Define Me
Interview: Peter A. Berry
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the Spring 2021 issue of XXL Magazine, on stands now.

After her single “Buss It” went viral via the #BussItChallenge on TikTok earlier this year, Erica Banks is in the midst of a serious come up. The song became a Billboard Hot 100 chart mainstay, and Banks, already a 1501 Certified Entertainment artist, signed a deal with Warner Music. Before the deal, Banks was building a buzz by dropping four projects, including 2019’s Art of the Hustle, Pressure and Cocky on Purpose and 2020’s Erica Banks and Banks B4 Christmas. With raunchy anthems and contagious confidence, Banks is set to do more big things. XXL speaks with the 22-year-old artist about important songs in her career so far.

“Buss It”
“This is something that’s very new for me as an artist. It’s also a song that I personally didn’t like, and I didn’t plan on releasing it. So, when I did and the song did what it did, it was just shocking to me. So far it’s just been really exciting. As an artist, sometimes we can be very critical when it comes to ourselves. So I just felt like, no, I could probably do something better. But then, my producer and my friends were like, ‘No, this is hard. You should put this out.’”

“Toot That” featuring BeatKing
“It’s more club-like to me. The tempo is a really big deal, especially in clubs. Having BeatKing on it. Having him, a Texas legend, on it is very important. And then, just the visual. I think the visual is a lot more intriguing than the ‘Buss It’ visual, but that’s just my opinion.”

“Famous” featuring Michael Aristotle
“It was a different flow for me. That’s when I was kind of switching in my flows, and kind of seeing how I could do experimenting with different cadences. So, that was a different sound for me, even the beat. It was just one of those times where I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to try something new,’ and I actually liked it.”

“Trip Out”
“I remember a couple people even asking, ‘Is that you?’ Or, ‘Did you write that?’ Or, ‘Did you come up with that?’ Or, ‘Did you come up with that cadence?’ It was comments like that, that made me know, OK, this is a different sound.”

“Tony Story, Pt. 1”
“It’s one of my favorite songs because I can actually picture in my head what’s going on. And, you can’t really do that with a lot of music today. Growing up, I listened to a lot of Mary J. Blige. So, I love the ‘Runaway Love’ song from years ago that she has with Ludacris. So, that whole video kind of inspired how I went about ‘Tony Story’ because it was still storytelling.”

Check out more from XXL’s Spring 2021 issue including Cardi B's cover story, how rappers are legally making money from the cannabis boom and the social justice that comes with itSnowfall's Damson Idris on how hip-hop impacted his life, A$AP Ferg reflects on the making of his Always Strive and Prosper album, Shelley F.K.A. DRAM talks about his comebackTrippie Redd speaks on how Playboi Carti and Lil Uzi Vert helped change hip-hop, Waka Flocka Flame checks in with us and gives an update on his Flockaveli 2 album in What's Happenin', Show & Prove interviews with 42 DuggBlxst and Lakeyah and more.

See Cardi B's XXL Magazine Spring 2021 Cover Story Photo Shoot

Cardi B covers the spring 2021 issue of XXL magazine.

More From HOT 99.1