming into it?
I’m sorry I can’t hear you, what’d you say?
That’s all good. What surprised you the most about the music industry when you started recording tracks — for instance, how many people don’t write their own songs, for example.
Everybody used to be like “people in the industry are snakes don’t trust nobody,” and then you get in there and it’s really like that.
Just the way that, everybody used to be like “people in the industry are snakes don’t trust nobody,” and then you get in there and it’s really like that. People don’t just be saying that for no reason. It’s really like that.
People in the industry are out there for their own money, whether that’s the manager getting his money off of whoever, or the label getting it. People just want to make sure they’re right.
Do you reckon you’ve got a good group of people around you now? Does that take time to get?
Yes, it didn’t really take time for me but I know some others that I see in the industry, it takes time for them. But for me, it’s moving kind of quick.
Did you ever seek advice from anyone?
I didn’t really ask for advice. I just do what I think I should do.
What was the moment you were like “whoa this is the real deal, I’m doing this?”
Really as soon as I dropped “These Heaux”, I was like “alright I’ma ready to do this.”
It’s been such a quick ascend to fame, is it weird to go to a hundred all of a sudden? I feel like I get a hundred Instagram likes and I become a different person.
I mean, to me I don’t really consider myself any better than I was before… I don’t think ‘cuz I have followers or likes or anything like that, that I’m extra cool and all of that.
Did you see what Kanye West tweeted the other week, where he said the world would be better if we hid the likes on our posts? Do you think that’s true?
No, you don’t? How come?
Because, how could you base happiness off of likes, whether it’s having them or not having them?
I think people get trapped in it, you know?
Yeah, I think that, that’s possible but I don’t really think like … I don’t get trapped in it at least, I be doing my own thing, minding my own business.
Earlier, I watched your behind-the-scenes YouTube video you did for your ‘Geek’d’ music video. The director kept telling you to be serious and not laugh while you were drilling into the safe, but you say you’d be laughing, so you laugh. Has that happened much, where you just want to do something one way and you have to fight for it?
Yeah, I just do it my way and it comes out perf — the same way had I done it the other way.
So, for that video you learned how to drill. What other weird stuff have you learned from your music career?
That’s really about it, I don’t really be doing crazy shit like that.
You’re coming to Australia pretty soon right? What do you know about this country?
I don’t really know much about Australia, I know y’all got kangaroos and shit.
We sure do.
My two best friends are from Australia.
Oh cool, can you do an accent? Are you gonna try to learn?
[Laughs] I don’t know maybe.
I be doing my own thing, minding my own business.
What’s your live show all about, what can people expect?
It’s going be really fun, it’s going to be really hype.
Do you bring anybody out, or is it just you solo on stage?
I have my DJ and my hype girl, and I’ll probably have three friends with me. Or two.
In addition to music, you’re really active on YouTube as well. I was wondering what YouTubers you watch, if any?
I don’t really watch YouTube.
You’re just on there?
I really just be on Instagram, matter fact, I don’t really watch it like that.
So, in your interview with The Fader you were asked about cultural appropriation, and you said that “you can’t act a colour.” Did you see any of the conversation about that afterwards online — and did you think about that anymore, or is that just kind of where you landed with it?
I don’t really wanna talk about all that, that’s really where I stand.
Alright, cool. I guess, final question: where do you see yourself in five years? Where do you want to be?
I just want to be big, that’s it.
Bhad Bhabie is touring Australia and New Zealand this December.
Jared Richards is a staff writer at Junkee who is currently questioning his abilities as both an interviewer and a person. Follow him on Twitter.