Da Banggaz: Knuck if You Buck

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t. Louis, usually known as “the gateway to the west,” has a new movement forming and Da Banggaz are right in the middle helping it cross the river. With hopes of going beyond the niche that Nelly and the St. Lunatics carved, Da Banggaz aspire to bring in a “New St. Louis” still respecting those who came before.

In their short time together, Da Banggaz’s first single “Ain’t No B*tch in Me” has arrested a six-album, six-figure deal with Atlantic Records. Not too bad for the first timers, whose unnamed first full-length drops this fall. In the meantime, Nonna, Iklips, Looney, and DJ Bishop break down their movement. Da Banggaz never wanted fistfights in the club, just to kick in the door. Oops.

Looney: Of course we look forward to working with other producers and all that, but the chemistry we got with Steve T is amazing. I love all the stuff he puts out. But we’re not afraid to work with other top producers in the industry now. We just like what Steve T is doing and what he’s got to offer.

AllHipHop.com: Could you give me some background history on how you got together?

Nonna: Well, I met Looney and Iklips through a cousin. Before I joined the group, I was [working as a dancer] for Looney, when he was a solo artist, and then Iklips was in a group and the other two members left the group. Then it was just L and Klip,s and I asked them – well, I begged them if I could be in the group. So, L wrote songs just to see how my voice sounded. Then they agreed I could be in the group. At that time, they didn’t know I could write, but now I write all of my own parts.

AllHipHop.com: How long ago was that?

Nonna: The beginning of last year.

AllHipHop.com: Your hit track, “Ain’t No B*tch In Me” has been banned from some St. Louis clubs because it reportedly influences fighting. Was this something you expected to happen or did that not cross your mind?

Iklips: Well, it is more the radio that has banned them more than the clubs. But in the clubs, we don’t start fights, it just happens. People already want to fight, but when they hear that song, it’s like they think “There ain’t no b*tch in me, so I’m ready to throw with you.”

AllHipHop.com: Was that the reaction you were expecting?

Iklips: No, we were expecting it to be just feel good music. That’s what we made it for, like, everybody feels like that. Whether you’re a wife, a schoolteacher, a student, whatever. Somebody makes you mad, you be like, “Shoot, ain’t no b*tch in me, you better calm down before you get calmed down.” Point blank.

AllHipHop.com: I heard that “Ain’t No B***h In Me” wasn’t supposed to be your first single to be released, but your track “Diddy Bop” was supposed to be. What happened, why the change?

Looney: Well, actually, there was another song called “Beat ‘Em Up” that was supposed to be the first song of the album, but what happened was we took the song over to a club in St. Louis called Dreams and they have “St. Louis Night” on Wednesday’s and we took it to a DJ I know pretty well. He played it, and we got such a good reaction that they took it over and it became the first single on its own. We also performed at the Arena here in St. Louis and the crowd went crazy.

Nonna: You can see that performance on our website also.

AllHipHop.com: You guys recently met with Atlantic Records and you were pretty much signed instantly. What do you think you have to offer that is innovative to Hip-Hop? What was the reason Atlantic should be so eager to sign Da Banggaz?

Looney: I guess how creative we are and original. We are showing a whole different side of St. Louis. We can only do us, only show us, so we are showing exactly how we are. I guess our spunk and creativity helped out. And then, the chemistry we got, too. With producer, Steve T and Klips and Nonna, her hype-ness and Klips’ lyrical format, they’re amazing. I mean… they amaze me sometimes.

AllHipHop.com: How did Atlantic find out about you?

Iklips: We were like number one on the radio for like four weeks straight, so one of the DJs sent it out on an email blast and Atlantic reacted. So they flew down here to one of our shows to see us perform, and like two days later, they made this happen. It feels like, almost over night.

AllHipHop.com: You have a producer named Steve T that has produced all of your tracks so far. How are you going to handle working with other producers in the future?

Looney: Of course we look forward to working with other producers and all that, but the chemistry we got with Steve T is amazing. I love all the stuff he puts out. But we’re not afraid to work with other top producers in the industry now. We just like what Steve T is doing and what he’s got to offer.

AllHipHop.com: Do you find that being from St. Louis it is hard to break that “Nelly mold?” I feel that people outside of St. Louis just relate this city to that Nelly style, but there is another Hip-Hop scene.

Looney: I’m not knocking what Nelly has done at all. I like the hustling and grinding he’s done and all that, but yeah, it is kind of hard ‘cause people expect us to follow what he’s doing. I respect what he doing, but we on a whole other, we still rappers, you know what I’m saying, but at the same time, we on our own thing, our own original thing, a different St. Louis and we’re showing a whole other side. So, we don’t really want to be compared to what Nelly’s doing.

AllHipHop.com: How would you describe “The New St. Louis”?

DJ Bishop: Basically, the new St. Louis is like, we got labeled a lot for what Nelly doing and everything, and then we got labeled for not communicating and not getting along with each other like we should. So this year it is a whole new St. Louis, the artists are all communicating with other more often and doing songs together. You know, just how you perceive Atlanta and Houston and everything, it is the same with us. Like, we had a tour from the middle of May that went through the middle of June with Da Banggaz, Baby Huey, Jenna, me, Steve T. We want to show the world this is how we are coming to your hood, we coming 20-30 deep and it is the new St. Louis. We’re hitting something like 24 cities.

AllHipHop.com: Would you consider your music Crunk?

Nonna: We’re not only Crunk, we have a lot of styles. Our single “Ain’t No B*tch in Me” is Crunk, but when the album’s out, you going to be like, “Okay, they got something we like too,” if you’re not a Crunk person. Even our mixtape is like that, it’s that different St. Louis style.

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