No city has a rap scene as crowded as Atlanta’s. Making a name for yourself isn’t the hard part, though; it’s staying relevant when, seemingly every day there’s a new rapper from the city buzzing on SoundCloud or Worldstar. The most minor of setbacks in Atlanta can ruin a career, and the second focus shifts from your music, a new rapper has passed you.
Yung Bans learned this the hard way when the young, buzzing rapper faced both a murder and burglary charge that has placed him on house arrest for much of 2017. In a rap culture where networking is almost as important as the music, being unable to tour and build connections outside of his home should have immensely slowed down the 18-year-old’s rise, but the internet has negated his potential derailment. Yung Bans simply kept recording, using SoundCloud to increase his buzz without ever leaving his home.
When Yung Bans was first featured on Complex we mentioned that his song “Dresser” was poised to be his breakout hit. The bouncy MilanMakesBeats production, mixed with Bans’ soft voice and a Chief Keef-influenced cadence—a contrast that has defined his endearing sound—seemed perfect to make the rounds on a platform constantly searching for new stars. In the months since, the track has crossed one million listens on Soundcloud, and now boasts a video directed by the illustrious Cole Bennett to accompany it. Over the past couple of months Cole Bennett’s unique editing and knack for creating viral moments in his music videos have helped turn SoundCloud hits such as “Catch Me Outside” and “Betrayed” into phenomenons, and helping much of the industry realize that the music video is, in fact, far from dead. Yung Bans hopes to join the ever-growing list of artists who have had their careers springboarded by Bennett. The visual of Bans posted up in an aluminum-covered room, draped in Adidas as he recites the catchy tune in front of a television that is surely much older than he is may be enough to do it.
What was it like growing up in Atlanta?
It was alright growing up out here for the most part. I was raised on the South Side where it's a lot of long roads and trees, not like the city at all so I would just kick shit in the neighborhood smoking gas goin out every now and then fuck with bitches who stay close, but that got boring quick. I honestly had the most fun when I moved to the West Side, and it was always stuff to do. Like studios were close, hoes be everywhere, drugs easy to access, and I didn't move out there until I was about 15, a couple years back.
How old are you now?
Just turned 18.
When you moved to the West Side, is that when you first started rapping?
I been rapping forever, like writing music, but I had to jump off the porch, moved out so I could go hard with my music, start getting in the studio and let everybody know I’m serious about it.
When did you first start making noise in ATL? Was SoundCloud a huge reason?
Shoutout to SoundCloud, but at first it was only a handful of new artists out of ATL back then. It was Uno, Swaghollywood, Carti, Boat, Che Trill, Kpreme, Key!, Manman Savage, and a few others that basically started this new wave, so it wasn’t hard to get heard if you was fire.
Yeah, the first song I heard with you on it was “4tspoon” with Carti. How did that happen?
We had a mutual friend from school and we were all tryna rap at that time, so bro pulled up to work asked for a verse and we made the song.
Do you guys still mess with each other? I know rumors say that Carti has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way?
Ain't no beef on my end but I think he got undercover pressure because some old shit my bros did to him back in the day. Him and Uno tried one of the bros and my nigga Tyty beat him in McDonald's, so he was tripping for a min but I don’t know we just would have to cross paths again and see what’s up.
How did you first link with Mexikodro? You think that was important in developing your sound?
I was rapping over his beats on YouTube, but then I met him at the train station about 3 years ago. He gave me a couple beats and from there me and Dro been making history. And yes, he's a big influence in the culture and in my sound his beats speak to my soul on some young nigga shit. Also nowadays most of these producers all sound like Plugz so he don't get enough credit in my opinion.
Yeah Beatplugz are huge influence on the culture. Who were you personally influenced by?
I listened to a lot of different music growing up, but my biggest influences would probably be Sosa, Kanye, Wayne, and Thug.
Keef has been a huge influence to almost everyone in the scene do you think he has had some influence on your flow?
In a way he made it acceptable to say whatever you want to say however you want to say it in a song, so not the flow but the structure and vibe for sure.
“Dresser” recently crossed one million streams on SoundCloud. Did you know instantly it was going to be huge?
No, but everybody was in my ear telling me I should drop it. I didn't even like it all that much, but somebody leaked it one day so I just dropped it to make the leaker feel stupid.
How do the leakers get a hold of your music?
Fake friends. That's why I don't send it out anymore, unless it's a close friend.
When did you realize “Dresser” was the one?
I don't know if you saw, but they had a whole national anthem thing going on and it was going viral at that moment I knew. Shoutout Big Tan and Elevator for the support on that.
You called out the producer of “Dresser,” MilanMakesBeats, on Twitter—what was that about?
He dropped "Dresser" on streaming platforms to try and make money off it after I already paid him for exclusive rights to the beat so that had me feeling some type of way, but we good now.
Have you any other money issues with producers since?
Nope, he's the only one. That's why I got so mad. I show all the producers love, I just don't like when they do extra shit with the music without permission.
Now for the “Dresser” video, Cole Bennett has been going crazy lately. How did you two link?
My manager works for Lyrical Lemonade, Cole’s company. So he plugged it and Cole was fucking with the music so it wasn't hard. Shoutout 2, both of them good guys.
What are your hopes for the video? A lot of Cole’s videos have been doing major numbers recently—look at Lil Xan, Lil Skies and Ski Mask the Slump God.
The video has high anticipation so I hope it does the same as them, but even better because it was hard getting that video done being on house arrest. It took a lot of work so hopefully it all pays off.
You’ve been house arrest for a minute. What happened?
Got charged with murder and burglary for some lies that were told, but it's almost over. I'll be back on the street soon with the gang.
What’s the plan for when you finally get off of house arrest?
The plan is to go as hard as ever cause I know what's it like to almost lose it all. I hit rock bottom, but now it's time for me to take advantage of the opportunities put in front of me and focus on the music.
What other collabs can we expect from you in the future?
Got Yung Bans and Zaytoven on the way. Cassius Jay, Sadbalmain, Chris Surreal, and Yung Icey. Artist-wise it’s a Yung Bans and Lil Pump and Juicy J collab coming soon so look out.