Meet rapper/producer BR3
Macon native BR3 making a name for himself in the world of rap
Bre Person grew up in Fort Hill with a doting mother who “made the best childhood she could for me by herself – I didn’t have it all, but she made sure I felt like I could have the world and more.” He was immersed in music from a young age – his grandfather used to sing and dance with James Brown, he started playing his first instrument at age 5 (he can’t remember if it was the violin or the recorder, definitely one of those two – easy to get it mixed up, considering he now plays a total of 15 different instruments), and he’d been in national choruses and performed with the Atlanta Symphony, all before turning 13.
When did he set his sights on rap? “I got an MC Hammer doll and cassette tape one of my first Christmases and I’ve been hooked ever since,” he says. Freestyling has always been something that came naturally to him – “I love to think on the spot, and I could always freestyle at the drop of a dime on any subject – it’s always amazed people, it’s a good conversation starter.” With musical influences that run the gamut from Frank Sinatra and Jimi Hendrix to Ice Cube and Andre 3000 – and oh yeah, swing music too – he’s got good, eclectic taste, and his compelling, hook-heavy music shows it. His style as a rapper has evolved into what he calls ‘soulful hip-hop’ – he wants his music to tell his story, to serve as both a spirit lifter and a cautionary tale. “I’ve lived my own movie,” he says, “and now I have a testimony to share that may keep others from making some of the decisions I made. All my songs stem from truth – I am unapologetically me.”
When he first started performing, it was under the name Lammyco. A run-in with the law shook his whole world up completely – he was arrested on multiple weapons and drug charges. After he was booked, he sat in a holding cell for over a week waiting to be processed, and in the meantime no one could find him – not his lawyer, not his family, nobody – “I was just sitting, couldn’t call nobody or nothing,” he says. After the ordeal was over, he was dismayed to find family and friends turning their back on him when he needed them most. He pulled himself back up, though, and went back to Gordon State College for pre-pharmacy, eventually finishing Morehouse and Georgia Tech with a computer science and engineering degree; he’d also started back writing and performing, and landed a record deal that eventually led to an endorsement deal with Gucci. He moved to Miami and was gearing up to open for Beyonce when some issues with his contract reached critical mass and he decided to separate himself from the situation – “All I can say on behalf of that last label is that it was tied into some deep Haitian families in Miami and it could’ve ended way differently, but I’m here,” he laughs.
After two years, he returned as BR3 – his third and final transformation, he says, representing his growth into his true self. With all this experience under his belt, he’s ready to do things the right way, and he’s a goal-oriented, nonstop-grinding dude. His first project as BR3, the mixtape “Black Fingerprint,” is a kind of autobiography of his musical journey so far. Available on every streaming platform, “Black Fingerprint” boasts 4 million downloads and counting, and close to 500 blogs have picked it up –he recently became one of the first artists ever to get a major distribution deal with Empire based on the strength of these numbers. (“I have to give credit to my home label UAMG, though,” he says, careful not to forget the people who believed in him before the numbers came in.) He just dropped the first video from “Black Fingerprint” for his song “64” – he wrote the treatment for the video himself, and it was directed by Brandon Collins, co-directed by Lord Navalta, and features drone footage from Skyforce Studios. It’s beautifully shot, and the song itself is catchy and clever and full of good vibes – the kind of song you want to start over once it’s done playing, because you weren’t done feeling it quite yet.
“I’m ready for the hip-hop scene in Macon to flourish as much as it can,” BR3 says. “There’s so much talent here, but there’s still a stigma that Macon artists aren’t as good as artists from bigger cities.” He’s worked with plenty of those bigger artists – he’s collaborated with people like Rick Ross, T.I., and Yo Gotti, and he’s written for 2 Chainz, August Alsina, and Ty Dolla $ign. His dream collaboration would be with Ice Cube or Andre 3000, and he’d love to work with Taylor Swift someday. As to local artists, BR3 gives props to djs like Teddy from 107.1 and DJ B3 and says he enjoys working with King Roundz, Billie Slum, Syn Soundz, and Midas Wright, among many others. He loves listening to Bob Lennon, and says a collaboration between the two of them is way overdue – Bob, if you’re reading this, BR3 says “Let’s go, Bob, we’re wasting daylight!”
One of BR3’s favorite parts of being a musician is the simple pleasure of watching people listen to music he created – “I love that,” he says, “I love it when spirits are up, heads are nodding, people are smiling – that’s success, that part makes me feel like I can do whatever I try to do. It fuels my music monster.” With the way he’s going, there’ll be no shortage of music coming from him anytime soon – he’s in a solid, focused, creative spot and he’s ready to do work. You can find him on social media – his handle on all platforms is @BR3MUSIC. “I’d love for everyone to follow me on everything and keep up with a lil’ ol Macon-grown artist,” he says, “so I can show that we create superstars down here.”