The Break Presents: Tate Kobang
Tate Kobang is not only out for himself. The 23-year-old rapper, who last summer signed to Lyor Cohen’s 300 Entertainment, barely introduces himself before he starts putting on for Baltimore. That’s exactly what he did last year, when his “Bank Rolls (Remix)” started making waves on the Internet and on radio playlists up and down the East coast. The song repurposes the beat from the 2000 original by Baltimore hip-hop pioneer Tim Trees; Tate says the first “Bank Rolls” “was like the Baltimore version of the cha cha slide—every family function, kiddie discos, cookouts, everything. It was the hometown favorite.”
As the young MC preps his proper retail debut, XXL sat down to catch up. Tate spoke to us about his desire to provide a platform for other artists from his hometown, to follow in the footsteps of one of the biggest rappers of the 2000s and the value of his extensive R&B collection.
Name: Tate Kobang
I grew up listening to: Mainly a lot of New York music. Mr. Cheeks, a lot of Method Man. A lot of R&B, Luther Vandross, people like that. A lot of gospel music, too. I came up in the church, in the choir and everything. My uncle got me rap albums. The R&B I went and found on my own. It wasn’t really too many Baltimore rappers who were out there at the time—we probably had two or three, B Rich, Bossman, Tim Trees.
Most people don’t know: I don’t really listen to rap music. I try to dabble in other culture, other genres. Rap music is easy, I prefer to put my mind somewhere that’s outside of the box. Mainly R&B, that helps with me creating my own things. I’ve been listening to a lot of country music lately, too.
My style has been compared to: I haven’t gotten anything yet. I’ve been trying to figure it out my whole career. I can do, really, anything—it’s hard to put a thumb on exactly where I’m going. Even my engineer says that, and that’s the main reason people like me.
Standout moment to date: It was crazy, I really wasn’t expecting [label] calls to be so early. We were thinking like, maybe December, January we’d be getting called. But we started getting calls [the month after “Bank Rolls”-. At first I didn’t know who the hell he was [laughs]. I’m young. But when I went and did my research, I was like, “Damn, they want me?”
My goal in hip-hop is: To do for Baltimore and Pennsylvania what Chief Keef did for Chicago. He came out and he created the platform for the town—which is crazy because there’s a lot of very successful artists from that same area, but they didn’t really bring eyes to the area. You got Kanye West, who’s been a music genius for years, but nobody was really looking at Chicago like that until Chief Keef came out. Now everybody wanna be a Chicago rapper. And of course to have longevity—I ain’t looking to just have one record.
I’m going to be the next: 50 Cent. He started off one way, as far as the music, then he ventured into business, into films, into merchandise, into the drunks and stuff. He’s one person who’s stayed consistent with his style. His content changed, but that’s what life is about, that progression. No one wants to hear a multimillionaire talk about stuff he isn’t doing anymore. I wanna build my own brand, get my own company, be the next Lyor [Laughs].
Standout: “Bank Rolls (Remix)”
“Bank Rolls (Remix)” with The LOX
"Eat Da Pussy"