“Never judge a book by its cover”–cliché quote, right? But that couldn’t ring more true when you look at Robb Bank$. Hailing from Florida, the son of Shaggy (Mr. Boombastic himself) is in a lane all his own–nowhere near his father’s shadow. While this 6’2” dread-headed rapper has verbally painted images of drugs, fucking bitches, and a hard life in the Broward County streets, we saw a much different picture after speaking with him. Take a look inside Robb Bank$’s life, and find out why he’s the quirkiest gangster rapper you need to know:
NYLON Guys: You’re originally from New York. Why rep Broward County and the South?
Robb Bank$: I was born in New York. I moved from there when I was like 6 years old. I didn’t get any of my values from New York; everything that made me into the person that I am, it’s all from Broward. When I moved here, everything was really different. I remember thinking, “Whoa, I’m in the deep fucking south.” At first I didn’t really like it, but then as I got older I almost forgot that I even lived in New York.
NG: How long have you been making music?
RB: I would always rap; even when I was six years old I was rapping. I never put it out or anything; I was really shy. I always looked at it like, the kids in school that used to rap and tell everyone that they’re rappers, and be in school writing their rhymes were really lame, and I know for a fact everybody around me looked at those kids the same way. So I just didn’t tell anybody until after put Calendars up. That was my first mixtape ever, and it did pretty good.
NG: Does your father’s music have any influence on your own?
RB: Not that much because I didn’t grow up with my dad. It was just me and my mom, and father figures that I picked up along the way. So he didn’t really have that much of an influence on me. Honestly, Florida’s culture has more of an influence on me. I wasn’t really around too many Jamaican people other than my mom. I used to go to Jamaica a lot when I was younger, probably once a year to see my dad, but we were never really too close. Now, since I started to get a little bit of recognition for my music, I started speaking about our relationship, and it’s been better. So we’re working on our relationship, but it’s not really father/son bonding ‘cause he’s never been there.
NG: You’ve been quoted as saying that you listen to all genres of music. Who do you like to listen to?
RB: Yeah, I’ve always been a fan of a bunch of other music, but I’m always going to love southern music. That is always gonna be close to my heart. I like all kind of shit. Black metal is one of my favorite genres ever; Mayhem and Death, all those people, they are the shit to me. Sade is my favorite artist because I feel like when you look at her from all aspects of what an artist should be, she is in every single category. She’s the most well-rounded artist of all time, in my opinion, as far as creativity, as far as longevity, as far as timing, like when she puts a project out. She’s what I’ve tried to emulate for a long time, and that’s the reason why I didn’t put a lot of music out. I was looking at someone who’s a legend and trying to carry myself like that. Now, I realize I’m not Sade and I can’t do that, so that’s why this year I’m going to flood the Internet with music.
NG: Usually rappers are affiliated with a team. Do you think it’s harder to break into the industry without one?
RB: When I first started, they wanted me to be in Raider Klan but I said no because I looked at [Space Ghost Purp] as someone I respected and I wanted him to look at me like an equal. Just like he built something, I want to build something. [Sir Michael Rocks] was in The Cool Kids and he stepped out and did his own thing. I didn’t want to just hop into whatever he was doing. I want everyone to look at me as the man of the community, and not look down on me. I’ve always been to myself. Growing up, I never really had a crew. I’ve never been cool, nothing like that. I’ve always been me. The only thing that I could consider something like that is SS. SS has like 100 members, but the only reason I even know them is because I grew up with these people.
NG: You and Sir Michael Rocks are close. How did you meet?
RB: Yeah, Mikey and I talk like almost every day. We met at my producer Nuri’s house. He was just there taking all the good beats. I was like, “Who is this mother fucker?” and he was like, “You like this beat? Get on it.” From there, we just became really good friends. He ended up moving to Miami and living right in my pool house. He’s really one of my best friends.
NG: You’re big on loyalty.
