By the time my interview with Bankroll Mafia started, the Atlanta rap group was already in full celebration mode for their album release. “Whatever you were expecting from this interview, you should probably ball all that shit up and toss it right out the window,” T.I. announced with a laugh. “Most of these cats behind me are high as a mink coat.” His prediction was right. Between some impromptu singing, a mid-interview delivery of chicken wings, and an unexpected call from the currently incarcerated PeeWee Roscoe—more on that later—the experience was certainly nontraditional. Then again, it might have been the perfect representation of the bubbling hip-hop collective.
T.I. began promoting his Bankroll Mafia supergroup last July, when himself, Young Thug, Shad Da God, and PeeWee Roscoe dropped the single, “Bankrolls on Deck.” “It was kind of a natural progression,” T.I. said of the group’s formation, noting that all the rappers had known each other for a while and had an abundance of material together already. “It was only right that we share this lifestyle with the rest of the world.”
As long as you really about your cash and you’re putting that bullsh*t in the backseat, you’re welcome to come on in. —T.I.
Although “Bankrolls on Deck” only featured four rappers, London Jae and YSL Duke made clear they were always involved as core members. “Everybody was in the studio when we did ‘Bankrolls on Deck,’” Jae explained, “But everybody can’t get on the first single.” He managed to grab a spot on their follow-up single, “Out My Face,” which came out at the top of 2016. It ended up taking over nine months from the release of the original single for the full album to finally drop, a fact that T.I. attributed to each member’s busy schedule in releasing their own music.
Of course, over the last year, PeeWee Roscoe was also busy getting entangled with the law after allegedly shooting up Lil Wayne’s tour bus. Although T.I. said Roscoe’s legal problems “postponed the progression” of the group a bit, they all still consider him a friend. “I mean we’ve all been to jail,” he said. “We ain’t lost each other. We still here.” Roscoe apparently got wind of my line of questioning at some point and phoned in to plug his continued involvement in the group.
T.I. seems to have lofty expectations for Bankroll Mafia musically, as well as for the brand as a whole. “I would always air on the side of greatness when considering the people who I associate myself with,” he explained. “I’m going to assume that what we put out and what we have that brought us together to make this music is going to be what’s needed to push forward into success.”
To that end, he pointed out that the group would be hitting the road later this year for a tour, although he was light on the details. He also envisioned spreading the Bankroll Mafia brand beyond the walls of the music industry. “Just because music is a part of it, just because fashion is a part of it, just because touring is a part of it, it doesn’t mean it stops there,” he said. “There’s people repping Bankroll Mafia in sports, there’s people repping Bankroll Mafia in film… You don’t have to be on Grand Hustle. You don’t have to be signed or be from Atlanta. As long as you really about your cash and you’re putting that bullshit in the backseat, you’re welcome to come on in.”
As for whether further Bankroll Mafia music releases were in the pipeline, Duke sounded confident. “Just as sure as they put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill,” he joked. T.I. was a bit more reserved, but was still ready to ride for his crew. “It’s a constant growth and evolution,” he said. “Continuing to create our opportunities and push the people who I care something about, whatever it is that contributes to that, that’s what we will continue to do.” With the Bankroll Mafia album finally available and a tour apparently on the horizon, it sounds like he’s taken a big step towards achieving that vision.