Brianna Perry Talks New EP, Entering the Acting World and Taking Control of Her Career
Brianna Perry isn't your traditional female MC. Although she's known to flaunt her seductive looks, behind her beauty is brains and a ton of astuteness. While Brianna, who's also a singer, is quick to turns heads, many are unaware that there's much more to the Miami native than what meets the eye.
After pushing herself through college on season one of the Oxygen reality show, Sisterhood of Hip Hop, she earned a degree from the University of Miami. Two years later, the rapper is attempting to build an empire. Now in the midst of season three of the docu-series produced by T.I., Brianna is gearing up to release an EP and has ventured into the realm of acting.
She recently released "Something to Live For," a track off of her upcoming effort. The reality star is setting the tone for a project more on the socially conscious side. The video features Brianna falling victim to the pressures of living a lavish lifestyle and illegally maintaining it. With the underlying message portraying that there's more to life than expensive clothes and designer bags, it's a record that shows off a deeper side. But that's not to say that there will be a lull when it comes to playful records from Brianna. Just the other day, she released "T.O.B (Them Other Bitches)" with Lee Mazin, her co-star on season three of Sisterhood of Hip Hop. The visual features the two MCs living it up and throwing caution to the wind.
XXL recently sat down with Brianna Perry to chop it up about all that she has going on. From her upcoming EP to season three of Sisterhood of Hip Hop and building up her acting chops, she has no-holds-barred mentality.
XXL: You recently dropped “Something to Live For.” Can you tell me about the inspiration behind the video?
Brianna Perry: “Something to Live For,” I feel like is such a powerful record. I worked with the producer Soundz and Stacy Barthe, both two incredibly talented artists. The message, we actually just came up with it in the studio—just the power that money has over people and how people find themselves on hard times. They’re just out there trying to get it. Many times we shine light on how people are trying to find their way but we never shine light on the consequences that can come behind that. So, I just wanted to tell a story from a different way and just really speak from the heart with my verse and just have fun with it. I still had fun with that record. I got to paint a picture and that’s what I enjoyed most about “Something to Live For.”
The video was dope too. You were robbing people and stealing from people, just really showing the unfiltered struggle. Is that something you’ve seen a lot of women go through coming up in the music game?
“Something to Live For” is just a real life record. It’s people everyday story. It’s like at the end of the day you’re doing all this stuff but what do you have yourself? You’re robbing, stealing and being malicious. You’re just taking from people because you’re trying to gain something but that the end of the day you’re empty and you don’t have nothing. So, I just wanted to paint that picture.
You’re one of the only female MCs that has a college degree. Why was it important for you to live a different life?
It was important for me because it was something that I always wanted. It was one of my goals. It’s like how I take my music seriously. I set goals with my music and it’s the same thing I did with school and my academics. So, it was important for me to do what I set out to do. I felt days when I found myself down or just wondering “can I really do this?” I thank God. Those were four long hard years but I wanted it bad enough so I pushed myself and I made it happen so I just hold that over my head when it comes to over things in life. If you want it bad enough, you can get it. You’re already doing that with school so just always keep fighting for what you believe in and what you want.
Is “Something to Live For” off of a new project you have coming out?
Yes it is. It’s still untitled right now because I just have so many records and I’m crazy about all of them. We’re getting the tracklist together and I want the title to be a representation of the tracklist. It’s going to be dope. It’s an EP. Artists are always working on an album but I just want to do the album when the time is right. Right now I just want to feed my fans. This is for them.
Do you have a release timeframe for the project?
It’s creeping up. Sisterhood of Hip Hop is coming on every Tuesday on Oxygen. On the show you can see the creative process unfolding. You see me having a listening in Atlanta and working on music, just getting things in order on the business side of things. It all just kind of aligns so make sure you tune in.
What’s the overall theme of the project? You probably go over it on the show but is it similar to what you explained with “Something to Live For” and just pushing yourself?
