New Orleans emcee Alfred Banks’s (formerly known as Lyriqs da Lyraciss) career thus far is akin to a quiet storm. Slowly, (over 7 years), he has created a name for himself through high energy shows and internet buzz, culminating in nods from Complex, DJ Booth, and Hip Hop DX. With latest EP and highly anticipated follow up album, Banks continues to push himself as an artist…in spite of losing his biggest influence.
Alfred Banks isn’t rapper, he’s a hustler:
“I like rapping at shows, I sell three or five CDs at a show, I do 20 shows in a row, boom, I make 50 – 60 copies, that’s tight,”
Banks mentions among a cypher of fellow indie artists. Hours after Krewe off Endymion parade passed through South Solomon street, you can hear the horns of G-Eazy production on “My Style” blaring from the garage of a shotgun style home. We are in the heart of New Orleans. Dj Booth named him one of the top artists in Louisiana. Sticking to his style has rewarded Banks justly in the last two years. “You know its weird man,” he says, “A lot of the hip guys, they got the juice right now and I never understood If I had the juice or not. But I guess I do.” Whether it’s a crowd of twenty in an intimate venue or opening shows for his biggest influences such as Lupe Fiasco, Alfred Banks gives his all every show. “When I first listened to Food & Liquor (by Lupe), that was the first time I knew I wanted to rap.”
2015 was a big year for Banks, surmounting in winning the Revolt TV’s LocalLoveTour Contest. “I just performed and did my thing,” he said of the win. I felt like it was a one-off situation–I could just perform and make as many connections as I can and just go about my business. Little did I know, the guys who threw the show–they had already decided I won that competition. I didn’t even know it was a competition. They flew me out to Los Angles for the first time. I got to meet Robin Thicke, I got to meet Trae The Truth, Craig Robinson and all these guys. It was super tight. And the day my episode aired, Revolt just got picked up by AT&T, so their subscribers went from fifty-thousand to six million that day.”
He’s come a long way from his first gig at Dragon’s Den. Then, he was nervous before preforming a one song set, but about a year ago, he found himself traveling with Mickey Factz during the fifteen city Blue Pill Tour. Banks is well respected by his peers–so much so that up and coming Nola talent has dubbed him an OG at the of 25. “Its weird man, I started rapping at 17, and I’ve been out here for seven years now, It’s weird to have people that are my age now–that get into it calling me OG. That’s crazy and I don’t like the title because I haven’t done anything yet. Truth Universal is an OG. Slangston Hues is an OG.”
Bank’s biggest inspiration was his big brother Orlandas. He has dedicated his latest project, ‘A Beautiful Prelude EP’ to Orlandas, the first successful artist he knew personally–nearly signing with No Limit Records in the early 90s. The ‘A Beautiful Prelude EP’ visits the devastating news of Bank’s receiving the news of Orlanda’s suicide, due to his bout with schizophrenia. On the EP, Banks gets as personal as dealing with his harsh memories of leaving the funeral for a show.
We see longtime collaborator and producer CZA at his best with familiar trap drums over the painful account of Bank’s grieving.
“A lot going on but nobody is talking about mental illness in the rap community. Being a black person, you go through trauma that doesn’t get discussed. The black man is supposed to be this invincible creature and deal with mental illness and takes bullets from the police.”
‘The Beautiful Album,’ expected to drop in early 2017, continues where the EP left of—on the project, we join Banks in the car ride from the funeral to his next show.