The Break Presents: Erica Banks
Things can happen quickly in hip-hop, and few artists know that as well as Dallas native Erica Banks, who's experiencing massive success with her streaming smash "Buss It."
At 12, she was a talented young poet, winning school contests by reciting her own work. By her freshman year of high school, she transitioned into rap, influenced to do so by her friends and the way the culture permeates through the youth. She rhymed at lunch and wrote her bars down in her free time. Once she got to college, she took her talents to a studio in her sophomore year at Texas A&M Commerce in 2018. Then a nursing student, she dropped out that same year to focus on rap, which her parents were none too happy about.
However, these days, they are much happier with their daughter's decision considering she's a 1501 Certified Entertainment/Warner Records artist with six projects under her belt. Her eponymous mixtape, released in June of 2020, houses "Buss It," one of the most viral songs of the last few weeks. The thumping, SGT J-produced track is racking up close to a million streams a day on Spotify and has a social media challenge, aptly titled #BussItChallenge, attached to it. The challenge kicked off on TikTok, where it now has over 2.5 million video creations.
Before her current rise to fame, Erica Banks signed to 1501 Certified Entertainment in April of 2019, after catching the attention of label CEO Carl Crawford when she played "Buss It" for him during an Instagram Live session. Since the signing made her label mates with the Houston Hottie Megan Thee Stallion—and the much-publicized label dispute between Meg and Crawford is still ongoing—Banks was compared to Megan immediately. The success of "Buss It" has helped quiet any criticisms. Now, Erica has a hit to her name that is all her own.
The song, which samples Nelly's 2002, two-times platinum-selling track "Hot In Herre," feels like a modern strip club classic. Originally released in February of 2019, "Buss It" gradually increased in streams and YouTube views, but it took a leap in late 2020 and early 2021, thanks to the #BussItChallenge. Mostly done by women, the challenge involves the participant appearing dressed down then changing into a fancier outfit and twerking to "Buss It" after the switch happens. The challenge caught on quickly, and now has celebrities like actresses Tracee Ellis Ross and Gabrielle Union-Wade, singer Monica and more involved. "Buss It" currently has over 15 million Spotify streams, 5 million YouTube views and has debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 100.
Now a Warner Records artist as of two weeks ago, it's the perfect time for Erica Banks to chat with XXL for this week's edition of The Break.
I grew up listening to: "I grew up listening to a lot of Young Money. So Nicki Minaj, Drake, Lil Wayne, Lil Twist. I was coming up in that era, so I was a big Young Money fan."
My style’s been compared to: People have compared me to, of course, Meg Thee Stallion. People have compared me to Lil' Kim, or they say new age Lil' Kim rather. I've heard Diamond from Crime Mob. And yeah, it'd probably be those three that I hear a lot.
I’m going to blow up because: I know just from seeing 'Buss It' doing what it's doing that I'm going to have a very long run. And I say that because 'Buss It' is not my best work at all, whatsoever. And then I don't only rap, I do a little R&B, I do a little singing here and there. I can do some pop. I actually love pop music. So hip-hop is not my only lane either. And I tell people that all the time. So, just me knowing on the inside that 'Buss It' is not my best work, not even close, is just like, well, I wonder what the unreleased music can do."
What’s your most slept-on song, and why?: "At this point, no. If you would've asked me that two weeks ago, I would've said, 'Yes.' Yeah. Before the TikTok situation [with 'Buss It,'] yes. I actually made Spotify's most slept on songs of 2020 list. So, at least people know that, too. So, at this point, I say it's no longer slept-on. People are starting to wake up and realize that it is what it is. But two weeks ago, yeah, I would definitely say it was a slept-on song."
My standout records to date have been: "['Buss It.'] I think it's the sample that gets everybody. Because that's personally what got me when I heard the beat. So, we all know that song. We all know the 'Hot In Herre,' Nelly song, so, I think that is what attracts people to it. And then you put the drums and the 2020 sound on it and it gives you a nice little cool spin. So, I definitely think it's the sample.
"I personally did not like the song when I first made it and I wasn't even going to put it out for a long time. I didn't even put a second verse on it. But then my friends and my producers were like, 'Oh no. You just put it out. It's hard.' Now it was my best performing song when I did put it out. So, after that happened, I was like, OK, maybe it might do something. But before I put it out, I just didn't know."
My standout moments to date have been: "This. This. TikTok. It's the biggest moment of my life right now. I'm seeing celebrities do it, I'm seeing actresses do it, I'm seeing people I watch on TV do it, which is crazy to me. So, that's what it is for me. And just seeing people that I look up to do my challenge to my song. Even Nelly posted his girlfriend doing it, which is crazy. So seeing that is just like, yeah, this is that big moment for me."
Most people don’t know: "Well, a lot of people don't know that I sing. Everybody right now that's looking at 'Buss It' don't know that I sing. They will probably never think it because they just know me as the 'Buss It' girl right now. So, you really only know that I sing if you just are really a fan and you've been tuned in and you've been following me. So, I would say that, because if I tell them right now that I sing, they'll probably be like, 'What?'"
I’m going to be the next: "Legend."
Follow Erica Banks on SoundCloud and Instagram.
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