Philadelphia rapper/songwriter Bang Bang gives us a taste of his sound with his debut album Bando Season.
The 10 track project enlists features from fellow heavy hitters EST Gee and Babyface Ray as well as Philly natives like IDKmir, Kobe SWP, and City Rominiecki. The project takes you through the grit and hardship Bang’s faced as well as how his life has transformed today. After nearly a year of working on his project, getting clearances, redoing beats, and entire songs, BangBang finally arrived at Bando Season.
Bang began experimenting with music while on house arrest around 2013. At first Bang was just trying to find new and creative ways to keep busy, but what started out as a hobby eventually grew into a passion and driving force. 2-3 years after focusing on his craft, Bang attended and performed at his first SXSW and has never looked back.
Currently, Bang Bang is promoting his latest project and new music videos as well as putting on for the city of Philadelphia. Find out what else Bang Bang shared in our exclusive interview below.
The Knockturnal: When did you first start experimenting with rapping and making music?
BangBang: I started around 2013 and I was on house arrest. I wasn’t really focused on my craft and i just ran out of out stuff to do so i just started rapping and was playing around with beats and then after one day when I got off I went to the studio and recorded a song and I sent it to a bunch of friends to hear it and it they said it wasn’t bad but if you worked on it you would be actually good, just been doing it ever since.
The Knockturnal: How old were you when you decided to pursue music seriously as a career?
BangBang: Around 2015-2016. I started going to SXSW to get familiar with the music industry. I got to perform there. It’s crazy when I went there I got to meet the owner of Say Cheese and we built a relationship and when my video dropped he supported me from day one.
The Knockturnal: Who are some of your inspirations?
BangBang: A lot of Young Jeezy, Jim Jones, a lot of Dipset, Yo Gotti, Pusha T, Meek. it’s more just a lot of Philly underground rappers so you might not be too familiar with them. They were all a part of the Meek era like NH, Reed Dollaz, etc… I don’t think I forgot anyone else. But yeah they were real big in the Philly underground scene on YouTube and all that types
The Knockturnal: You rep Philly hard, how would you say your upbringing and environment shaped your outlook on life and your music?
BangBang: I know it’s cliche but I feel like growing up in Philly, people say that about their city but I feel like Philly is the most unique place you’re ever gonna find in the world and there’s nothing else like Philly. It’s like when people go out of town people are going to mistake a Florida person for maybe like a New Orleans person. No matter where you go people can spot a Philly person a mile away. And that just shows how unique this city really is. I feel like when I go outside my rawness, my bluntness helps me navigate the world easier because it’s Philly, it doesn’t get any more raw than that. My music is raw but it’s still meaningful like it’s not a bunch of words. I’m talking about something but still giving you that edginess, that attitude, like you’re in my city and getting a piece of it.
The Knockturnal: What have been the biggest highlights of your career so far? The features are big, but I also read that you got to meet Yo Gotti recently, was this through EST GEE?
BangBang: Yeah, we went to Yo Gotti’s birthday party. It was my first time going to an industry party. Everything and more I expected watching through Instagram but actually to see the live entertainment, the food, the alcohol, and the stars. Everyone on here is someone but you tryna be cool but at the same time it was a reality check because I’ve never been invited before but this time I’m being invited as me. It’s a difference as being around rappers but it’s different when you become your own person and own artist to where you get introduced as yourself. It was a fulfilling moment being on BET jams. I watched BET my whole life and to see my name and neighborhood like where I am and where I have been chilling my whole life. To see that the rest of the world gets to see that and I get to showcase that is everything to me. It was a surreal moment. because the EST Gee feature wasn’t as big as people would think because he wasn’t who he is today when we did the song because that’s what people don’t know, we didn’t do the song when he was hot, we did the song a year before it was released so I had that song for almost a year. I was a fan of his. I’m big on finding people before they blow up and it just so happened that we had a mutual friend that introduced us, so we linked up in Atlanta and we’ve been kickin’ it ever since.
The Knockturnal: Did he give you any advice?
BangBang: No it was just more or so of being surprised how he knew who I was and how open he was to introducing me to him because some artists are iffy about that type of stuff. He introduced me like ‘this my man Bang’ you feel me we did the song in Philly we going crazy so it was a real introduction, he just asked me what I had going on and what I was doing and to keep working. It was brief, it wasn’t too deep and it was honestly just kickin it with one of my favorite artists.
The Knockturnal: What’s the most important thing you’ve learned so far from your time in the game?
BangBang: Relationships are everything because there’s going to be times where you don’t have money for things or resources where someone can get you. I’ve probably gotten way more off of relationships than with money. The money is key because of course you can’t do anything without money but the relationship will always save you money if you don’t get the service for free.