RB: I am. Growing up, you realize a lot of things don’t matter. As you get older, one of the only things that does matter is loyalty. Family will fuck you up, but loyalty and somebody’s character, that’s really what matters to me at the end of the day. Your actions, that’s really what matters. Everybody who stayed down with me from day one, if they’re still here, they’re here for a reason. They’re going to be with me forever. Everyone who’s turned their back on me, that’s obviously not meant to be, there’s nothing that I could do about that. But all I can do is keep trying to keep going, keep looking forward.
NG: We hear that you’re a fan of anime.
RB: I love [watching] anime. That’s all I do if I’m working and I have free.
NG: Dragon Ball Z or Naruto?
RB: Naruto, I gotta say. People be hating me for that shit but people are biased when they say Dragon Ball Z. It’s only because that’s the first anime they watched. It was great, Goku, blah blah blah, but it’s an old-ass anime, man. That shit is old as fuck. Plus, Naruto has a better story than Dragon Ball Z. Naruto is really one of the best animes I’ve ever read in my life.
NG: Goku was a deadbeat father.
RB: I mean, yeah. He was a dumbass drifter. Always dying and shit, leaving a single mom to raise the kid. He did save the world 100 fucking times. But that shit is old as hell. It stopped in like 1998. Naruto just ended maybe a couple months ago. That shit it broke my damn heart. I love Naruto so much.
NG: On another note, since you’re Tumblr famous, do fans regularly slide into your DMs?
RB: I hate that term, “Tumblr famous.” I mean, I’ll always love Tumblr because that’s where I got my start but it’s completely ridiculous. Fans do hop in my messages but I don’t respond to any of them. If I do respond, it’s usually to a friend or someone that I know. But people definitely send all kinds of crazy shit, and crazy questions, and nudes. They do all of that shit. Social media, I hate all of that–actually, I don’t hate all of them, but I usually just like to stay off of them because they really, really distract me. I do read Instagram all the time, and the crazy shit is I never post. It’s fun to just scroll; I don’t need to post anything on it. People have been telling me to make a fuckin’ Snapchat and I’m not doing that.
RB: There’s just so many [apps] right now. I gotta learn how to use Snapchat, but I’d much rather just use that time to go to the studio than to fucking be on Snapchat and get distracted, thinking about what to post. People put all their energy into making like a funny ass video. They’ll spend three hours thinking, “How should I make this video?” just to get a bunch of likes.
NG: Would you ever slide into someone’s DMs? Drake did it with Mia Khalifa…
RB: Oh no, man. I don’t think I can do that. Just because they’re gonna look at me like an average fucking Joe. I never really slide in DM’s. Maybe I have–I’m not going to say I never have, I probably have. If I have done it before, [it wasn’t with] a pornstar. Mia Khalifa did retweet me the other day though. That was cool. I retweeted her back, but I didn’t slide her DM’s, that’s for sure. I did not do that.
NG: Is she your favorite pornstar?
RB: Nah, she’s not my favorite, she’s cool though, she looks good, but she’s not my favorite. It changes like every month to be honest; I watch too much porn. Estella Anderson–I’m not saying she’s my favorite–I think she retired I heard, but she definitely is to me one of the best of all time. She was fine. And Nicole Anderson, too. She was good. I know so many pornstars. I know so many of them. But I’ve never, never, never ever had sex with one of them.
NG: So that’s not your biggest fantasy–having sex with a pornstar?
RB: To be honest with you, I don’t know I don’t want to get too graphic for NYLON Guys, thinking about all the nasty shit. After you get nutted on I don’t really want to touch you after that.
NG: So what can we expect next from you? You recently dropped “2PhoneShawty.” When is Year of the Savage coming out?
Rob: I work on the album every single day, despite what everybody thinks. I’m gonna put it out in December, but honestly, I might just drop that bitch whenever I want. It’s about done; I’m just putting details on it right now. You know how a piece of art is “done” [when you’re finished painting], but it has to sit for a little bit? To add details and things like that? That’s what I’m doing. I’m making sure that this is what I want to put out. I might put that shit out tomorrow, a month from now, three months from now, I don’t know. But December still.