As The Notorious B.I.G. said, “If you don’t know, now you know nigga!” Big boys been running things in the rap game for a long time. But I’m not just talking about big in stature but also how they think. But you must admit there is something fascinating about rapper that just doesn’t give a f*ck about what limitations people have, their mission is to do one thing, Smash The Game. They know they are tight with the rhymes, and the game they spit is relatable. From the first time you saw Ricky Rozay walk on stage tatted up with no shirt on….you knew he was a star. Enter… King Bo Bandz. The Worldwide Fleet DJ’s had a conference call this week, and our job was to listen to his music and offer an effective critique. I always take these calls very seriously because from the calls, journalist and DJ’s can develop a professional relationship. So I did my research and found his video on Youtube Life of a King. From my first impression, I saw the usual rap starter pack. The thuggery, video shoot in Miami, strippers with big asses, Bentley Coup, and trap references, but even with the cliche’s the song was hard. As a journalist, I know there are certain things a rapper does for appeal, but it’s my job to look for the depth of the artist. Subsequently, I went to my email and low and behold there were two other tracks for review. The songs were called Underdog and Lifestyle. Underdog put me in a mind state of the 2018 turn-up kid in the club. I then put on Lifestyle and it reminded of that Beanie Sigel The Truth flow. Bandz versality was impressive. It compelled me to take a closer look at the rapper.
By the time we got on the call, I had a lot of feedback for the rapper from Jamaica Queens NY. As we chopped it up, I noticed he listened very carefully to the questions being asked. The answers he gave let me know that Bandz was not a fly-by-night-rapper. I could tell he’d been in the game for a while. This caused me to do further research, so I went to his website and sure enough when I saw his bio, all the answers were right there in front of me of why the rapper seemed so poised and in control. But what I also read was why Bandz seemed so focused at this time in his life. Bo came into the music industry with a gentleman by the name of Russ Blade. In 2015 Blade was killed. At a time, where most artists would lose focus because of the tragedy, this increased Bandz determination to carry on the legacy of his long time friend.
As The Fleet DJ’s talked with him that night, I could tell Bandz was a people person. He stayed on the line until all critiques were given and all questions were asked. But when it got to me, he took my journalism serious including the hard critique about what records would work, and what wouldn’t work in Ohio. That scored big points with me. Hence this 1 on 1 interview for Straight Official. So at this time, I would like to present to some and introduce to others King Bo Bandz…
SO: So I’ve kinda explained who you are, but walk me through your relationship with Russ Blade and how that effects your music today.
KBB: Well, we were together since we were kids. So him and the homie Freaky Neeky in North Carolina now, started me rapping when I was about 15, 16. They had already been rapping since elementary so I was kind of like the late bloomer. When Freak moved down south, we kept it moving with me and Blade up until he got killed. So now it’s just me and I’ve just got to keep it moving the best way I know how. I’ve got my team and we good.
SO: So you’re from Queens?
KBB: You know it.
SO: So Queens artists vary from a wide range of artistry. Billy Holiday lived in Queens, A Tribe Called Quest is from Queens Saint Albans….but Mobb Deep, Cormega, and Nas are from Queensbridge but so is Shan, Marley and Shante’. How is it so much artistry that comes out of Queens from such a high crime element?
KBB: You just described the whole world man. I mean come on man, people try to mystify the hood and it’s regular people in the hood. Everybody don’t sell drugs, but there are people who do. Everybody is not in a gang but there are people that are. It’s whole families here man. But there is one common thing about people in the ghetto…those that live there are always looking for a way out. Being black like like Hov said..it seems like all we have is sports and entertainment. The trap is that this shit looks easy…but this shit aint easy at all. In facts it’s harder than a 9 to 5 because everybody wants to do it. Everybody wants to be famous. But if I had a problem with any of it, it’s when those that get on don’t create opportunities so that there are other examples to follow. But if all the kids see is so-and-so going to the league, or MC so-and-so poppin bottles and rappin, that’s all these kids are going to want to do.
SO: My biggest peeve about hood rap has always been about the influence of the babies that don’t realize Trap Music is just entertainment. I was talking to Quavo a couple years ago and he said that “you are who you are period, and any rapper that’s worth something is only gonna talk about things he knows about” So my question is …is that true? and do we as an audience have a right to hold you rappers accountable to the things you put out that our babies will listen to?
KBB: First of all, let me say Quavo is right. You can’t can’t talk about nothin you don’t know about. Just like when these rappers get on these records talkin about how much money they got. When real people know by the things you’re talkin about if you’re really gettin to the money. People that are really gettin to the money rap in detail about things somebody broke just can’t. What I’m sayin is only your true self will come across to the masses of what’s in your heart. People aren’t stupid. They know when someone is frontin. But to hold someone accountable for what they say and do…Nah, everybody grown, and everybody has choices. The bad ones you either learn from it, or keep runnin into bullshit until you do. I can only do what’s best for Bo.
SO: When it comes to Kartel Gang how hard is it to keep everybody on the same page? I say this especially knowing that most rappers put they people on from the neighborhood as staff. How do you make sure people act accordingly so that the money doesn’t get fucked up?
KBB: Ok first let me say this because I don’t wanna disrespect nobody, this is just an example. You remember when you was little and ya parents gave you that talk. “Now when you get over to ya grandmothers house don’t be on no bullshit” Communication. If we’re going in an environment where everyone can be themselves..do you, but if it’s some shit where somebody’s actions might fuck up the money…the people that can’t bring it in…might have to sit this one out. Everything ain’t for everybody. But my people know..we all trynna get to the money so we have to act accordingly in certain situations.
SO: I’ve never seen a rapper market 3 singles at the same damn time. Who’s idea was that?
KBB: Man I got songs, and it’s like you said on the call, every song ain’t gonna work in every state so Lifestyle is for my Boom Bap niggas. Underdog is for them kids in the club that wanna turn up and Life of Da King is for the followers and the fans.
SO: Lastly, what do you want people to get from your music. You really seem to know how to brand yourself as an artist.
KBB: One thing about this business is that you can’t control when it’s your time to shine. You just have to keep working. I don’t focus on individual opinions of my music. I focus on the masses. Right now I’m in a really good space and I’ve got the right team Kartel Gang. I’ve been consistent and I’ve been working hard so God willing, these songs will open doors for even greater opportunity. But some key people fucking wit me. Flex, Kay Slay, DJ Chubbie Chubb so I’ve been getting some good looks. Can’t wait to come to Ohio and fuck witchall. I’m just a dude trynna come up and tell my story.