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When Erica Banks released her breakout single “Buss It,” she had no idea that it would become a phenomenon. Beginning with a standout sample with Nelly’s 2002 song “Hot in Herre” where he sings, “Checkin’ your reflection and tellin’ your best friend like ‘Girl, I think my butt gettin’ big!” the song immediately cuts to a trapped-out chorus over Banks spitting “Buss It!” three times in a row.
The DeSoto, Texas native describes herself in three words: edgy, sweet and versatile. Currently signed to Carl Crawford’s 1501 Entertainment imprint, Banks is proud to now ink a major label deal with Warner Records. Most recently, fellow Texas native Travis Scott even hopped on the “Buss It” remix, something that came about off pure love.
In light of Women’s History Month, REVOLT caught up with Erica Banks in downtown Los Angeles to talk about female figures who inspire her, the state of female rap, why women are powerful, her #BussItChallenge going viral, and more! Read below.
Coming from DeSoto, Texas, what was your household like growing up?
It was suburban, I grew up in the suburbs. It was a fun experience for me because I was able to see the music scene that we had in Dallas, so it was very inspiring.
At what point did you realize this music thing was for real?
I realized it when I was in college and I was putting out my music. People were actually listening to it and asking for more and really tuning into my videos.
Who are some female figures that you looked up to?
Nicki Minaj for sure, she influences a lot of female artists. Missy Elliott, and I like Eve. I love Eve. Just their versatility, their creativity and their pen. It inspired me to be the artist that I am.
What’s your favorite Nicki Minaj song?
Ooo, out of all of them? That’s hard. “Did it on Em,” that’s my favorite.
Well, how does it feel to have the world doing the #BussItChallenge?
It feels crazy! I tell people all the time, “it still feels unreal.” You know, it blew up on TikTok. It’s something I didn’t expect, so when it happened, it was out of nowhere. Someone else started it, her name was Erica, too. Shout out to her.
Literally the world did this challenge. Were you ready for it?
Yeah, I was ready for it, but it came unexpectedly. The world is finally opening their eyes to see who I am.
The challenge has empowered so many Black women. Talk about the impact it has.
Being a part of the industry as a woman in general, it’s a respect thing I feel like because at one point, it was nothing but males. It’s male-dominated. With it being a lot of women now, it’s important to shine that light on women. Let it be known that women can do it too, or do whatever.
What does Black Girl Magic mean to you?
To me, it means we have power no matter what. We stand together, we’re all one. We all work together. We’re all in the same industry. Overall, it means endless power that we all have.
Why are women powerful?
Women are powerful because women are capable of a lot, especially things that men aren’t capable of.
The music video for “Buss It” has over 28 million views right now. How does it feel to see those numbers?
Crazy. At one point, I couldn’t believe how fast it was going. I’ve never seen it move like that. For it to move like that, it’s new for me, but it’s exciting to see.
What was your creative vision with the video shoot?
Actually, I didn’t even direct it. We had a director for that. But, I did the “Buss It” theme, the boxing ring. It was different, I’d never seen that before. We went with what the director wanted to do.
What was the best memory from that shoot?
It was a lot going on that day. It was my first official music video. I’d done music videos before, but that was my first official video with a label. It was really big for me, and it was my first single.
Travis Scott got on the remix, too. How did that happen?
That was crazy too. It was unexpected, it was actually a surprise. I didn’t know about it, I didn’t reach out to him. It was presented to me. He said he decided to do that because he’s been seeing me do my thing for a minute, and he really respects what I have going on.
He’s next door in Houston. What’d that mean for Texas?
It’s big for Texas — us both being from Texas. It’s a really big thing, especially for me coming out of Dallas and me being a new artist. Me working with him this early is just great.
How long have you been making music?
This will be my fourth year in the summertime. [The grind has] been long, but fun.
How did it feel to find your way over with Carl and 1501 Entertainment?
That was exciting too, that’s my first label that I signed with. With it being my first label, it’s brand new for me, but it was something I was ready to do. It’s been as fun as I thought it would be, it’s been everything I’ve expected. I’ve been super busy, I’m always working. I’m always doing something. As long as I’m working, I’m good.
What were you doing before the music?
Before the music, I was going to school for nursing. I left, I went to do music, so I didn’t even finish out the nursing thing.
How does your family feel?
They’re excited for me, but they’ve always been excited. They’ve always been behind me and supporting me. They’ve always been with me through it.
What inspired the “Knot Money” freestyle?
I dropped that the other day. I like to keep content going, I like to keep everything consistent and up-to-date. I dropped freestyles here and there. That’s something I decided to do on the Mike Jones “Back Then” beat.
Talk about the new #TootThatChallenge.
We’re getting ready to push “Toot That.” It’s going to be the next single. We’re trying to get it in the works and in the faces of people before we start promoting.
What are three things you need in the studio?
Hennessy, hookah, and some type of juice: Pink lemonade.
What are your thoughts on female rappers today?
I love to see that there’s a lot of us now. A lot of us deserve that shine now. I’m loving to see everybody coming together and collabing, working together as female artists. So, I love the scene.
Where do you see the future of female rap?
I see it being a lot more of us because we are inspiring to a lot of female artists coming up. Like me, I have inspirations. I feel like it’ll continue to grow and get bigger.
Favorite female empowerment songs?
Hmm, songs? To be honest, I don’t really know any empowering songs. But, I’ll say empowering women: I love Queen Latifah. I love Mary J. Blige. I love Oprah.
Goals for yourself at this point in your career?
I just want to be successful. I want to continue to grow. I want to continue to impress my fans with my music, and I want to continue to make money.
What are you most excited for in the new year?
Putting new music out, that’s exciting for me. Putting new projects out and seeing the feedback from the new music.