The Rundown: Rocky Banks
Written by Greg Harris
Our love for Houston music is quite infinite, and we love to see the progression in the city when it comes to infrastructure and the shape of the sound. As this city is evolving into something modern and sleeker, so are the artists are moving into more of a space that's beneficiary for the independent rapper/singer as they are providing their own distribution and using different levels of grassroots marketing. In the midst of these artists using these tactics to keep afloat, it's some of these guys that are riding their own wave in the process.
Rocky Banks has been a familiar name in the Houston hip-hop scene for quite some time with the releases of his two impressive projects, "In Other News, I Don't Do Drugs Anymore" and "Trust In Banko". He aims to further his popularity and expand his fan base even more with his profilic release that has hit the internet, "Big Little Brother". The versatile project entails Banks life in different chapters with various different tones that fully shows off Banks artistry and flexibility when it comes to how he delivers his sound. He's for sure one of Houston's most viable threats in 2018, and he looks to be one of the sharpest rappers in the nation this year as well.
We had a chance to speak to Banks about his upbringing, playing a major role into the sound of Mo City today, favorite tracks from Big Little Brother, and more.
How’s Your Modern Life?
Big blessed my boy. I'm just taking it in one day at a time
What are three things you have to do when you first wake up in the morning?
That's if I even sleep, but id have to say gives thanks to the Almighty, check emails and play something motivational preferably audio of a motivational speaker
Coming up in Houston, how was your upbringing?
You know, typical black single parent upbringing. Had the good and the bad.
Being from the Bayou City, it’s many stems of influence that derive in the city’s artistic scene, what were some pivotal things that inspired the mold of your sound that you’re delivering today?
I wouldn’t say I’ve really grabbed anything artistically. I think just being from the city I'm embedded with a certain hustle. If I had to say one thing it’d be my choice in the tempo I make my music.
For those who are not familiar with your background, you started your career with the likes of Dice Soho, Maxo Kream, Nate Da’Vinci, and many others who have played a pivotal role into the infrastructure of the Mo City/Southwest sound. How does it feel to be a part of a special class of artists who are putting on Houston in different ways?
Feels good, I know some younger kids that are doing music now that were looking at us as inspiration and still do. Everybody is shining so that's dope.
When it comes to your sound, it definitely sets itself apart from the rest of the group that was mentioned before. How do you feel like you’re setting yourself apart from the rising demographic of artists who are coming out of Houston?
Simply the way I chose to brand myself. From my image to my content I think I bridge the gap between urban community and other demographics pretty well. I always wanted to be for all people.
It’s been a long journey for you to get to this point of feeling solidified, after releasing projects such as “Trust In Banko” and “In Other News, I Don’t Do Drugs Anymore”. Seeing that these projects have laid down the foundation for you to get recognition outside of the state, how do you feel like this project, “Big Little Brother” is going to be the one that’s going to establish your legacy?
I think the growth is so apparent. People can appreciate and respect somebody that stays diligent. I've purposefully left a paper trail with these 3 projects to show listeners my brand of self-improvement is real.
In terms of the “New Houston” soundscape, it’s a lot to offer, but it’s not necessarily consistent in a degree where artists are truly progressing. How would you explain your consistency and will to be amongst the leaders of the city’s new sound?
I think just by having the burning desire to push my limits is whats going to lead me there. Not mistaking activity for productivity. I just focus on giving 200% of my effort to what I’m doing or I’m just not going to do it at all.
During the process of completing “Big Little Brother”, how would you describe your creative process and how did you figure out different avenues you wanted to take for each track?
Man, it was crazy sometimes I’d go on a crazy run where Id take no time at all to do 2-3 records at a time. Then it’d be other times where Id sit with a song for weeks until I figured out my approach. I just recorded and recorded until I figured I was done with the conversation.
"I think just by having the burning desire to push my limits is whats going to lead me there. Not mistaking activity for productivity. I just focus on giving 200% of my effort to what I’m doing or I’m just not going to do it at all."
When it comes to the overall scale of the project, what are some of the tracks that stick out the most to you and why?
The Intro, Other Side, Old Me, and Big Boy. They just give me chills when I listen to them because sometimes I can’t believe it's me. I understand where I've come from and nobody from there never really maximized on their potential and I am. I sound like I'm starting to know what I am.
As a creative, how do you want to help revolutionize music?
I want to keep contributing to the push of the genre we call hip-hop. Becoming one of it groundbreaking DIY pioneers. To go down as one of the most efficient and influential
In 2018, what are three goals of yours you want to get accomplished?
We gotta Tour, I want to donate to at least two underprivileged youth college funds, and secure larger business endeavors
When it’s said and done, how do you to be remembered?
Rakeem Ishmauel Mahammad Williams