New York emcee Elijah Bank$y has finally unveiled his debut project, #BANKSY4THEKIDDAS. The 7-track project features two of the first songs I heard from Bank$y, “95 Till” and “SAMO,” which introduced me to his passionate bars filled with vibes, nostalgia. While his self-proclaimed grit is heavily channeled through “Be That” and “TC Boys,” his unmistakeable drive permeates throughout the EP. Bank$y continues to progress with each release—flexing his versatility without jeopardizing his identity and distinct sound—making him a name to watch in the new year.
Recently I had the pleasure of speaking with Bank$y about his background, how the project came together, and his plans for the new year.
Please introduce yourself.
Elijah: Yo, I’m Elijah Bank$y. I’m from a small town called Monroe in New York that’s about 45 minutes to an hour away from the city.
How did you get into hip-hop?
My parents and my uncles; they would play a lot of Biggie and Wu-Tang and I would recite the lyrics from a very young age. I never actually started writing my own lyrics until I was like in the 5th grade.
Who’s on your playlist?
Right at this moment, other than the homies, I have that new Pusha T album, Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly, Archy Marshall’s ANP2D, Trellion’s Lighthouse Tape, and A2.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Anything to be honest. My actual feelings. My environment. It could honestly be anything.
How has living in New York influenced your career?
I’ve lived here my whole life. It’s the mecca you know? Some people don’t really care about that anymore, but I’m a big fan of 90’s era music and really take pride in myself on being able to rap at pretty high level (in my opinion), and I would say my ability to do that and my style is definitely heavily influenced by being in New York.
Tell us about #BANKSY4THEKIDDAS. How did the project come together?
#BANKSY4THEKIDDAS basically came together by me just wanting to do songs over time. I’ve been working on an album on the low with my homie Gus Dapperton for about 2 years. I just kept recording songs on my own in between the periods where we weren’t working on that other album together. It got to the point where I had like 3-4 solid songs. Some were written, some were already recorded. I just naturally wanted to write these songs over this really long time period and it allowed me to put something together since our other album is taking a while (for a good reason), so #BANKSY4THEKIDDAS kind of created itself.
What do you want listeners to take away from the project?
I want listeners to get a feel for my music and see the growth in the music. I didn’t really make songs that sounded the same and I didn’t rap the same on every song. There’s also no features on it for a reason. On my debut I really want to push my sound first and foremost.
What was the biggest lesson you learned while making the EP?
The biggest lesson I learned was to have fun with the music. I’m actually pretty efficient with recording so a lot of the songs were pretty easy to do, but every time I listened to them I wanted to re-record a lot of them with a different flow and vibe. That was really a first for me.
What do you have planned for 2016?
This EP, videos hopefully, getting booked for some shows, and I’m really hoping I can finish my other album with my homie Gus Dapperton.
If you could choose one artist to tour with, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I really don’t think I could choose one. Dead, probably Big Pun because he’s my favorite rapper ever. Alive, there are too many people I think I would make a dope tour with. I think maybe Childish Gambino or Chance the Rapper…honestly such a hard question.
Any advice for fellow musicians out there?
Sounds super cliché, but honestly once you find out who you are, just embrace it and make that your image. Don’t chase singles and stuff like that. Let everything happen naturally.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Shout out to the homies Core Stylez, Xavier Alexander, George Kush, Lord Fatts, Ian 310, Memory, GauteGrom, and Vince Blok for helping me put this EP together. Hoping to make Elijah Bank$y a household name this year. Bless man.
Stream and download #BANKSY4THEKIDDAS below.