Just pushing myself as an artist and just growing up and realizing things. In a lot of ways in my life, I’m going back to the basics. I’m just getting back to my roots, remembering why I started doing music and going back to things that originally inspired me and not getting jaded by all the fugazi stuff that’s in the industry right now. From the business side of things, just blocking all of that out. It’s about me saying the message that I want to say in my music and doing what I want to do -- making the music that I want to make, making the business moves the way I want to make them and putting out music the way I want to make it. I’m just going back to how I was originally doing things before other parties got involved. With this project, you see Brianna getting back to her roots and really what started me going with my music.
With that said, would you say that you’re coming out of a period that you deterred from the basics?
Yeah, just naturally when other things get involved. People join in on the ship and try to take control of the ship and where the ship is going. I had to kick a couple people off of the ship and I’m the captain now. You just see me bossing up and being one to take control. I’m the captain now like they say in [Captain Phillips].
Are you still with Atlantic Records?
Atlantic, much love to Atlantic. There’s great people there. Shout-out to Mike Kyser and Julie Greenwald. All the artists at Atlantic, nothing but love.
Are you more interested in the indie route? With you taking control, have you ever thought about starting your own label?
That would be dope. Brianna Perry having her own label, CEO. I think I could do it. Shout-out to UM shout-out to E-Class, CEO of Poe Boy Music Group. I feel like I’ve been blessed to see a lot of people get it out of the mud and make things happen. I really hope and pray that there ways have rubbed off on me so that I could really make a way in this hip-hop thing. I wouldn’t count it out for me because you never know with me.
Seems like you have a lot going on. With Sisterhood of Hip Hop in the mix, you’re making music, filming the show and you even recently started acting. Do you ever find it hard to manage it all?
I wouldn’t say it’s the easiest thing but I love it. I’m passionate about it and it’s just my life so I just gotta make it work. It’s exciting creating new projects ad working on projects -- filming and playing different characters. Much love to the Live Squad and the cast, the directors and the whole family. I love it.
We’re now in the third season of Sisterhood of Hip Hop and there are a lot of changes. I see that some of the cast members that have been on the show during season one and two have left. How is it with the changes?
We have Lee Mazin who’s on the show now. She’s reppin’ Philly hard. That’s my girl. We actually work together on the show and the fans will get a taste of that, “T.O.B” We shot a video and everything. People are really going to love it because it’s dope. IT’s young, fun, dope energy. Just with the new editions on the show, it’s cool. Much love to Bia, Nyemiah Supreme and the journey that we’ve been on from the first season to the third season now. I feel like everyone has grown, even the girls who are no longer on the show. I wish everyone the best.
Why did they leave the show?
I just showed to work and they weren’t there. It was a shocker to me too.
Now you’re branching out and got your TV acting wings with Live Squad. Tell me about that.
Live Squad is going to be dynamic. I can’t wait for people to see it. We filmed it out in Philly. Shout-out to Steve Gordon. It’s going to be amazing. I play an FBI agent and she’s the total opposite of me in some ways. I’m playing a lesbian. It’s so crazy because you see her relationship with her father through childhood and how it has really just damaged this girl. She’s determined to just bring men down. She’s fighting crime and I’m sassy getting into people’s faces. People are getting locked up, shot up. It’s going to be something to see, so Live Squad is coming.
Will it debut this year?
Probably next year.
Are you looking into any other acting besides that?
I’ve been out in L.A. just taking classes and staying ready for opportunities. I think you’ll definitely see a lot of Brianna Perry from the television, outside of the reality TV realm. Just me challenging myself with characters and just really taking the acting full force.
So over the course of the next year, we can expect a project and a TV show.
Denim Crave, which is my denim line is getting ready to launch. I’m really excited about that. It’s like my baby how music is my baby. I’m now about to go through motherhood again and have my second child. It’s just the music and denim crave. People should just stay on the alert for that because it’s coming. Denim Crave, remember the name.
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