The Knockturnal: Can you talk about your new visual for “Alone” and what it was like opening up on that record?
BangBang: That was one of my most vulnerable songs I’ve recorded. When I recorded it, I just felt like this was a song that completed me as an artist to really step up into full artist mode. For the video we had a different treatment for it and it was like a whole different storyline. but for me, I wanted to show my day one supporters the journey like me going to rolling loud and having access and being able to move around like an artist in the industry and going to these events and going to BET and showing my journey. I wanted it to be a glimpse of my new journey.
The Knockturnal: Can you please talk to us about your new mixtape “Bando Season?” What’s the inspiration behind the title and what does the project represent to you?
BangBang: The title is a nickname to a nickname because my name is bang bang but my friends would try to get me to come to places and go out but I would just be chillin in the hood all day and they would be like why you don’t wanna leave the bando we gonna start calling u bandobang. When I started doing stuff they were cheering me on and it became my branding name. When I started recording my project, people were begging me to drop the project. I see you moving around and doing things like this is bando season, like this is my time. It just so happened that the song came together like songs like “Trappin” where I’m going from trapping and taking my trap money and turning it into rap and where I’m actually doing shows and getting appearances. Getting songs like “Alone” where I’m being vulnerable and saying how much I had to sacrifice to get to this point and embracing the new journey of the game and money and hoping I don’t lose consciousness of what’s important. But then you got songs like “Drown” where it’s fun and turnt up. Then you got songs like “It’s Up” where it’s hood and ratchet and ghetto. I’m walking you through my project. So I feel like it’s a good all-around project because I feel like it’s for everybody there.
The Knockturnal: What was the recording process like?
BangBang: My mixtape was done before I met Kim but I was moving like a local artist. I didn’t have any no production clearances, producer rights. I had YouTube beats, so basically half of my project was custom beats and then the other half were YouTube beats. producers, I couldn’t get in contact with so we basically had to flip our whole project so I just kept the songs that were the most to me and that I felt were the strongest and whoever we could contact producer wise we kept those songs. For the second half of the project “Bando season”, the intro “Alone”, the Babyface Ray record, “Late Nights,” these were the producers Kim introduced me to along the way so we met some producers and recorded in Atlanta and in about 3 weeks we went to LA and recorded in 2 weeks and then a few producers reached out through email. So basically we had to get the business structure side of it that really shaped the project as well. We had to drop it at a certain time for the EST record to be on my project. So it was a big learning curve real fast because I went from being a local artist to getting w Kim and getting national looks. I got verified quickly so it’s like people look at you in a different light so you can’t get away with cutting corners anymore.
The Knockturnal: You’ve got a lot of big features on the tape including EST GEE and Babyface Ray, can you talk about what it was like collaborating with them?
BangBang: Me and Gee our chemistry clicked from the rip. It just so happened we were both in Kentucky and we were into the same stuff and we were going through the same things. When I met him he was basically in a position that I’m in now so we just clicked. We did the song and the song literally was done in 30 minutes and we kicked it for 3 days. We started hanging out and then the business, of course, brought us together, shooting the video together and he invited me to shows after, and then after a while we just kicked and talked at least once or twice a week. We hang out whenever we can, whenever he’s close to Philly or anywhere where I could pull up so we can get together. I never met Babyface Ray, that was more of an industry type of thing. I made the song and we reached out to his people and he sent the verse back and I’m not going to lie that was my first time doing a real feature that way so you never know what you’re going to get like you don’t know if the persons going to be lazy or whatever the case might be. but when I got the verse back, not going to lie I was so excited.
The Knockturnal: Can you talk a little bit about some of the Philly artists you have on the project? How important is it to uplift people from your city?
BangBang: It’s very important because I was that guy that wished somebody would help me or just give me a look or share. I always told myself no matter if I had anything going on or not and no one cared about me, if I had one fan or a hundred thousand fans I would just always be open to share because it won’t take away from me. The fact that I can help someone else gain a new fan is ok with me and I’m pretty sure that they have fans that listen to them that might like me. If not , at least I could say I tried. I always try to work with people, especially those that I know I have a real relationship with in real life and that’s what it came down to on this project. I knew this was going to be a big project so I didn’t want to force it. but those songs are songs with people that I’m friends with or know in real life like IDKMir, we kick it, we hang out, we talk fashion all the time, he’s really one of my good friends. Kobe, we talk sports, we hang out, we kick it and we go to each other’s houses. You can’t walk around acting like you don’t see somebody when you know you are out here working. Of course, you’re gonna have guys that’re just rapping and they just start rapping and they think like they’re the biggest artist in their city, like no it doesn’t work like that, you definitely have to put the work in. I just feel like it’s funny when people are actually putting in the work and people still act like they don’t see them.