Bry’Nt Wants it All
For Bry’Nt, there’s not an archetype for what the modern gay or SGL (same gender loving) rapper should look or sound like, but if you were to ask many who first discovered his music at MOBIfest, he would be it. With over 10 years in the “rap game” there’s no denying his talent. And with the amount of admirers inquiring about his dating status, there’s no denying his appeal.
It’s true - I personally know a handful of people who have become newfound fans of “that shirtless rapper that rocked the MOBIfest stage,” but for this particular convo for The Music Issue, we stuck with the passion behind his music and his journey as a SGL or “same gender loving” man as he likes to call it.
What was that moment where you decided music was going to be your career path?
It was gradual so I can’t really pinpoint an exact moment. But long story short, I would say it was in middle school. My family is pretty musically inclined. My uncle played guitar, I have a cousin that raps, my grandfather was in a singing group - it’s always just been innate you could say. In middle school, one of my friends rapped and I felt like I could do that. I started writing my own raps and when people actually heard it, I was getting a lot of attention. Fast forward a few years later and me and a few friends started a rap group and we recorded a demo in my house. We started sending the demo to DJs and labels and we were approached by these guys that claimed to be part of Bobby Brown’s clique and they put us in a group similar to a New Edition. It didn’t work out, but I decided to keep moving forward.
How would you describe your sound?
It’s definitely evolved. In the beginning everything was about shock value and hypermasculinity. It was about trying to be as outrageous a possible. I did have a lot of songs where I touched on personal things, but I would say it's more personal and emotional. There’s songs like, ‘Explain’ and ‘21 Missed Calls’ where I’m talking about breakups. I’m like a refined rebel I guess you could say. I went through a phase where everything was outrageous and now I’m more mature and talking about relationships and real stuff.
You performed at MOBIfest this summer. Tell me about your performance and how that experience was.
Of course! MOBIfest is always exciting. To have a space where SGL men of color can come together and have a good time - it’s always going to be exciting to perform in a space like that. It was really dope. Of course, Sevyn Streeter being there was the icing on the cake. We don’t really have a space where we can showcase our talent and have a good time so it was really great to be part of it.
You’re currently on your Bry’nt Park tour and working on your EP. How’s that process?
Once the first 2 mixtapes came out I decided I was going to put out an album and name it Bry’Nt Park. Some things on the administrative side went wrong and the whole album got stolen from the studio where I was working at and I basically started from scratch. I also didn’t have management at the time so I was doing everything by myself. I decided to put out single after single and also concentrate on the visuals. I came out with ‘Time is Up,’ ‘Keep the Streets,’ and we did a video for that. Then we came out with a video for ‘Explain,’ ‘Explain Part 2,’ and ‘Las Vegas.’ I’m concentrating on putting out another EP.
What’s the vibe going to be on the new project you plan to put out?
I’m thinking the party vibes that I initially started with. At the beginning of my career every song was club-driven. I kind of want to go back there. I also have songs about relationships because we don’t really have songs from an SGL perspective. I think I can shed light on that aspect of our lives.
What’s been the reception from your music?
Well, in the beginning everything was very...it’s the reason why I named my first two mixtapes ‘Pornstar’ because everyone admired it, but they did it in shame. The reception was he has talent, but he’s gay so we can’t really rock to this. But we’re in a different time now. Being SGL is more accepted. It seems like it’s normalized to me. People just like good music. I don’t think they were hating on the music. They knew I could rap, but I had the gay thing hanging over me.
You’ve been part of a lot of popular web series. What can we expect from the shows?
I’m currently on ‘Ghosts of Fort Green.’ It’s almost done filming. ‘Between Blunts & Love Songs’ is a new series. We literally just started filming. It’s about a musician named Tony Parker and he’s at a crossroads between being successful and deciding whether or not he’s going to continue on with pursuing music. I play his ex lover that used to do music, but decided to walk away from it and from the relationship. They run back into each other after a few years and the things that play out from that point are interesting because their lives have changed so much.
Going back to the music, what do you want people to take away from your music?
I want people to think of me as a human novelty. You may not know what I’m doing at the time, but you know it’s transgressive and transformative. I’m a game-changer. Of course we all wish to be inspiring and to be memorable and I think that’s all I really want from my music. My lyrics may be outrageous, but I want people to know I had the courage to step out of the box and do something different.
How would you describe your journey as an SGL music artist and what advice would you give to other artists?
It sounds cliche, but you really do have to work hard even if you aren’t SGL so you can only imagine what it’s like if you are. I think people respect transparency. Being gay isn’t so much of a big deal as far as entertainment is concerned. You still have to work hard regardless. If you’re straight, a female, white...anything! Work hard at what you do and perfecting your craft.
Who would you say your musical influences are?
I have polar opposites of musical influences so on the one hand I have people that inspire me as an artist as a whole. There’s Madonna,The Beatles, TLC, Busta Rhymes, DMX, David Bowie - people like that inspired my creativity. Sonically, every rapper that was coming out of the east coast from ‘95 - ‘05 has inspired me. Those are the people whose bar I wanted to reach.
Anything else you want to share with MOBImag?
I’m actually shooting a documentary about this last year of my career. It’s been a pivotal year in my career because it’s been over 10 years. This year is really the deciding factor in if I’ll continue music. I don’t want to scare people into thinking I’m retiring, but the shelf life of an artist is just so short and I want to show people the ups and downs of navigating the industry as an artist while being black, and SGL, and independent. It’s called ‘Bry’Nt Wants it All.’