[INTERVIEW] ROBB BANK$ @ ROLLING LOUD
You were at Art Basel, how was that and how has your time been out in LA so far?
Robb: I like going mainly for the art and certain things like that. I didn’t get the chance to go last year. I had my first event in art basel. I always did stuff like Basel Castle with Tariq and Matt from Rolling Loud. But having my own thing I wanted to do something more intimate with my fans and use it as an excuse to talk about anime all day.
You’re based out of Florida, tell me about Rolling Loud the history and what does it mean to still be on the festival lineup to this day?
Robb: I love Rolling Loud I’ve always said it’s my favorite festival ever. Especially since it’s both of my homeboys who throw it, I love Matt and Tariq to death. I remember the first one was so little, they’ve come a really long way. Shout out to the artists that are still doing them to this day like Travis [Scott] is still doing them.
You gave us two projects last year Cloverfield and Mollyworld. What was the creative process behind those and why two projects?
Robb: I was going to actually have 4 projects drop this year but, it didn’t end up happening like that. For Mollyworld I originally went to New York to record ‘Falconia’ for the second time but I didn’t like them. It just didn’t give me the Falconia vibe and I was just feeling really experimental, so I just ended up creating something completely different. I was listening to a bunch of music I was listening to at from when I was 17. Future had dropped a mixtape called Mollyworld and I use to listen to that all the time. Everything is green on the cover because there’s a Florida term called ‘green’ which means flawed and that’s what people were trying to make me out to be in my personal life. Cloverfield 2.0 was also made in New York and were the leftover tracks that didn’t fit Mollyworld vibe. It’s just a lot of different versions of me.
What time are you planning on dropping Falconia?
Robb: First quarter of 2019 easy, I know what it’s supposed to be. There are different arcs because there’s a lot of different sides of me so that’s what the album is broken up into.
With Florida rap bubbling do you feel like you came out at the right time? And how do you feel about the present and future of Florida rap?
Robb: I feel like a motherfucking child star like Macaulay Culkin on some home alone shit. I came out when I was 16, I was a bad child and was skipping school to go hang out with the older guys. Growing up under the microscope isn’t easy, that’s not why I went through all these stages but you got to understand when a child grows up they go through a lot of shit. But, honestly I happy and I wouldn’t change anything, I would’ve never wanted to start rapping right now. Because I know what fam is like from my family and my father and what it can do internally to a family behind the scenes. I’m really introverted and people think I’m mean when they first meet me but I’m very personable. I don’t deal well with too much attention being on me unless its music. I just want to chill and be with my niggas and be in the studio 24/7. It’s too much fuck shit that you have to do. Coming up I use to co-produce and co-direct most of my songs and videos but never wanted my name on there and my managers use to get upset with me. I feel like if you’re a true artist you’re supposed to do that in the promotion, marketing, and things. Now I feel like it’s about what you’re going to have to do on Instagram for clout, and I’ve always kept my personal life personal.
You have a cult fan base, I noticed that first when I was working at a music festival earlier this year with you on it.
Robb: I love my fans, they are like family to me. I was expecting that festival to be sold out but it wasn’t and I wasn’t going to perform, to be honest. I’m not boujee, if I’m anywhere or in any city or hood I’ll go and connect with the people out there. But I don’t like going back in time, that’s something I would’ve done in 2012 and I can’t digress. I perform now at like 1000-2000 capacity shows, but the people that were there, were there solely for me so I got to do it. Even if it was four people, I feel like I have to perform because I know those four people love me as much as I love them. I would’ve given this shit up if it wasn’t for them.
I know you have a joint set Wifisfuneral at Rolling Loud. What’s your relationship with him like and the forthcoming project you two have on the way?
Robb: We just had a studio session one day, to be honest. Chris Dinero is my producer and Wifi is his boy. Chris is not only a producer but a great artist, but I actually took Wifi on his first tour and I know his manager is Tariq, and he booked me for my first show ever in 2012. That’s how that connection came, we were just recording and jumping on different songs. What’s different about is Wifi’s a writer and I stopped writing in 2016 so, he’d go in the booth and record. The engineer would bring the mic out and I’d be sitting down and watching something that would inspire me like an anime or a movie and just rap. So I challenged him to do the same, he was unsure at first but the song came out really good. We did like two more and he was like we should just do a tape.
The whole anime thing you talk about Naruto, Bleach and on your Cloverfield project you had a My Hero Academia cover.
Robb: I got a lot of flack for that cover. The same way it’s trolls in rap and on the internet and rules, Twitter anime is ridiculous. I love Twitter anime, but you know how Naruto is 16 in this [we ’re watching Naruto in the studio during the interview], the girl Tsuyu is 16 in My Hero Academia. So people were claiming she’s underage, and I’m like bitch it’s a cartoon don’t do that. They troll but, I don’t even do that I don’t mess with no girls unless they’re 21 and up. I’m very unapologetic if it’s my art and my music. I pretty much chose her because she’s green going back to the term I used before, but I also drew her as an older version that’s my interpretation of her.
Shaggy is your father, can you see him being on any future projects and how did coming up and people not really knowing you were his son at first shape you and your career?
Robb: S/o to my ol’ boy you doing ya thing old man. He’s on Falconia and he just got nominated for a Grammy actually. For the new fans, it got leaked by a tastemaker that I don’t really fuck with because he leaked it in a very distasteful and disrespectful way. You don’t speak on another man’s family when you do that you’re taking it to another level. When I first came out I didn’t want to just say “Hey guys I’m Robb Bank$” and I’m Shaggy’s son!” People wouldn’t take me what I went through and my story seriously. I left my house when I was 16, I got kicked out and use to sleep in the studios in the trap and even all my homies didn’t even know he was my father. We act completely different, even he would tell you he wasn’t around a lot because he was touring and he and my mother fell out. My mom is the love of my life and the goat so she moved us to Florida, after that I’d see him once or twice a year. Eventually, I told him I wanted to start doing music but we didn’t have the best relationship. He didn’t really understand the shit I’d go through in school when it came out like oh this is Shaggy’s song. When you’re growing up in Broward County and they find that out they want to try you because they think you’re privileged and you’re sweet. Then you get into altercations because of it, so I kept it to myself.
When I broke out and finally got some fame on my own, my dad wanted to help and at first, I wasn’t with it, I just wanted to do me. We didn’t speak for two years and when the story came out I was livid, but I feel like I played it the best way I could have. I changed the original cover of my 2nd mixtape ‘The City’ to a picture of me and him from when I was a kid on Saturday Night Live. Just to let people know like just because he was my father doesn’t mean he was always there for me, I had to teach myself a lot of the time on how to be a man. Don’t get me wrong he did teach me a lot on my business and how to manage my money, having your family first once we got cool. Once my siblings were born and I got older I kind of put all that to the side because I love them to death. I just want people to know I went through a bunch of things just from growing up where I did and from people finding out that Shaggy was my father.
Photography: Jessica Rios @rios0624