While we’re supposed to be staying at home, Texas rappers are making sure we still feel the Hot Girl Summer spirit. Megan thee Stallion received her first Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 last month with the Beyoncé-assisted “Savage Remix,” and now Dallas-based rapper Erica Banks is hot off the release of her new self-titled mixtape, which dropped earlier this month.
Banks’ mixtape is led by the single “Buss It,” an ass-shaking strip club anthem that samples Nelly’s “Hot in Herre.” It's a sexually charged rap, containing raunchy lyrics such as “I don’t wanna talk, I wanna be in your mouth.” And these are the cleanest lyrics of the song. She first recorded “Buss It” in December and shared the track with Carl Crawford, founder of 1501 Certified Entertainment.
“Carl was on Instagram live one day, and I just so happened to join the live,” Banks says. “At the time, people were submitting their music via email, and he would play it on live and give feedback. I submitted ‘Buss It,’ and he liked it. A couple weeks later, he reached out to me.”
Banks later signed a deal with the Houston-based 1501 and resumed recording of her self-titled mixtape. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, she was able to finish recording the mixtape in the matter of a few months.
“I let my music just take me wherever,” Banks says. “Even during the pandemic, it’s given me a lot more time to make music. I was actually able to get my project done a lot faster. We actually have a few music videos just sitting, waiting to be released. It was easy to shoot videos, because everyone was just kind of not doing anything.”
Another track on the mixtape, “Toot That” samples Huey’s “Pop, Lock and Drop It.” Although Banks never had the chance to meet Huey before his untimely death last Thursday, she is grateful to have received his blessing for the sample.
“We were supposed to meet,” Banks says.”I’m saddened by Huey’s loss, yet honored to have been inspired enough to create something that will live on and hopefully honor his memory. His family, friends and fans who love him are in my prayers.”
As a child, Banks loved writing poetry, and that passion for words turned into a love of rap and hip-hop music in middle school when she discovered Nicki Minaj.
“I was fascinated by the whole Barbie doll thing,” she says of Minaj, also citing fellow rappers Asian Da Brat (formerly known as Asian Doll) and Cuban Doll as inspirations.
“I saw that they were from Dallas, and I thought ‘Cool, they’re from my city, maybe I can do what they do too,” Banks says.
Five days before the release of her mixtape, Banks tweeted a video of herself performing a freestyle rap. Over the course of 24 hours, the video pulled in over 2 million views. Given that she is signed to Megan thee Stallion’s label and that she is also from Texas, the comparisons immediately began pouring in.
Banks wasn’t fazed by the comparisons. She felt flattered.
“I take it as an honor,” Banks says. “It’s Megan. She’s one of the hottest females right now, and she’s from Texas. I’ve never seen anyone compared to her, so for me to be the first one, I feel really good about it.”
While her rise to internet fame may have come quickly, it has not been without controversy. After Banks dropped her freestyle on Twitter, people were quick to dig up old tweets. One of these tweets contained a clip from a music video for her song “Mz. E,” in which she uses a homophobic slur. Despite the controversial line, Banks insists that she is not homophobic.
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“I am a part of and a major supporter of the LGBTQ community,” Banks says. “I’ll do a ‘Behind the Lyrics’ (video) one day to break down some of my lyrics, but no, I am not homophobic and I love my LGBT community.”
Since the pandemic, Banks has had several shows canceled, as well as performances on college campuses for homecoming events. When the pandemic is over, she hopes to go back to performing, specifically at The Door, her favorite venue in Dallas.
Before the end of the year, Banks anticipates “Buss It” will go platinum. She also hopes to collaborate with producer Mike Will Made It and rapper Future. But no matter what level of stardom she reaches, Banks vows to always remain true to her Dallas roots.
“A lot of people say I have a Texas accent, and that’s funny to hear, because I don’t think I do,” Banks says. “But I love our sound. A lot of people can tell where I’m from just from listening to my music.”