Bhad Bhabie's Concert Proves All Her Haters Wrong
As my friend and I waited to collect our tickets for Bhad Bhabie's Sydney show from the box office, a sweaty, blonde teenage boy came up to us, offering to sell us his ticket for $20.
"Legit, I just got kicked out for underage drinking, this bitch hates me and made me leave!" he exclaimed with a laugh, incredulous. "Seriously, she's such a bitch!"
We laughed, empathising with his underage struggles, explaining that we already had tickets. He was promptly told by security that he couldn't sell his ticket outside of the venue.
Going into the concert, I had no idea what to expect.
Bhad Bhabie (pronounced 'bad baby'), aka Danielle Bregoli, is a new and unexpected face on the rap scene. She rose to internet stardom after a memorable appearance on the 2016 Dr Phil show segment I Want To Give Up My Car-Stealing, Knife-Wielding, Twerking 13-Year-Old Daughter Who Tried To Frame Me For A Crime.
After challenging audience members to a fight outside the studio, her now infamous "cash me outside, how bout dah?" became a viral meme.
In the two years since, she's dropped a studio album, been signed to Atlantic Records, and launched a world tour -- the Australian leg of which has teenagers frothing at the mouth.
As we entered the Enmore Theatre, a man asked us if we were over 18. With my 33rd birthday on Wednesday, I laughed. "I know," he chuckled, "it's like a step back in time, right?"
Surveying the dancefloor which was 90 percent teenagers standing in groups dressed in their best '90s nostalgia outfits, I did feel like I'd stepped back in time. As the DJ played and teens milled about, sipping their sodas, I suddenly felt like I was attending an underage disco.
Telling my friend this, she replied: "Yeah, but I feel like a chaperone."
Throughout the show, we'd watch security roam the crowd, dragging half a dozen other teenagers out for drinking, smoking weed and fighting. Suddenly, it was no longer a step back in time.
As an elderly woman who grew up with Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Mandy Moore and Jessica Simpson -- all white, blonde, mostly virginal pop princesses who performed carefully choreographed dance routines to bubblegum pop music, it was wild to watch Bhad Bhabie, just 15-years-old, command the stage.
From the second Bhad Bhabie strutted onto the stage, rapping about life as a famous teenager, I was struck by her stage presence and command of the crowd. Serving charisma by the bucketload, she flicked her long red hair and used her long acrylic nails as a prop to drive home her bars. The crowd screamed, loving every second. When she dropped down to twerk or greeted the crowd directly, they screamed even louder, eating the show up and going wild as the bass vibrated through the dance floor.
You may think that a teenager who scored a record deal from being memed would just be along for the ride, seeing how long she could extend her 15 minutes of fame without any real aspirations for a career in music, but her concert showed that her 15 minutes will still be going long after her 16th birthday. On the contrary, to watch her perform is to see someone invested in their career, ready to take on an industry that wants to dismiss her even if it means convincing them one by one.
Bhad Bhabie represents a new kind of teen idol in a musical landscape where the marketing of teen acts is as divided as America's political climate. Where Britney, Christina, Jessica and Mandy once duked it out on the charts competing for the same audience (me), Bregoli's teen competition is found in former Dance Moms' alumni JoJo Siwa. Both 15 years old, the two teen performers could not be more different.
Outspoken and unfiltered, Bregoli spars with a lot of people, in fact, it's how she got famous.
Recently, she took on her fellow teen star after JoJo -- a squeaky clean performer who's marketed mostly to children and tweens -- tweeted a screenshot of a post that called Bregoli a "delinquent", saying that she loved being "a positive role model" and praised the virtues of being a kid and not growing up too fast.
Danielle's response? "Suck my dick".
More recently, she feuded with Australia's own Iggy Azalea, who she gleefully referenced throughout her concert.
Calling her a "dumb blonde bitch" she yelled: "So anyways, f**k that bitch, I'm in your country, whatchu gon' do about it bitch?! Thank you, thank you!"
Performing an a capella rap at the end of the evening, she doubled down, rapping "b***h don't compare me to Iggy... bye hoe b***h, bye hoe! IN YOUR F**KING CITY B***H, YOU CAN SUCK MY DICK IGGY!"
Of course, it's par for the course, as no rap star's image is complete without a little controversy, which was served up on Sunday night during the three-minute tribute to XXXTentacion, the rapper shot dead before he could face horrifying and extensive abuse allegations.
In fact, it seems even Eminem -- the king of controversy himself -- has taken notice of Bhad Bhabie, as fans decided he was emulating her "Hi Bich" flow on his track "Not Alike". (It should be noted that others think he was referencing the Migos track "Bad and Boujee").
Of course, the point of Eminem's track is to criticise the style and talent of the new generation of rappers, but after years of name-checking and referencing current pop culture in his work, the diss only serves to cement Bhad Bhabie's place in the music landscape. Although Bhad Bhabie took the diss as a compliment, her concert proved that she's ready to carve herself a career that will outlast the current flow of the rap scene.
Feature image: Getty Images