JBA: The community is now being able to showcase our talents in music and mainstream media. I’ve interviewed a vast majority of Black gay rappers and queer artists alike, and I am excited to be interviewing one of my favorite newer rappers, Damian Banks! How are you today, sir?
Aoooowww, I’m great. I’m just super honored to be on your platform!!! How are you?
JBA: I’m good love, so tell the readers a little-bit about yourself. What would be first things you would want to express to them about your music and artistry?
Everything I’ve written & created so far came from a real place! Rather it’s directly related to me or people who vent to me. I always try to make music I can empathize with because I’m a very passionate person. So if I don’t feel it, I won’t record it! More about me, I’m a 22-year-old rapper from Queens, NY & I will stop at no limit to make sure I’m at the top of my field God willing. 🙏🏾❤️
JBA: Does it seem like a lot of openly gay rappers come from New York? How do you feel about all those other amazing artists of LGBT experience in music right now? Also, do you have a few faves of your own?
New York Breeds a lot of openly Gay rappers because you have tough skin growing up in Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Etc. just like you have to have tough skin to be an openly gay, trans or lesbian rapper in the music industry!!! A few of my fave rappers so far from the LGBT community are 1. @KEE_is_HomoThug 2. @PLaYBoYKeNxX_2 & 3. @godismikey. All three of them are amazing at what they do & inspire me to better my craft as an emcee & as an artist.
JBA: I love it, and I agree not only from NYC, but the whole Tri-state Philly and Jersey included!!! City living period for gay artists. It’s much harder for city living folks because that hustle is so real and so many people are hungry for that top spot! Let’s go back in time to the first moment you knew becoming a rapper was your dream career?
That’s true as well. Since I was a little boy, I’ve danced! Dancing is my first nature. I used to teach dances and have all the little girls going off at their sweet sixteens!🤣!!! I always knew I didn’t want to be anyone’s back up anything though so I would have to find my talent & it was either I can sing or rap while dancing on stage. I didn’t know which of the two I would do until I met my boyfriend a year & some change ago & got inspired by his love of Jay-Z as a rapper. Hearing him say things like “Jay-Z raised me” made me realize how much of an impact rapper can make in people’s lives. It wasn’t until then I realized that Nicki Minaj raised me!!! She’s impacted my life with her music and the way I move out in this world as well. So that’s what made me want to rap. So I can have an influence on a little boy or girl in my community and have them know they can do whatever they want. Any goal is reachable. I come from where you come from anything is ATTAINABLE. && I’m also a muthaa fuckiin’ PERFORMER at heart! I go OFF! On the stage. 🚫🧢
JBA: Do you remember the first rap lyrics you wrote and how did that song shaped you as the artist you are today?
“I’m a young Queens N, bout them figures, Them other N’s play the back that’s why they mad? FIGURES!”
Woo Chile! I feel like the first rap lyrics I ever wrote speaks on me being so cocky on my records because I know I’m that ill. I write my shit & I even co-produced my recording coming out the sept. 30 called “Gotta Get That”!!! So if you hear me on a record popping shit, know it’s cause I earned that!
JBA: It’s one thing to be a rapper, but rapping at home alone, etc. but it’s another thing to share that talent with people and an audience. What was the reaction you remember getting after other people heard you rap?
I did a freestyle for my first performance on December 9th, 2017 at JAIA’s yearly Taize event where you set your goals for the new year & get to turn over a new leaf with a night of inspiration. A friend of mine has the freestyle on her phone. The crowd’s reaction surprised me because it was my first performance ever as an emcee. I’ve been on the stage multiple times as a dancer and have won trophy’s but I’ve never been on as in Emcee, so I was nervous as shit. The crowd was showing so much love even scored some new people who are looking for to my new music.
JBA: You’ve mentioned dance as also a huge inspiration for you. If you had a choice between becoming a rapper or a dancer which one would you consider the main pick and why?
Definitely Rap. I get to have a voice while dancing. It’s a win, win!!!
JBA: Do you plan on mixing the two in your up-and-coming career? Because we have no LGBT rap dancers right now and that could be a HUGE career move! Dance rap music would get you so much success. I mean look at Lil Mama and how she arrived on the scene as a dance rapper. Now imagine an LGBT dancer who spits that real shit also!
That’s what I’m pushing for, actually! Lil Mama is a great example of a Rapper who’s incorporated dance. And the legendary Missy Elliott.
JBA: TRUE TEA! I had a strong feeling that maybe that lane would fit you plus you go hard so you can spit anything. A lot of Black gay rappers most of the time rap about the lifestyle and the beef shit. Do you feel you have to represent your sexuality as an artist or do you prefer to separate the two at some point?
Definitely not separating my sexuality from my music. How I feel, is what I write. If I’m writing about sex? That’s what all of you will get. Again, I’m a very passionate person I love to be as authentic as possible. All my music will come from personal experience or people who vent to me.
JBA: Let’s speak about your favorite artist of all times. If you had the opportunity to rap to Nicki Minaj, which song you would choose and why?
