It’s midnight and by any definition of the word we are deep in one of Miami’s hoods. Ain’t nothing glitzy about it. The sirens of police cars going by are frequent, and the fellows leaning over metal fences are sipping on something wrapped up in paper brown bags. Even the local dogs sniffing around seem to be hustling for anything that resembles a meal. But just around the corner on a lot heavily lit by industrial lighting, a collection of the finest automobiles are forming a semi-circle around a group of dancers, popping their hips with impressive force. They are all young and cute, dressed in sexified version of athletic wear, looking like hot cheerleaders ready to play ball. Out of this group of ladies emerges Brianna Perry, female rapper on the rise, who steps out and takes charge, spitting rhymes to her super catchy “Back Der.”
Her appeal is undeniable. An army of handlers, makeup artists, and choreographers that make up her entourage are bopping heads to a track that can easily become an anthem for hot girls everyone. "Sitting like a boss, feet up, red bottoms say you paid, speak up, diamonds lay up on my chest like C-cups, trying to keep up,” Parry raps directly into the camera, delivering every line effortlessly. There is something about her that is eerily reminiscent of Aaliyah. Not because they look alike; their fluid physicality and the subtlety of delivery seem to come from the same bag of tricks. But where Aaliyah’s voice was soft and marked with breathy soprano, Perry’s is anything but. This femcee’s brash vocal depth rivals that of Foxy Brown and MC Lyte. This juxtaposition makes for one unexpected mix. “I like being the surprise in the room,” Perry admits.
Despite all the hoopla on set, Perry is poised and unaffected, seemingly unaware of the mini media storm brewing all around her. First, the New York Times ran a huge article about state of female rap, with glowing reviews of her skills. Then Beyoncé shared Perry’s “Marilyn Monroe” video, calling it one of her faves. "It’s her time," says Elvin Prince, aka Big Chuck, president of Poe Boy Music Group, whose roster includes Perry and Flo Rida. "I’ve known her since she was a little kid; she is talented and driven and going to the top."
Driven is a bit of an understatement. In addition to an intense music schedule, obligatory promotion of her various projects, and very prolific Twitter pursuits, this 20-year-old is working on a business degree at University of Miami. "Lil Wayne went back to get his collage degree. Whether it’s Drake or Jay-Z, their business acumen helped with their music career,” she adds. “They are the artists I look up to.” Today her mom and mananger Kiki seems to be in charge, though Perry is quick to point out that she is, in fact, in the driver’s seat. "I may come across as sweet and nice, but that’s all a front. When it comes to the business, I make all the decisions." She may be a natural born leader, but it takes a village to run this show. "The whole family has been involved in one way or another in Brianna’s career,” explains Kiki. “Even her 12-year-old brother is setting his sights on helping out when he grows up." Which is probably why Perry’s musical choices so far have been strong and authentic without succumbing to vulgarity or an overblown sense of self. And although she no longer raps about Skittles and candy like she did back in the day with Trina, there is a huge relatability factor with Perry, no matter which musical genre is on your permanent rotation.
“I say it’s a blessing to have the power to appeal without having to alter yourself,” Perry concluded. “You do you. Just look at Beyoncé.”Hang out on set long enough and you will learn that everyone has been reading from Beyoncé’s guide to success. From the youngest dancer to Big Chuck, the mere mention of the ultimate destiny child sends shivers down their spines for different reasons.
"I can totally see that happening to us," adds Kiki. "Brianna just shot Must Be the Music in Philadelphia with Charles Dutton. She loved it. There are so many other things she wants to do beyond music. Beyoncé is definitely an inspiration to us."
For now Perry will have to settle on focusing on Symphony No. 9 her latest record slated to drop on Memorial Day weekend. "When Mozart wrote that symphony he was deaf,” she explained. “That’s why the title of my record. I’m turning off the noise of the game and just staying true and focus on my voice." Looks like we are going to be all ears.