Bangs the Great, “50 Cent Ain’t Call Me Back Yet”
Before Kat Stacks had the whole Internet going nuts, ya boy Bangs the Great was serving hip-hop fans with the Planters and popcorn. At the top of the year, the Australian rapper by way of Sudan was an online sensation thanks to his ultra-catchy, yet super-hated on song, “Take U to Da Movies,” complete with its green screened video.
For better or worse, Bangs had the people’s ear. You couldn’t go to a hip-hop related site without seeing mention of the international phenom. While most hated on the 19-year-old, who only had learned English five years ago, there were some that saw potential in his catchy hooks. There were various rumors of various U.S.-based labels had reached out expressing interest in signing him, but last April Bangs signed a distribution deal with HSM Entertainment to release his debut album, Hard to Be Up.
With his hit single available on iTunes and via his website Bangs8.com, it looked like Bangs was not just taking ’em to the movies but the bank too. Then, as quickly as he had appeared on the scene, he was gone—but not for long.
Last week, Bangs reemerged online as part of the marketing plan for the new Honda Jazz. Featured in the automaker’s latest “Jazz Packing” commercial, Bangs and his self-produced track were back in the spotlight—bigger and deffer than before. Given the international star’s recent strides, XXLMag.com used up its daytime minutes to get in contact with Bangs to find out what he’s been up to and where he’s going to take the game next.
How’d the whole concept for “Take U to Da Movies” come about?
I just make the beat, ya know, and I listen to the beat. Put pen on paper and listen to it for a while and I said, “Let me make a song about the movies.” I make up the chorus, write the verse, put them together and the song came, ya know.
Did you think it would be this big of a record?
Nah, I didn’t think it was going to be that big, ya know. I thought people gonna listen to it and like it that much, I just shoot the video and green screen, put it on YouTube and tell my fans to check out my video. Post it on FaceBook and all that… When I put it [out] in June  they didn’t listen to it that much until September/October was the time people listened… The song get big, ya know.
It’s really because of the video, too. Who directed that?
It was free for free ’cause I work with someone he’s a director. He got his office with green screen and all that so he told me, “I want you to do a short movie for me like two minutes or three minutes. I tell him, “Okay,” I did the movie and I told him I want to shoot a video clip ’cause I got a song. He tell me, “Okay, alright, we see how we go.” I let him hear the song and all that we shoot “Take U to Da Movies,” he edit it and I did the rest.
You did all the effects in background?
Yeah, I did all the effect and all that. Now I know how to use the Final Cut like every video clip that I made I just go there and edit it by myself. Even now I shot a video clip for “My Life is Hard.” I already shot it and I already cut it, everything’s done. I’m just waiting for it to be out. I’m just waiting.
Who made the beat?
I made the beat on my own. I make beats. All the beats that’s on my album I made it.
Oh, word? How long you been producing?
I started rappin’ first. Then, I started making beats… I use Pro Tools for recording and all that and Fruity Loops for making beats.
Damn, you’re like the Australian Soulja Boy…
Yeah yeah, a lot of people be saying that. I’m just who I am; trying to be Bangs. No. 1 Bangs, I’m trying to be who I am… A lot of people have been saying on Twitter and on MySpace, “Yeah, Soulja Boy made the beats, and give Bangs hooks…” But no one believe them; I said that on YouTube, beats made by Bangs and all that. On my website too, I said that.
Would you ever work with Soulja Boy?
[Long pause] Yeah, he’s alright, he’s alright. I’d work with him, yeah, but maybe not for a while. Two-three songs and then, yeah.
Drake is an artist from Canada that’s really hot in U.S. now. Does that give you hope that another international rapper like yourself can blow over here too?
I haven’t heard much about that but… Is he a producer?
Nah, not Dr. Dre, Drake, he’s a rapper down with Young Money and he was on Degrassi…
Oh, yeah, yeah, I know him. Yeah, I know that guy, he’s alright, he’s good.
So does Drake’s success give you hope?
Yeah, you know, it kinda make a lot of change. Actually, when I see somebody with a lot of celebrity and big I feel like I’m changing. Feel like I’m moving on to the next step. I hope I’m gonna do what I do and find a better life to live on ’cause right now I feel like I’m in the middle. I haven’t finished my life now I’m in the middle.
Now there were rumors about you getting a call from 50 Cent to do some work. Is that true?
Yeah, yeah, 50 Cent, tried to talk to me. We talk a long time ago, [he] tell me he want to shoot a video clip with me. I’m like, “Alright, if we can talk to face to face we see what’s going on and work it out.” From that day a lot of people been calling me, lot of artists, lot of record [labels] calling me. I say, “Yo, hold it down, take it easy. I haven’t even started, ya know.”
