100% Br3nya: the rising rapper ready to blow
“When I’m angry I think that’s when the most savage lyrics kind of come out”.
Good Food rapper Br3nya’s got the UK scene swooning. Mixing a hip-bopping afro swing sound with bold, enrapturing bars, the West Londoner has risen from Instagram freestyle challenges to headlining Islington Academy – all in the space of two short years. Channeling her charismatic, life-affirming energy into a slate of noteworthy singles, the 23-year-old has built herself a reputation for spitting sharp-witted punchlines. From Good Food’s “I’m not a snack, I’m a whole damn meal” to “You dropped hella tunes, not of dem banged” off her vibey Double Dutch track, the MC is accumulating a committed legion of fans with her unwavering self-confidence.
Co-signed by the likes of Stormzy, Maya Jama and Donaeo and working with established producers DJ P Montana and C Biggz, the rising rapper is well positioned to blow. As she drops the visuals for her latest track with Darkoo Juice, The Face get to know 100% of Br3nya.
10%: Where were you born, where were you raised and where are you now based?
Born in London, Hammersmith. I’ve lived here all my life so I’m a West London girl. I’ve been here forever – it’s all I know I’ll never leave. I love it here.
20%: At what point did you realise you’d be able to do what you love for a living?
When Nicki Minaj first came out rapping and stuff, I was 14 or 15 and that was when I got into expressing myself in that same way. It was the first time I’d really seen a woman talk the way she was talking and I just thought “Oh my god, I can relate, I can write the same way”. When I started realising I could do it to the public and entertain people was when I first freestyling and people were going crazy. That’s when I first saw the vision properly.
30%: What’s a piece of advice that changed your life?
From my sister, really. She told me not to worry about what people think too much. That was always what stopped me from putting stuff out there. It took me so long to put out even mini freestyles on Instagram and stuff like that. I’ve always performed in challengers and stuff like that and never put them up, but she encouraged me to just do it.
40%: What kind of emotions and experiences influenced your work?
I draw from, what I like to call, self-gass – a bit of hype. So when I’m feeling myself or if I’m in a good mood, that’s the easiest emotion for me to write off. I’ve got lots of energy and I can put it into my music. I think anger works as well. When I’m angry I think that’s when the most savage lyrics kind of come out. If you hurt me or if an ex does something wrong I’ve instantly got my phone out and voice recording lyrics. I think those are the two emotions I feed off the most.
50%: What can you tell us about your next project?
I’m trying to collect a body of music. Whether I do a single before I release my EP I’m not too sure. But with the EP it’s going to be a collection of vibes and different sorts of sounds. Mainly focusing on myself and showing people what I can do. Like, I’ve done a few singles now and it’s kind of like, let me show you guys what I really do.
60%: Break down your typical day at work…
On a studio day I’ll probably start off around 10am. I’ll go to the studio where I’ll make everybody order me food – like everybody order me pizza! And then I’ll probably fuss for a bit, like, “Oh I’m too hot” or “I’m hungry” or “I’ve eaten too much”. And then I’ll get to work until the early hours of the morning.
70%: What can artists do to help save the world?
Tell their truth and inspire. When you’re an artist you have such a big voice and whatever we say can have a proper big impact on people. You’ve gotta make sure, well not to be a perfect role model, but you gotta give them something to look up to and make a difference in the world.
80%: Who would you most like to see on the cover of The Face?
Me? [Laughs] I can’t really think of anyone else, I mean…
90%: You rule the world for a day. What went down?
I’d give all women crazy power and turn everything upside down. Men would literally be at our feet. There would be no inequality in terms of racism and gender and that kind of stuff. There would be no evil – I know you need balance in the world but there would be a lot less drama.
100%: Love, Like, Hate?
Love music, like money and hate being hungry.