"That’s always been the aim: to take the South London sound global.”
For most musicians, being shouted out by your favourite rapper is a dream you can’t even imagine: but for South London rapper Ms Banks this became a reality when she woke up to hundreds of messages congratulating her, because Nicki Minaj had quoted her electric verse on ‘Yu Zimme Rmx’ on Twitter.
“I’d had a show in Leeds the night before and I was waking up quite early to take a train back to London and I just saw loads of tweets saying congratulations and I just was really confused,” Ms Banks explained. “I saw a few tweets that had Nicki involved but I didn’t get it, and then I just saw she’d been quoting my lyrics and I couldn’t believe it.”
So who is Minaj’s new favourite rapper? We spoke to the woman herself, to find out everything you need to know about the rising star.
Nicki Minaj has always been an influence
When Nicki shouted Ms Banks out on Twitter it was particularly special, as she’s always been a fan. “I’ve been listening to her since I was 14 – a good nine years now – and she’s still very much relevant now, she’s had so many Billboard entries and done so much iconic stuff.”
And what about other influences? “Ms Dynamite, Estelle, Lauren Hill, Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown” Banks reels off, “And Monie Love – my mum used to play her!”
Her new single ‘Bangs’ is an absolute riot
Released last week Ms Banks’ latest single ‘Bangs’ is a fiery fusion of UK hip-hop with trap influences. Sultry beats and clear lyrical prowess, Banks manages to put into words that feeling you have when everything is going your way. “’Bangs’…it just bangs!” Banks asserts confidently: “It’s a slang term that use to describe something that’s really good, that’s popping, it’s lit.” – she’s not wrong.
You know that moment when you’re lit enough that everything just BANGS… and then you realise you didn’t always have it like that… yeah this is that amazing feeling in a tune. Enjoy x
She started writing music young
“I wrote my first bar aged 11 – and it’s been continuous ever since. I come from a very musical family – so I’ve always been hearing different music in my house, and wanting to write.”
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Music was always in her blood
Growing up, music was always part of Ms Banks life, with her uncle in particular being involved in the industry: “My uncle used to be a rapper in a grime group called Essentials, his name was Remedy and he’d done really well in his time. That was amazing for me looking up to all the grime veterans like Wiley and Skepta. I would always perform for the family when they would come round and I would be so involved in everything musically, I wanted to know what my mum was listening to, my dad, my uncle. I always knew I wanted to do it I just didn’t know how to start.”
Open mics were used to hone her skills
Ms Banks first performed on stage at an open mic, after a friend told her about it. She’d recorded a few tracks in the studio, but it was then she felt ready to take the step forward to performing on stage. “I was nervous, but that’s only because I want to make sure I kill it and give a good performance.” And then she got the bug: “It was an amazing feeling, people were responding with me and when they heard something they liked they would make noise. I went in with 20 followers and came out with like 200!”
She toured with Cardi B
Earlier this year, Ms Banks toured with the overnight superstar Cardi B. “She’s not that much older than me so to see what she’s achieved is amazing.” Banks explains, when asked about Cardi B’s hit single ‘Bodak Yellow’. “I feel like I always saw it in her before she had the number one I knew she was a star so I’m very grateful to experience it and meet her.”
She hopes she can inspire other women in the industry
“There’s so much room for us all. I hope them seeing what’s happening to me and other females really breaking the mould is inspiring them and giving them more amour to know that they can be as great as they want to be, as big as they want to be.”
And she has big plans for the future
“I feel like I’ve always wanted to just spread my message as far as I can internationally. That’s always been the aim: to take the South London sound global.”