Of the raft of female MCs coming through in the UK right now, West London’s Br3nya is a legit standout, coupling her dexterous flow with a wonderfully playful energy. She first made waves in 2018 with infectious cut ‘Good Food’, which set the template for her heady fusion of rap from both sides of the Atlantic with elements of Afro-swing.
Br3nya credits her Ghanaian heritage as the source of her sound’s distinctive bounce. She tells DJ Mag, “The bounciness and good vibe in my music comes from my Ghanaian side. I’m not doing songs fully in my language or stuff like that yet, but you can definitely hear the influence and the vibe. It’s not direct, but you can see it’s the root of where everything came from.”
Artists celebrating the nuances of their respective African identities sit at the forefront of UK rap right now. But this hasn’t always been the case. Br3nya says J Hus paved the way, and the ‘Farda’ is a key influence for her. “He allows you to be your African self, in a cool way. The way he does it gives you permission to do it as well. That’s why artists today have the freedom and confidence to do that.”
Br3nya couples her West African steez with a playfulness reminiscent of US rap heavyweight Nikki Minaj. She explains, “I used to imitate her flow. I was so amazed by the discourse she put out. Her rap discourse uplifted women. I never thought you could talk like this on a track. So when I was 14, listening to Nikki, again it gave me permission to express myself in this way. That’s really where my passion for rap started. She’s responsible for ‘Good Food’, which came from a freestyle on her ‘Chun Li’ beat.”