Brianna Perry has done a lot in the game at only 24 years old. She emerged as a 10-year old, rapping on tracks with Trina and Missy Elliott as “Lil Brianna;” and she’s been under the glare of the reality show spotlight for three years now on Oxygen’s Sisterhood of Hip-Hop. All of that has taught her two things; patience and resilience.
Having come up in Dade County, Fl., been a signee on both Slip-N-Slide Records and Elliott’s Goldmine Inc., Perry had to learn how to measure her expectations while retaining her ambition in the face of the record industry’s ups and downs.
“A tough lesson was understanding timing and knowing that you can’t be discouraged by how things seem in a certain time,” Perry says. “Keep grinding and keep building and know that everything has it’s season. You still have to grow and get better and try different avenues.”
She’s also had to face the expectations, biases and prejudices that come along with being a female rapper in an industry that routinely marginalizes female artists. Perry thinks that male rap critics and fans focus more on “cattiness” between female rappers and frame it differently than they do when male rappers beef–which is just as often.
“There’s this whole stigma now that’s like one female can be dominant or be on top,” she explains. “So when outside people see someone challenging that or a whole shift it’s very entertaining to watch.
“People seem to expect that more from women–but that’s the nature of the business. There’s definitely a double standard, though.”
And that double standard slants the way the public views what has always been an element of hip-hop–competition.
“I hate that [double standard.]” she confesses. “People can have their differences and at the end of the day this is till hip-hop. Rap is bred off of competitiveness and wanting to be the best. I feel like any emcee should have that competitive spirit and want to be number one.
“When it happens with a female, it shouldn’t be looked at any differently than when it happens with a male.”
Perry’s been able to grow a lot while on The Sisterhood of Hip-Hop and as she’s built her career. And she’s grateful to her mom/manager, and to the female artists that have mentored her along the way.
“I have a lot of strong women in my life,” she explains. “I’ve been able to see women come together and make real boss moves–Trina, Missy, Eve. I’ve just always admired them for that. That’s never been, like, a foreign thing to me. Seeing women working together and being women about things and working through their differences.”