I’d do a melody of Hands Up, My Chun-Li Remix & “Gotta Get That.” I’m also not a freestyle rapper. I’ma pen to the paper rapper. Shout-out to all the freestyle rappers though that’s a rare talent few people have.
JBA: Interesting answer. So let’s talk more about the music you have and plan to release. When can the readers and the new fans expect to get a mixtape or EP from you?
Got a lot of tracks in the works right now & I’m putting together the perfect mixtape to drop at the top of the year. For now, the first single off my mixtape is “Gotta Get That.”
JBA: Let’s speak about the new song you got coming up “Gotta Get That” What inspired you to make this song?
“Gotta Get That” #DonTouchMe Anthem. This song allows all the beautiful men and women who get harassed on the street on a casual day by men who don’t know their boundaries to have something to rap confidently without having to risk their lives by responding back to their boundary abuser. This song also was made to inspire gay men & all women to Know Your Worth and to also be about your dollar without having a person splurge on you. Independence = freedom.
JBA: As an openly gay man had you ever endured sexually harassment by men (whether down low or even a heterosexual?) You have BAWDYYY, and in the way these closeted men are today, I wouldn’t be shocked if some guys would still come onto you.
I’ve personally have received sexual harassment, and these men are Ruthless. That’s why I make music as well. I have so much in me to share that I know is missing in music right now. I can’t wait to be out here rocking albums, world tours! Endorsement deals I want it all!!!
JBA: [HOLD UP!] So did they know you were a male and mis-gendered you? Tell us about that experience and how it affected you as an openly gay male living in NYC.
Yes they know I’m a male. That doesn’t stop them from going after what they want though. A man isn’t going to do anything he doesn’t want to so when a man looks me in the face with my mustache present and continues to tell me how you’re going to blow my back out & they’ll pay for the hotel room? Yeah, I will be ready to smack the dog shit out of them fuckas. So ruthless, no manners. This whole idea that gay men are only great for sex, hair, nails & fashion is LATE & TIRED.
JBA: Right, so what would be your advice to other gay men (feminine or masculine) who are sexually harassed and bothered in the streets of NYC?
Don’t let the catcalling compromise you’re worth. If they can’t love you out in the open, then they don’t deserve you. PERIOD. If I can’t tell my best friends about you, you’re childish & you need to keep the bullshit on the playground.
JBA: FACTS ON FACTS!!! So let’s speak about your love life and the fact that your boyfriend supports you. I think a lot of “gay rappers” have a hard time at finding love. They got to deal with the groupies and all the guys who are looking for a quick come up. What made you settle down with your man?
Well, I’ve wanted to settle down with one person since I was in high school [tbh]. The fast life is cool but having that one person by your side through all the ups and downs in life is most important to me. I can’t wait to start a family and have them come to my shows & support my passion. He’s an amazing guy as well. It was like a perfect fit when we first met.
JBA: So cute, so what attracted you to your man? 🙂 (inspire us singles who still love a happy, beautiful gay love story!)
[LOL] he’s definitely a big dreamer just like me, so that’s what drew me to him. He’s also very sweet, my human teddy bear for real. Our first real conversation was about our passions, and it lit my heart up. I was so attracted to how he had his life planned out & was taking sets towards it. Unfortunately, not a lot of the dudes I spoke to were as put together in their life as him. My boyfriend and I literally started dating after spending one night with each other. 😻😊❤️
JBA: Awweeee that’s so cute!!!! (Relationship goals fr fr!) What’s a piece of advice would you give other inspiring rappers or artists who are dating or trying to deal with their career and a relationship?
CAREER first! Please don’t get so engulfed in your love life you forget about your own goals. It’s so important not to lose yourself when you enter a relationship altogether. Let’s build more Power couples & less struggling miserable couples. “Let’s push for our goals together” is an essential mindset to have in your relationship. JBA: (I agree with you!!! Teamwork makes the dream work!) Where do you see yourself in ten years? Exactly. I grew up loving Ciara as well as Nicki Minaj. Ciara is my favorite performer ever. She inspires me when it comes to Dance & Performing. Ciara uses to say back in her evolution days “Teamwork, Makes the dream work” as a team before shows or video shoots, etc. so I grew up living on that motto as well. Ten years from now I’ll be 32, getting ready to start my family, married & at the peak of my career as a rapper. I’ll also have multiple hit records/albums & numerous sold-out tours as well God willing.
JBA: With that being said, I think we can say we’ve had one hell of an interview! 🙂
Yaaasss I agree! Thank you soooo much!!!! Can’t wait to give you my single Gotta Get That!!!!
JBA: Give the readers all of your social media links and also ways to check out your music.
JBA: Thank you for doing this exclusive interview. We have to do more soon!!!!
Thank you soooo much for having me. I hope enjoyed this interview. I am grateful to be on your platform. I’ll never stop saying it. Thank youuuuuuuuuuuu ❤️❤️❤️❤️