Boston-based rapper Dutch ReBelle is known for her sharp lyrics, honest edge and the raw passion she brings onstage, which she credits to her family roots.
"I was born in Haiti, my father is Haitian — he's half Dominican. My mother's Haitian," says ReBelle. "My father came to the states before we did. The passion really comes from having a big family that had to go through that. And my father's one of nine brothers and a sister, my mom's one of six or seven. My house was like the central house — everyone came to my house, everyone hung out at my house. It was music all the time."
And with a big family came a broad musical palate — Haitian Kompa, the Meringue, reggae, disco, Shania Twain, The Fugees, even opera. ReBelle recalls being mesmerized as a kid watching Andrea Boccelli perform on TV.
"He couldn't see the crowd. He could just feel the energy and the applause," says ReBelle. "I didn't know what he was saying. I mean, I still don't know what he's saying but I knew that I wanted to know and I knew that all those people there came out from many different countries and many different places and that was the first artist that I saw outside of Haitian Kompa, Zouk-like artists. It was amazing."
It wasn't until the very end of college that Dutch ReBelle, a Milton High alum who was studying at Penn State at the time, had a wake-up call.
"In 2007, I ended a long-term relationship, my best friend was shot but she survived," says ReBelle. "A friend of mine died, she passed away because of an illness. It was very sudden. [There were] problems with my household, a car accident almost killed me — a brand new car of like two weeks. This all happened in the span of like three weeks. So I was just like, you know what, I have to really just tap into the things that I used to do before that made me feel like I was here. Within like two, three months, I was at like Hard Rock, I was at House of Blues, I was down in Texas doing the South by Southwest festival, so it was just like, alright. I'll keep going and seeing."
Now, Dutch ReBelle is one of the fastest rising stars in Boston's hip hop scene, and she's just released her third full-length album, titled "ReBelle Diaries."
- "Hustling has always been synonymous with hip-hop: not in the slang sense of the word, though that also has its place, but in the general idea that relentless self-promotion and a ubiquitous presence within the scene are basic requirements for contemporary success."
This segment aired on October 3, 2014.