Dre Banks is a fast-rising American artist who has been a staple in the midwest rap scene, hailing from Grand Rapids Michigan. He started like many other young men in the inner city. He was pulled into the allure of the streets and then, unfortunately, found himself caught up in the system.
After being caught in this revolving door he knew it was time for a change. “I knew I had to break it and make the change myself. I knew I had to start from scratch and get back to just the music,” he says. With a clean slate and a new focus, Dre Banks hit the studio to prep his freshman release entitled “Check” which hit streets in October of 2015, again featuring Amil as well as another New York hip-hop legend, AZ, and was co-executive produced by Dre’s childhood friend of many years, Baby Paul aka BpZy (formerly of “Da Beatminerz”) – producer for talented artists like Nas, AZ, Fat Joe, Remy Ma, Dj Clue, Consequence, others.
In 2018, Dre followed up with a street album released on the internet for promotional purposes entitled, “Coke Iz It” hosted by legendary Queens NY mixtape staple, Dj Mr. FX. The project featured Jay-Z protégé Amil, Nature, of the New York supergroup, The Firm, and Roc-a-fella Records/State Property veteran Omillo Sparks (of Oschino and Sparks).
In support of the release, Banks performed several show dates along a mid-Atlantic and northeast tour with various artists at each venue. Striving to stay consistent with his music, Dre Banks is already putting the finishing touches on his next project “Checkmate” for release in the 2nd quarter of 2022, the new album will include the HIT single, “Boyfriend, Girlfriend” ft. Trina of “Love and Hip Hop” fame
Listen to “Boyfriend, Girlfriend” on Spotify:
This song was released in 2020 and streamed over 1.5 million plays on Spotify along with the catchy street anthem “Off the Chain” which is currently streaming at over 2.5 million plays on Spotify.
Watch “Off the Chain” on youtube:
Stay tuned for the next best thing coming out of the state of Michigan since Dej Loaf,
Big Sean, Royce 5’9, and Eminem because Dre Banks is the future of the midwest.
Hello Dre Banks, greetings and welcome to Honkmagzine. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Dre Banks – I was born into music through my father, I learned how to play drums with the church band as a child and kept my inspiration to be a part of music, especially when hip-hop became a dominant force in urban music.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
Dre Banks – I believe the opportunity to meet the legendary female rap star Trina to collaborate on my record, “Boyfriend, Girlfriend” was an interesting moment for me, we had so much fun together shooting the music video in Miami.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Dre Banks – I would say the funniest mistake was agreeing to do business with an independent label called “Real Life Music” based in Kansas, the owner had fewer resources and financial backing to support my music releases than I did on my own previously but I had to discover this after the fact!
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Dre Banks – I am currently working on my album “Checkmate” which will feature legendary artists like Styles P of the LoX, Trina, AZ, Ms. Toi, and singer extraordinaire Ne-Yo all coming this year in 2022!
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
Dre Banks – I would say I met Benzino of LHH “Love and HipHop” fame, we got to tour together in the midwest and also made a song and video together – It was a crazy time on tour with Benzino, we were driving on the highway doing 90 mph, and the Ohio state police who are notorious for pulling people over stopped us on the road and gave us a ticket for having a half-ounce of marijuana and for speeding!
Another time I got pulled over on the highway while in Ohio with my producer/manager Baby Paul – this time after being pulled over the cop befriended me, gave me back my weed and we exchanged Instagram contacts and he checked out my music in the car!
Baby Paul could not find the air freshener to air the weed out in the car so I automatically complied with the cop and he respected it.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Dre Banks – Be consistent in making song material to build a catalog of music for any purpose – singles, mixtapes, song licensing for film and television so you have many options to keep an audience’s attention
Also, be very engaging in social media.
You have been blessed with success in a career path that can be challenging. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?
Dre Banks – Failure is a big part of success with my music. I released music over the years that did not connect the way I felt it could have when I had limited resources but I didn’t let it discourage me.
I kept going, writing and releasing music, building my network and resources with my team, and was never afraid to invest in myself that’s what got me here.
Can you share with our readers any self-care routines, practices, or treatments that you do to help your body, mind, or heart to thrive? Kindly share a story or an example for each.
Dre Banks – I would say I govern my eating habits, I exercise, I spend quality time with my family as much as possible to give me peace of mind and it keeps me grounded and appreciating life.
Family and true friends are important and a big part of enjoying the fruits of labor that lead to my success.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
Dre Banks –
- Relationships last longer than money.
- Don’t invest in strangers for marketing services online unless you carefully research their background.
- Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself don’t wait for the labels to get behind you to get your music heard.
- Keep a small circle, less is more.
- Don’t chase the game let the game come to you once you build yourself up to the point you can’t be denied.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Dre Banks – It was something my late grandmother told me – “Stop letting all these bitches in the house!!” maybe I would have fewer relationship problems. Lol
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Dre Banks – I would say my producer/manager – Baby Paul aka “BpZy” – we have been the best of friends since the age of 16, one time we went to the Run-DMC “Raising Hell” concert tour when we were kids and got stuck in the snow with a Toyota!
As we became business associates we conquered so many situations over the years, my other manager who is Baby Paul’s biz partner – Antonio Velaz was instrumental in helping me get on a speed boat in Miami by speaking to the boat owner – a non-English speaking rich socialite to shoot a scene in my music video for the Trina song that wasn’t even planned but ended up making it in the final cut!
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Dre Banks – DreBanks World is the movement – XMG is the movement – 2 powerhouse independent labels unifying the east coast, west coast, and the midwest, we are going to conquer the music scene with a lot of new talent from all these markets!
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂
Dre Banks – I would love the opportunity to meet with Drake –
he is among the most impactful music artists in the market today and I would like to collaborate with him to expand my audience as well as create something classic and timeless.
How can our readers follow you online?
Dre Banks – You can Follow me on all social media platforms.
Twitter: Dre Banks
Facebook: Dre Banks | Facebook
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