The Come Up: Dutch ReBelle
Dutch ReBelle is Boston's fiery talent that's ready to go big.
Boston hip-hop has reached a new level of popularity. It's evident at the Middle East Rock Club in Cambridge, MA last Friday night (Sept. 26), where Dutch ReBelle reached some rarefied air. Dressed in a Cam Neely Bruins hockey jersey that served as a dress, garter belts and the crispiest wheat Timberlands, she rocked for a packed venue in celebration of her new project ReBelle Diaries. As an artist in Boston’s highly competitive hip-hop scene, she’s now headlining on the same stage she’s shared with artists like Action Bronson and Big K.R.I.T. Being the star of the show is regular occurrence these days for the artist better known as Vanda Bernadeau.
The Haitian-born, 27-year-old has been busting barriers since she came home after earning a journalism degree at Penn State and decided to pursue her other word-fueled passion, hip-hop. XXL featured Dutch Rebelle in The New New: Boston edition and our 15 Female Rappers You Should Know. Her rep in her hometown, along with her breakout performances at festivals like SXSW, A3C and NXNE, led her to gaining national exposure. A growing presence in the blogosphere with her mixtape Married To The Music resulted in her chopping it up with Sway as a guest on RapFix more than once.
Want to know why Dutchie is special? Look no further than the crowd at the release concert. The show feels more like a coronation than a concert. A who’s who of Boston’s scene are there to see her step up to the next level. The college kids that have come to love her from her live shows are right next to the women that party to her songs in the clubs who came with the cats that bump her music in their whips. ReBelle has built an audience for her exuberant brand of hip-hop built on left of center samples and clever turns of phrase. Like her idols Styles P and Lauryn Hill, she weaves consciousness into her turn-up without coming off as preachy.
ReBelle Diaries is all over the place in the best way. The introspective tone of the album that includes guests like the 2011 XXL Freshman Fred The Godson and production from ATG gives you and up-close and personal look at what’s going on in the mind of the Haitian-Dominican spitter. As she speaks on the stress on surviving (“Yen”), loving the wrong person (“Love Is”), self-reliance (“All On Me”) and the jealousy that attention brings (“I Know”) you feel her as she’s trying to make sense of it all.
And what does one do once they get love in their hometown? Smart hustlers take the show on the road. With the launch of her own label ReBelle Music, she's working hard with her team to reach the next level. A return trip to SXSW in 2015 and this year’s edition of A3C festival where she’s appearing on three stages should help the world know what Boston is already up on. We talked with Dutch about building her own company, her friendship with Fred The Godson, and how education helps her navigate the industry. Get familiar with Dutch ReBelle in The Come Up.—G. Valentino Ball