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Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024
The Observer

Ladibree, the edge of glory

Claire Kopischke | The Observer
Claire Kopischke | The Observer

Ladibree only wants one thing out of life — everything.

As ambitious as she is talented, rapper and Notre Dame junior Briana Connor — better known by her stage name Ladibree, or simply “Bree” — has come a long way since the release of her debut mixtape “Ambitions & All-Nighters” only two years ago. Now, with a new EP ready for release and her own label, Plan A Records, beginning to gain traction, Ladibree is well on her way to achieving the “everything” she has her heart set out for.

Her new project, a six-track EP titled “Only Everything,” was crafted with the intention of showing people how much she has grown since her debut mixtape, which she admits was more of a sonic collage of her early career than a thematically-cohesive artistic statement.

“[Ambitions & All-Nighters] was literally just me saying, ‘I’ve been doing music for so very long and haven’t, you know, had an actual product with this. I’m just throwing everything on it,’” Connor said. “I’m definitely a lot more selective with this one because I know what it’s like and I know where I want my brand to go.”


Photo courtesy of Briana Connor

Although Bree is a business student at the University, when speaking about the EP’s title and content, she flexed an introspective muscle much more typical of a philosophy major than a management consultant.

“When you ask anyone else, your everything could be their only, and your only could be their everything, so really it’s all perspective and how the person thinks,” Connor said in reference to the EP’s title. “I don’t think anyone, you know, should be made to feel ashamed for wanting everything … as long as you’re grounded and understanding that, at the end of the day, there has to be a cap somewhere, to where you can sit and rest.”

The EP kicks off with introduction track, “Liftoff,” before transitioning into pre-released songs “Bruce Wayne” and “Chosen,” the latter a hard-hitting ode to self-worth centered around a trickling synth line and the lyric “God with me, but the devil keep patrolling.”

The song that follows, titled “Thursday Night Waves (Interlude),” may hold a particularly special place in the hearts of many Notre Dame students. Although names were withheld, Connor teased that a well-known campus celebrity will be making a cameo appearance on the track.

“Everybody [at the recording session] was singing it and he’s like, ‘Hey, let me get on the song. Let me get on the song.’ And he just wouldn’t shut up,” Connor said. “So I was like, ‘Ay, just come here. Just sing it. Just go ahead and sing it.’”

The penultimate track, “Rome,” shows a more contemporary Ladibree, trapped in a loyalty-questioning paranoia induced by her love for Shakespeare’s “The Tragedy of Julius Caesar.” The EP’s closing track, “Still Praying,” finds Ladibree urging the faithful to continue practicing their religion even after their prayers have been answered.

“You can get everything you want. You can pray to God to give you all these opportunities and all this success. But at the end of the day, once all of this comes, the praying doesn’t stop, you know what I’m saying?” Connor said. “Once you get it, you shouldn’t stop thanking Him. You shouldn’t stop asking him for strength. You shouldn’t stop any of that.”

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“Only Everything” will be released on Plan A Records, a label founded by Connor in an effort to help up-and-coming artists avoid the dark corners of the music industry that lead many uninformed musicians to be financially and musically exploited by major labels.

“It’s really a relationship of communication between the label and the artist that gives them control of their music career in such a way that they don’t have to worry about every single thing that goes on, but they know what’s going on,” Connor said. “You have a say in how you want your video to be done. You have a say in what venue you want to be in. You have a say in what kind of music you want to do.”

In addition to helping develop the artists she has already begun collaborating with, such as Notre Dame graduate Coty and junior Danny Jimenez, better known as Solo, Connor is hoping to work with more on-campus musicians who may be lacking a proper artistic support system or have fears of chasing their musical dreams in lieu of a more traditional career path. In supporting this mission, Connor is planning to host an “Artist Showcase” in South Bend next fall to shine light on what she believes is a gravely overlooked Notre Dame music scene.

“I think it’s very, very underground and it shouldn’t be,” Connor said. “I guess you can’t have a major in rock. Whatever. You can’t have a major in, you know, hip hop. Okay, fine, fine. I’ll take that. But there’s no reason why Notre Dame shouldn’t invest in the talents of [fellow student musicians] Alpharo or Felix [Rabito], and have them put on concerts in DPAC. There’s no reason.”

“Only Everything” will be released in mid-March on all major streaming platforms. Ladibree also said fans can expect a full-length album from her next fall.