Words By: Brittany Burton
1501 superstar femcee Erica Banks has become one of the hottest rising artists of 2021. After claiming a hit with her viral “Buss It” single, the Dallas native is reminding audiences at large that there’s still so much more left to say. With her first commercial single on the Billboard charts, she shows no sign of slowing up on the heat. This much is evidenced with her E-Mix cover of Lil Kim’s “Jump Off” classic and the recent interest found in her “Toot That” track, first found on last year’s self-titled debut.
For On The Rise, Her Source spoke with Banks about her newfound success, her home at 1501 Certified, and what the future holds.
Catch it below.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
The Source: Do you mind giving us a little insight into who Erica Banks actually is?
Erica: I would tell you that Erica Banks is this edgy girl with this big versatile sound, whose music is good for any type of event. She has club music, sad music, and heartbreak. Whatever you think of or name, I am doing it. Overall, I’m just this girl who can pretty much make a sound about anything.
At what age did you realize that you wanted to pursue a career in rap? You know it’s not a common thing for women so I’m wondering if there was something inside of you whether you witnessed something on TV or there was someone that was instrumental? What really inspired you or really made you decide ‘This is what I really want to do, I am going to be a rapper”?
I have had always been into poetry. As a kid I was always a writer. that’s where I grew my love for music and then as far as it taking it serious, I was seeing people make it out of Dallas as artists when I was in college. When I listened to music I would see people people rap, get big, blow up, and make it out. So I thought, ‘Okay well, if people in my own city do this then why can’t I do it?’ I could at least try to get out of here and that’s when I left school.
Were you in college when you say ‘left school’?
Yes, I was a sophomore in college.
How did the “Buss It” single change your life? I understand that it was actually released in 2020, but went viral on TikTok in 2021.
It has changed drastically. We released the song last summer, so it is actually coming up on another year and it was my first song to go viral on TikTok. This is new for me. So, it has definitely changed my life.
I’m having a lot of bookings, a lot more money, and have artists wanting to do features with me more now. I am seeing my name on the internet more, and I cannot go out in public without being noticed now, so yeah.
You released the single in the summer 2020 but it didn’t take off until 2021. What advice would you give to an artist that does not immediately find success off of their first couple of singles?
I would say just be patient because patience is the biggest factor. Nothing happens overnight, but to some people my situation it looked like it did. There were times before I got signed I should have already been in this situation and I was a little bit frustrated but then 2 months later I was signed. So you know it’s just the matter of being patient and just waiting until it’s your time, that would be my advice.
It also landed you your first song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. How do you plan to continue your momentum in the music industry?
I just continue being myself and staying true to who I am because that’s how this blessing came about. I was just doing me, ya know? I am just making the kind of music that I personally want to make without me trying. That is how I got the song and I’ll just continue to be myself and continue to make the music that my fans want.
I’m actually from the midwest and you sampled a song that was very prevalent in my childhood by Nelly. I wanted to know what did it take for you to get the “Hot In Here” sample cleared? What was it like working with Nelly in that aspect?
So getting the sample cleared it was like any other song, you just have to reach out to him and his team. He actually liked the record and heard the record way before it came out and he’s even done interviews where he has discussed the song saying he really likes it. He loves the challenge, and his girlfriend actually did the ‘Buss It’ challenge twice.
Ms. Jackson right?
Yeah, so ever since the song came out Nelly has just been the biggest support to me.
That’s so awesome. And as you are now signed to 1501, I know you get compared to Megan Thee Stallion a lot how does that make you feel being a female rapper?
I know that’s kind of a competition but when you’re on the same label it can also be a family environment as well.
So how do you feel constantly being so compared to your fellow Texas rapper and label mate?
I don’t feel any type of way about it. That is something that comes with the industry especially being an artist. I’m not the only being compared to one person as I go up. I know I’ll be compared to other artists as well. It’s something that I overlook, and something that does not make me feel any type of way.
You have an amazing new freestyle out in which you are paying homage to the queen of rap Lil Kim. I know you call it the ‘E Mix’ I thought it was a great way to pay homage to somebody who paved the way for a lot of female rappers. What made you pick that song and what was it about Lil Kim that inspired you?
I actually like the beat a lot and that’s what sold me. I like up tempo beats and my mom was actually the person who sent me the beat a couple weeks ago. She was like, “You know this is more of your speed you know and I love it when you rap fast or on tempo beats.” She knows I’m always doing freestyles so it was her idea, and I thought it was a great idea to pay homage to Kim. It also was great look, but it stemmed from me hearing the beat like, “Damn this is something that I can really you know run on”.
Absolutely, and as this is a female era of rap, it’s sometimes not a lot of unity. So, I can definitely commend you for taking that step to paying homage to Lil Kim. Do you mind just talking about the people who inspired you musically while you were coming up in the ranks in Texas?
I would definitely say Nicki Minaj and Missy Elliot are like my top 2 female artists ever. I was also into Future, Lil Wayne, and just the whole Young Money era was a big deal for me growing up. You know that’s when they were big and everybody was on them. But Nicki Minaj and Missy Elliot, that would definitely be top 2 for me.
One of the things I’ve noticed is that the city of Houston has really gotten behind you and been supportive. What does it feel like to have your state behind you backing you as you are now currently one of the hottest rising artists in the world?
It’s such a great feeling. I’m so grateful for it. They don’t have to do that but they choose to show me so much love since I first stepped foot in Houston. I am just really appreciative of everybody out there.
As you are matriculating through the industry, are there things you’re interested in doing outside of music?
There are a lot of things I’m interested in doing outside of music. I’m into make up, hair, and cosmetics period. I haven’t put my finger on what I want to do yet but I do know I want to do a lot of things. Maybe one day I’ll open up my own businesses. There are a lot of things I want to do outside of music, I just need to decide exactly what it is.
With COVID being more contained, do you plan to do more concerts or even a tour?
Oh most definitely! As the world is opening up, I’m actually getting into choreography. I’m getting into more dancers on my stage because we are preparing for those type of shows. I would definitely say stay tuned and look forward to me doing bigger shows at bigger arenas. Everything is just getting bigger for me.
Is there anything you are excited about whether it’s features, different opportunities or partnerships that you can expand upon?
I don’t really have the details just all the way to say what I’m excited about. I just know I have a lot planned. I have a lot coming, but like I said I don’t really know the details of it but know my team is putting together a lot of work for me. I will say I know that I will be working with big artists, maybe even some of my favorite artists. They might even be featured on the project so I would just say look forward to anything and just be ready for whatever.
What can we expect the next full length project from Erica Banks?
You can expect a full length project this summer. We are actually working on it now and plan on putting it out for the summer to give everybody the summer time vibes. So you can definitely expect a project from me this summer for sure.
What does it mean to be an artist on the rise?
To me being an artist on the rise, it means everything to me because at one point I wasn’t even at this point you know and it took a lot to get here. So, I’m really glad to be here. I just have so much gratitude towards it because it wasn’t praised, you know? Everybody doesn’t make it, everybody doesn’t get the opportunities so I was glad that I was able to get the opportunity and I’m just so grateful for being here.