It's undeniably the year for female rappers to be on top, with the likes of Cardi B, Janelle Monae, Nicki Minaj and more shining with arguably their biggest releases to date.
But the ones who rise to the top start from somewhere and Bri Steves is another young artist to keep an eye on, having already score a coveted stamp of approval from King Kunta himself.
The 23-year-old Philly rapper recorded her debut album while still at uni finishing off a PR degree, and now tracks like Miami and Last Night are garnering the attention of many a musical heavyweight for her bristling attitude and aggressive freestyles. Songs like Jealousy meanwhile show off Bri's equally arresting singing voice, perhaps a mix between SZA and Ciara.
read more: 2018 is the year for female rappers to shine
She first met Kendrick Lamar two years ago when the rapper was invited up to perform with Kendrick during his Made In America performance. Speaking to The Enquirer, Bri says, "We were backstage, Kendrick was sitting there talking to me about, 'OK, I'm going to bring you out after m.A.A.d. city' … and I'm just as cool as a cucumber. As calm as can be. My team was like, 'What's going on with you? Why are you so calm? This is not who you are at all, you're always so frazzled.'
"That was the first time at any show ever that, wow, I just feel like I belong here. I'm not nervous. I'm not unsettled. Man, I know I'm talking to my greatest inspiration ever, Kendrick Lamar. I used to watch his shows to figure out how to perform and I'm here talking to him? It just felt crazy to feel so serene.
"That was super-big for me. I know other people would have peed their pants standing next to Kendrick. I held it together."
Her latest track is Miami and it comes with a super cinematic, bank heist-oriented music video. The song was entirely freestyled when she wrote it and Bri sought to use an entire cast of women in the clip with her.
"I was in Miami and I was recording with Supadup. I had a flight at 6 in the morning and I was in the studio at 2 am. The session was ending and they played the track by accident. When I heard the track I was like, “Don’t turn this off.” I went in the booth and Miami ended up being all a freestyle.
"My music is about women’s empowerment and I wanted to have some dope women around me," she says to Noisey.