Will the real Marilyn Monroe please stand up? It seems as though neophyte raptress Brianna Perry dropped her ode to the blonde bombshell right in the midst of Marilyn fever. While the Oscar-nominated biopic, My Week with Marilyn, focused on the Hollywood icon’s turbulent times, Brianna uses her name to draw inspiration and set the tone for her swagger: young, sinfully sexy, and set to keep the world wrapped around her little finger.
The fact that Nicki Minaj is dominating female rap—not to mention that she too has a song called “Marilyn Monroe”—doesn’t seem to faze the 20-year-old Miami native, who dropped her mixtape Face Off last year.
As she gears up for the release of her Poe Boy/Atlantic Records debut, Brianna gives Rap-Up.com the scoop on the competition, her alter ego, and the fairytale of a female rapper.
1. What is it about Miami that breeds confident hip-hop artists like Rick Ross and your mentor Trina?
Ross sweats confidence. He breathes swag. High self-esteem is very important. Confidence is sexy. We are all from Miami. I’m sure that there was a point in time where we all ran in the same circles or in the company of each other. We picked it up from each other and we just ran with it. And you have to be like that in Miami. You have to feel yourself in order for others to feel you.
2. Did you always know that you wanted a career in showbiz?
I was always the kid in school plays, oratorical contests, or doing poetry—broadcasting the news in elementary. I was always involved in something, so I always knew I wanted to be an entertainer. I went to a summer program in Miami where you get to act, sing, and play instruments. I went there every summer for as long as I can remember.
3. There will always be comparisons. How do you set yourself apart from other female rappers like Nicki Minaj?
I’m just being myself and doing my own thing. As of now, I haven’t heard the comparisons. I feel like in so many ways, we’re very different. There are differences visually, musically—content. She has her story to tell and I have mine. I feel like all of that will speak for itself.
4. How would you describe your story?
A never-ending musical fairytale. Because it started with a “Once upon a time…” I know that my situation is very rare. I’ve been so blessed to experience many things.
5. What is the most common misconception about female rappers?
Just the lack of respect that we may get. The ignorance of having your physical features be looked at versus your lyrical talent. That’s always been an issue. It’s a male-dominated game, so we have to go ten times harder than males just to get as much attention.
6. As a first-time voter, which presidential candidate will you be supporting this fall?
I appreciate and advocate Obama. I feel like they’re being hard on him. It’s not like you can become a new president and automatically the country is back in shape. He came in with a huge mess that he had to clean up. It’s going to take more than four years to do that. To my understanding, some jobs did increase. Some improvement was made.
7. What issues are you most concerned about?
What touches me the most is the job situation. Back home in Miami a lot of my family and friends are employed in the school system. I know teachers that are being affected by pay cuts, who have children and aren’t getting raises. They have needs that they have to meet and they can’t because they’re out of work. People have bachelor’s and master’s degrees and they’re still out of jobs—that’s disturbing. As a college student, that can be very discouraging to me. So why am I sitting in this classroom right now trying to get something that may not help me in the future?
8. Talk about Brianna the student.
I’m not in the front row and I’m not in the last row. I’m in the middle. I’m just there and I’m taking notes. And I’m passing. If I get called on, I’ll answer but I’m pretty laid-back, chill. I’m studying business marketing. I feel like it could help me in the industry that I’m in.
9. Do you have an alter ego?
Every artist has an alter ego. You have to turn it on for the stage. I turn it up a hundred knots when I’m performing. But on an ordinary day, I’m just laid-back, chillin’. Sometimes you may not even know I’m in the room.
10. What surprises you about your audience?
Their reaction and their involvement. How in tune they are or how thrilled they are. It’s incredible. I get a rush from that—it’s real. I’ve traveled oversees with Flo Rida and it’s great to have international fans constantly supporting me, downloading the mixtape. Music is a universal language that everyone embraces.