This story is part of Billboard‘s annual 40 Under 40 list, which spotlights the young executives who are pushing the music industry forward.
VP artist relations, marketing and special projects, Capitol Music Group
Lil Baby’s visceral protest single, “The Bigger Picture,” released at the height of the Black Lives Matter marches in June, hit close to home for Britney Davis, his longtime marketing representative. “One of my cousins got attacked at a protest the week before Baby put out the song,” she says. So when the Atlanta rap star sent her the track, which eventually hit No. 3 on the Hot 100, Davis immediately teared up. “For so many people who don’t know how to articulate how they feel — whether it’s anger, sadness, frustration — Baby gave them something they can see themselves in,” she says. “It’s one of those moments where you’ve been on such a journey with someone and you’re proud of what they’ve become.”
In 2020, Lil Baby has become one of hip-hop’s dominant figures, with his second album, February’s My Turn, spending five weeks atop the Billboard 200 and earning 2.4 million equivalent album units, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. And Davis, who joined Capitol Music Group in 2018 — a month after Lil Baby signed with Quality Control Music under Motown/Capitol — has been right by his side, working across departments to oversee the rollout of My Turn as well as its May deluxe edition, which spawned the top 10 hit “We Paid.”
A Howard University graduate who used to plan the college’s homecoming concerts, Davis, 34, landed gigs at Creative Artists Agency and The Agency Group before joining Tina Davis’ Phase Too team, where she became Chris Brown’s day-to-day manager and helped build his record label, CBE. Now at Capitol, she’s applying her experience in management, touring and A&R as a liaison between teams. “The artist has a vision, the label has a vision, and they need to be on the same page,” she says. “I’m able to buckle down on strategy under the umbrella of marketing.”
That also involves elevating rising rap duo City Girls and promoting soundtrack projects for films like last year’s Queen & Slim. But the work that most excites Davis is increasing opportunities for Black artists and executives: She’s a member of Universal Music Group’s and Capitol’s racial-justice task forces and worked on June’s The Show Must Be Paused initiative. “I never map out exactly what title I want someday,” says Davis, “but I want to keep helping artists, keep helping the culture and make sure that Black executives — especially Black women — have a seat at the table.”