The name Ashley Bank$ ring a bell? Well it should. But I don't mean Will Smith's little cousin on "The Fresh Prince." I'm referring to an up and coming female MC representing the west coast and Hip Hop to the fullest. With a couple snares, big bass, and a lot of hydraulic motion, nearly every track off “The Queen is King” mixtape will have you bobbin’ your head all day while you cruise through your hood. Take a listen to Bank$’ track “Murk (Go To Work Remix)” and you’ll see what I mean.
One way I could describe Ashley Bank$ is that she is a reminder of what it means to be Hip Hop- straight up, raw, and passionate to tell your story. I had the honor of meeting this fellow female artist at Mission Underground Los Angeles (MULA) earlier this summer, which was hosted by Team Backpack. Born in Brooklyn, NY to immigrant parents from Guatemala and Haiti, Bank$ takes tremendous pride in her culture and family roots. Growing up in LA during the late 80s/early 90s gave her a wide glimpse into the reality of working class and immigrant street life. Her older brother was an OG cholo type, which exposed her to witness gangbanging and Gangsta Rap music at a young age. She grew to love artists like 2Pac and Bone Thugz. More recently, E-40 from the Bay Area has been influential to her and you can tell when you listen to her music and the types of beats she raps to.
Despite childhood struggles, Bank$ managed to graduate high school and earn a bachelor’s degree in Nursing. She is currently working on her master’s degree and has found solid work in her field. “My career has allowed me the finances to support my music without having to worry whether my bills are paid or not and I'm grateful for that,” says Bank$. In the medical field, Bank$ displays compassion for everyone she encounters in a similar way she handles her career as a Hip Hop artist. In just 3 years of making music, she has gotten a lot of underground recognition and seeks to further her musical endeavors independently.
“For other females in the game I say make sure you stay true to yourself. Don't make a certain type of music if it's not you. Be diverse but yet keep it 100. Don't be intimidated and let your music and performance gain the respect you deserve,” says Bank$.
Be sure to check out all of Ashley Bank$’ musical content, especially “The Queen is King” mixtape via her Soundcloud. Also, look out for her next mixtape to drop- “First Generation American,” which will have a stronger focus on its lyrical content and give listeners a deeper look into her life. All of Ashley Banks’ media outlets can be found in the links posted on this page.
OTDHipHop is an independent music blog and network, curated by Rapper/Blogger Jehzan Exclusive.