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The emergent New Orleans rapper Alfred Banks has already garnered critical acclaim from some of Hip-Hop’s most esteemed publications. In addition to being named one of Complex’s 10 upcoming New Orleans MCs, Banks was featured prominently in DJBooth’s list of best indie rappers from Louisiana. Having performed at renowned festivals like Atlanta’s A3C and Austin’s SXSW, Banks has also made considerable headway in the European market, starring in a Volkswagen ad campaign featuring his song “HomeComing” in addition to achieving notable performances in Germany and Spain. In late 2016, the BBC’s Russian network interviewed Banks, extending his reach well beyond Europe.
In 2014, Banks joined celebrated MC and former XXL Freshman Mickey Factz’s 15-city Red or Blue Pill Tour as an opening act, an accomplishment which earned him the accolade of Charles Hamilton, another XXL Freshman Class MC. Thus far, Banks has also shared the stage with Snoop Dogg, Chris Brown, Lupe Fiasco, Mac Miller, and A$AP Ferg, and his live show earned the attention of RevoltTV, who crowned Banks the winner of their Local Love Tour. Additionally, he and Bay Area superstar G-Eazy teamed up to create the song “My Style.”
Most recently, Banks released his 2016 EP, A Beautiful Prelude. Inspired by his brother’s struggle with mental illness and his eventual suicide, the EP serves as a springboard for his forthcoming LP, Beautiful. Slated for a Spring 2017 release, his third album is his most ambitious to date and features a conceptual approach dealing with schizophrenia and the complexity of identity. In late 2016, the National Alliance of Mental Illness took notice of Banks’s music and its focus on mental-health awareness, and have partnered with him on promotional efforts for Beautiful.
Banks, who struggled with homelessness while attending Loyola University on a full-ride scholarship, opted to leave academia behind and pursue MCing full-time. Outside of music, the New Orleans native has made a name for himself through his unapologetic sense of personal style, and can often be seen sporting a fresh pair of sneakers and a scarf tied around his mic. His sense of individualism is something he applies to his life mantra, which is embodied by his UnderdogCentral movement. Created in 2012, UnderdogCentral represents a place where the overlooked are embraced and encouraged to finesse their potential.
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