So you and 50 actual spoke?
He called me last year, December or so. He tell him I want to shoot video with him, “Take U to Da Movie (Remix).” I tell him, “Okay.” Since that day, ya know, he ain't call back yet.
What other artists do you look up to and listen to?
Chingy, Sean Kingston, ya know, who else…? Iyaz, he have a song [“Replay”] that goes like, “Shorty’s like a melody in my head/That I can’t keep out, got me singing like, nah, nah, nah, nah, everyday/Like my iPod stuck on replay…” He’s a new artist on [JR Rotem’s] Beluga Heights Records. That’s the kinda artists I like.
Now you mentioned Chingy as one of the artists you listen to. Does that explain why “Take You Right Thurr” has that St. Louis slang in it? Why do you have so much American influence in your music and not your own culture?
I feel ’cause that’s where you start hip-hop from, so you go with the U.S. accent. People say, “Yeah, yeah, yeah you tryna be like U.S.,” but I feel like I'm not trying to be like the U.S. I’m just tryna sing the song, ya know. I sing the song and see what the melody would go with the chorus and the hook and all that. I’ll be singing it, “Shawty right thurr. I say right thurr, when I say right thurr it feel like it’s a better mix with the beat to be kinda good to make it hip-hop. Right thurr.
The hook on “Take U to Da Movies” and “Take You Right Thurr” are real catchy. How do you come with these catchy hooks, man?
Yeah, you know it’s the beats that make me come out with the hook and all that. Without the beat I wouldn’t be singing the hook and all that. “Right Thurr,” “My Life is Hard…” always come with the hook [first].
People hate on you but a lot of artists can’t make good hooks, but you’re international right now with commercial deals and a hit record on iTunes. Damn, shawty.
[Laughs] That’s right. It’s catchy. People will say, “What, how do you do that? This song is catchy, man, you always know what’s up.” The song is catchy so quickly, ya know. People be saying that. I just do it right, ya know.
How have you been dealing with the backlash and haters?
The haters, man, like they say, let the haters hate. Whatever they say I keep doing my thing. I know what haters talk to me, what is good, and what is bad. Some talk to me like seriously and some talk to me ’cause they jealous. I say the more haters you get the more fans you get so I don’t care what the haters say I just keep doing what I do. I’m doing it for my fans that love to listen to my music that like to do what I do and all that, I don’t care what they say.
You did a radio interview last year where people were going in on you. Did you expect that much hate?
Everybody was listening to the song and I was listening to what everybody they think, ya know. People are saying, “Your song is shit, you can’t even rap, you better quit rappin’,” all that crap, ya know. Some of them said, “Yeah, keep doing what you doing, it’s alright,” everybody gotta learn like this. You don’t have to come straight rap, do what you do. It’s dope. People love the song.
Didn’t someone go so far as to say go kill yourself?
It was normal to me, but I just ignore them. Who give a fuck what they have to say? I just keep doing it for my fans who like to download music that’s all. In this world there is no one perfect, even 50 Cent or Lil Wayne people hate them, too, not only me. A lot of people is just keep doing what I do. Get money and giving back.
Do you plan on leaving Australia to make a bigger splash in America?
I wish. But I will maybe the end of this year. I want to go to L.A. and New York; those the place to be and I know which record [company] I would go to and who am I gonna look for… I got all the details.
Since you’re the movie man, which famous girls would you want to out when you come to America?
[Laughs]. Female star, who that could be? A lot of females wanna go to movies. I don’t know which one to go with. …. Maybe, like, Raven.
Raven, like That’s So Raven. Or Eve… Keri Hilson, Jordin Sparks. Good kinda girls I go to movies with, if I go to the U.S. and collaboration [sic] with them.
So what happen after the movies?
You know, I got the popcorn, I know what else you like… What else you like is, ya know, the time for relaxing, sit down and relax.
What’s on the horizon for Bangs moving forward?
From now on I’ll keep doing what I do. I haven’t looked for the record deal yet but my manager helping me. I sign up for a distribution deal with HSM Entertainment. That’s what I signed up for. I feel that I go there so I can move on while I’m sitting here ’til 2011, 2012. Because it’s going well so I better move on or see what’s going on there so I collaboration [sic] with lot of people to see if they give me good deal or help me out or show them what I got or we take it from there… I’m working. To sell records, do dates, like a lot of people say, “You should come over and do gigs here,” everywhere. London, UK… “Bangs, you should come over and do gigs, we love you over here.” I wish but I really wonder. —Anslem Samuel