January 9, 2015

Bry'Nt: On Being Out in Hip Hop, Acting, and His Album Release



















Out hip-hop artist Bry’Nt may not have a definite release date for his debut album, “Bry’Nt Park”, but the skilled MC is still reigning supreme per usual.

His latest offering, Everyday, from the upcoming EP, “B.E.”, found its way into the headphones of fans shortly before the new year. Like most of his work the track has been well-received. He credits much of that to his versatile producer Esquire. “He’s basically produced about eighty percent of my album,” says Bry’Nt.


The pair met in 2011 after Esquire reached out wanting to join forces with the Connecticut-bred rapper. “He was really adamant about working with me,” he says. “I was skeptical at first, but after I listened to some of his stuff I was really impressed.”

“B.E.” features both of
the guys in a Watch the Throne—esque collaboration. “There’s alot of songs [on my album] he raps on, so I was like why don't we take the songs that have you featured on it and put that out as a separate EP,” he says about the project. 

So far “B.E.” has seen the release of two singles.




















Since stepping out professionally in 2008, Bry’Nt has done pretty well for himself. His talent has garnered national attention and a substantial following. However, in a culture that is saturated with misogyny and homophobia (which is prominently displayed in FOX’s new hip-hop drama, Empire), being a proud gay man can make the road to success even more trying. “In hip-hop it’s still forbidden,” he says. “Any time you have a gay man, or a lesbian woman, or anybody that goes against patriarchal norms there’s going to be some type of antagonism.”

But that has not stopped Bry’Nt from freely wearing his sexuality on stage and in the studio. 
“I didn’t want a career where I would have to be scrambling to hide everything,” he says. “If I would have kept it a secret and my career started to grow, that would be something I would have to stay on top of. Now I don’t have to. I can just be myself.”

That is a far cry from his character in the series Finding Me, a spinoff of the two feature-length films, Finding Me and Finding Me: Truth















Finding Me, an OmeProTV production, follows five main characters as they maneuver through complicated relationships with various love interests and friends. Omar, played by Bry’Nt, first appears in the movie, Finding Me: Truth. He is a menacing and volatile gangsta who has not quite come to terms with his sexuality. The show continues to chronicle his journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance.

This is Bry’Nt’s first formal role. Balancing his music career with acting has been an adjustment. “Being multifaceted is alot of hard work,” he says. “[Filming] took me away from my music for so long.”


The series is currently is its second season. Check out a clip below:




Although he enjoys acting and would like to do more of it in the future, music will always be Bry’Nt’s first love. That is why he promises 2015 will be the birth year of “Bry’Nt Park”.















The album was initially set for an April 2014 release. But in the same month, Bry’Nt took to social media to inform fans that his debut effort would be pushed back—“indefinitely”. There was no explanation as to why until now. 

“It was a series of events,” he says. “I didn't feel like the album had enough buzz. At the time I thought it was more important to put out [music] videos instead of releasing an album.” 

In the process of creating more interest for the compilation, it ended up being stolen. “There’s a producer who worked on my album, and I guess he had discrepancies with the studio owner,” he says. “He went into the studio and stole everything.”

Though disappointed, Bry’Nt took the mishap as a sign that the project was not meant to come out at that moment. He eventually began working on a new set of songs. 


He hopes the latest collection of material will inspire his supporters, many of whom are also young black gay men facing common issues. “You just have to be very strong,” he says. “There’s going to be alot of adversity. There’s already [hostility] toward black people as a whole. Being black and gay is getting a double dose.”


Perhaps the greatest piece of advice he can offer his fans is on the topic of fear. “Always be fearless going into situations because fear is what keeps people stifled,” he says. “You have to do what makes you happy, as long as you ain’t hurting nobody.”
















And that is exactly what Bry’Nt does in his professional career, and has learned to do in his personal life.

Growing up, the rapper experienced his fair share of trials. Dealing with an absentee father and his mother’s marriage to another man formed a turbulent adolescence.


 “Those two things put together with the combination of me being gay and not understanding what it was that I was feeling, all those things, it just did not turn out for the best,” he says. “I was out of control, my mother could not control me, the teachers could not control me. I was just a rebel.”

The only thing that did keep Bry’Nt in line was performing arts. 


“In school I was in band, in dance groups, rapping, poetry, I went to camps, everything like that,” he says.

Another source of refuge was a stereo his mother bought him when he was young. Everyone from Busta Rhymes to Madonna to Mobb Deep blasted through the speakers. 
“I loved that stereo so much,” he says. 

Gathering some neighborhood friends together, he eventually used the machine to record a mixtape. “I still have that tape till this day,” he says. “You can really hear the raw talent. Some of my rhymes were so wack, but that’s when I was first starting out.”


When Bry’Nt was ready to open up about his sexuality he ironically did so through the same medium. “I let the world know by dropping a mixtape,” he says laughing. “After my mother knew, I didn't really care about anybody else’s opinion.”


















With two successful mixtapes, four (high quality) music videos, and numerous performances around the globe under his belt, the future is looking pretty bright for Bry’Nt. 


He assures fans there is more to come.


“I want to influence our culture,” he says. “I want people to say that I changed their way of thinking with my music.”  


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