Brianna Perry is in one of the most unique positions as a young artist. The Miami native hit the studio at seven-years old, and by nine, she was showing up on mentor, Trina’s album “Diamond Princess.” Now 21, Perry has found her lane and is geared to ride it with the March 8 release of “Symphony No. 9: The B Collection” The mixtape boasts collaborations with French Montana, Trey Songz, Future, Pusha T, T-Pain, and the obvious, Trina.
Perry is an anomaly in rap. She comes from a line of female mentors (Trina and Missy Elliott), a first for an emerging female rapper who most often lean on male cosigns while ducking the heat from predecessors (i.e.: Lil’ Kim vs. Nicki Minaj, then Nicki Minaj vs. Azealia Banks). Her project also dabbles in the feminine mystique, tackling girly things while still maintaining a code of lyricism. The YRB (Young Rich Bandit) discusses the upcoming project, her not-so-sudden success, and how gender roles in rap are still very prevalent.
The Juice: You have a big day coming up…
Yes, yes. I’m releasing “Symphony No. 9: The B Collection.” I’m really excited about this project, and I just can’t wait for everyone to hear it.
How would you describe “Symphony No. 9: Bri Major”?
The project is very expressive. You see growth in me musically, and just over time in my age and where I’m at in my life. It’s just different. I don’t know if it’s too different from what I’ve always done, but I have a couple of new sounds on it. I’ve been working with some incredible artists. It’s just me blocking out everybody’s opinions and ideas of what I should sound like, what musical direction I should go in, how I should dress, everything! I just went in the studio with the mindset of ‘I’m doing my own thing.’
Do you feel like it’s a female thing that people tend to decide what it is that women should look or sound like when it comes to hip-hop?
Yeah! I totally agree. It’s highly critical with being a female and also being a relatively new artist. Not even just with the music, [it’s also] how you should dress.
You have a pretty clear lane right now. Azealia Banks has fallen out of the public favor. Nicki Minaj is on American Idol, going in another direction. It’s all you right now.
Yeah, I’m ready. I came into this year with a lot of promise and momentum [all while] working in the studio. I’m just going to kick it off and give them ‘Symphony No. 9,’ and then it’s going to take off from there.
How did you first meet Trina?
Just being from Miami, Poe Boy was always my home. Even if I didn’t do music now, I would still be affiliated with Poe Boy in some way. Probably doing clerical work or something. I would go there, my uncles would pick me up from school, and I would go to the studio after school and wait for my parents to get off work to come pick me up. I would see different artists in the studio like Rick Ross, Trick [Daddy] and Trina because they’re all from Miami. So, everybody was on their grind, putting in studio time — different producers coming in out, Cool & Dre and all of these people. I was a little sponge. I was always very active. I was always in spelling bees and plays and stuff; I loved to entertain ever since I was little. So I would just watch them and try to make up my own little raps and just try to be like, “Please! Let me, I want to do it too! Can you let me in the studio?” I aggravated them for probably a whole year at age seven. Then they let me get in the booth for the first time. I think I actually have the track somewhere. Then Trina was working on her album, and she wanted me on it! She would come to the studio, she would see me, she heard about me. She just fell in love with me, I think from the first time she actually seen me in action and I was on her album at nine. Then from there, I went to “BET’s Rap City: The Basement” with her, and I made it up to the booth. They talked about in XXL Magazine and from there, Missy took notice. I was signed to her label for three years. I’ve been in the game for a very, very, very long time. Just grinding.
You’ve had mentors in the game who are actually other women in hip-hop. That’s not something that we’re used to, you know?
Yeah, it really is a blessing. I fully believe in putting God first and it’s just so funny when you sit back and watch His plan for everything. Just the whole Poe Boy connection, how I’ve been able to be in so many good positions and meet so many great people, like Kevin Liles, Mona Scott. I took a little piece of knowledge from each and every one of them throughout this journey of trying to make it to the top. It’s all been a learning process; it’s been a blessing, most definitely.
Do you interact with any of the girls in your current generation?
I’ve met Lola Monroe. I love her energy. She’s very cool. I’ve spoken with Azealia, who’s doing her thing. And Rye Rye! We’ve interacted and we showed love to each other so, yeah.
Who are some of the male artists that you co-sign?
Future, who’s so talented; he’s really dope. French Montana, Trey Songz and even Meek [Mill]. He tweeted one of my lines, and I’ve come across him a few times. [Rick] Ross, definitely. Just being from the same hood and having that Carol City connection. Every time we see each other, it’s love. This is somebody who watched me grow from that tender age and that was my first moment of getting in the booth. He was there for those things. He actually put together my first mixtape. I got an extensive list of connects. [laughs].
There’s a storytelling element to your mixtape. Was that intentional?
Actually it wasn’t. When I’m creating music, I’m just going off emotions. I do write a lot about life. With some of my favorite artists, I’ve noticed that they’re very good at that, depicting day-to-day life. Even if it’s not themselves, just maybe the life of somebody else. I’m a big fan of Jay-Z; that’s my top fave. I think his storytelling is just so alluring; it’s so captivating. And probably just listening to him over the years, I probably adapted the same style. I’m also a fan of J. Cole who’s also really good with storytelling. That’s what I like to hear. So that’s probably why my music comes across that way.
Being a female in the game for a reasonable amount of time, what have you noticed?
From a female respective, I’ve just always noticed it’s harder. It’s a male-dominated game. If you want to be the best at whatever it is you do, you want to be successful, you have to work hard. There’s no cutting corners, none of that. You can’t slack. I‘ve seen the best. To me, Missy’s legendary in my eyes because she’s an icon. I‘ve watched her. I’ve seen her studio ethics. I’ve seen her prepare for concerts and just how diligent she is with each project and how much time and effort she puts into everything. I’m just like, “Wow!” This is someone so great who’s at the top of her game. She’s sold millions of albums, she has crazy concerts and she still goes so hard. I find if you want to be at the top, you have to stay true to yourself. When you meet people like Beyoncé, and just watching her humility, I’ve learned that humble artists, they get farther. I’ve learned so much that I didn’t even realize until I got older. But yeah, it’s not easy. This business is not easy at all. [But] as long as you’re having fun and this is your passion, you don’t really look at it as work.