In House With Kirko Bangz: Houston MC ‘Annoyed’ by Ugly Women, Sees ‘Role Model’ in Derrick Rose
Kirko Bangz adores women. Yet, it's the ugly ones that irk him. The Houston rhymer explains exactly why members of the attractively-challenged opposite sex irritate his existence, but he'll get to that in a minute. At the moment, he's shielding his eyes from bright office lights with the brim of his New York Giants fitted cap. Kirko, 22, had a late night out at a strip club shaking hands with music industry professionals and spending dollars. In his line of work, that's where both business and pleasure are conducted.
Since releasing his twangy lean-inspired track "Drank In My Cup" last year, Kirko has been busy telling his come-up story around the country. Subsequently, he's allowed fans, critics and DJs, among others, to match the song with the man who crafted lyrics celebrating the art of "hitting it and quitting it." After 31 weeks on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, the tattooed rhymer's work is paying off. Last week, he earned his first top 10 with the song.
As a former Prairie View A&M University student with hoop dreams, a drive to succeed has been at the core of every project he's put forth. He's got five mixtapes under his belt since 2009 -- three in the Procrastination Kills series, Progression and Progression 2: A Young Texas Playa -- and this year will finally see his debut LP on Warner Bros. Records come to fruition.
Read on as Kirko Bangz takes The BoomBox inside his head, where he reveals his pet peeve with ugly women, why he finds a role model in Chicago Bulls basketball player Derrick Rose, the stunt he pulled while sipping lean before a show and why representing Houston the right way has earned him respect from his community.
You were 15 when you realized you had a rapping talent. Describe that moment.
I ain't really notice it. I really just needed an outlet to talk about things, every day things that was going on in my life. I just chose to write about it, you know what I'm saying. Slowly but surely, I showed one of my partners what I was doing. You know, when you start doing stuff, I was kinda like embarrassed to tell people, "I think I could rap." And then they think it's weak or whatever, lame. After that, they used to have freestyle battles in my partner crib and for the whole week I knew they was gonna freestyle. I was telling myself, "I'm gonna rap, I'm gonna rap." Everybody was outside rapping and stuff, and I was in the house prepping myself to rap. Then I just went out there and just smashed. Ever since then people thought I could rap so I just stayed with it.
Who were your rap influences during that time?
During those times I was a big Lil Wayne fan. That's when Wayne was flaming. He was just killing everybody. Everything was consistent. He had the best verses on every song he was on. Before that I was just jammin' to Eminem. He had a struggle and he always talked about stuff he was going through. It was real-life stuff and there was truth behind pretty much everything he was talking about.
So when did you make the moves to have a rap career?
When I was young, like 15. I never thought it would turn into something. Right before I went to college, I was like, "I'm really gonna do this." Probably when I got to college is when people started taking notice of me.
See Photos of Kirko Bangz' In House Visit With The BoomBox
Nah, hell nah. I wouldn't do that s---. I wouldn't even tell nobody I was rapping or nothing like that. I just did freestyle videos. I didn't start performing until I actually started getting shows or people let me open up [for them], stuff like that. I would not go to no open mic. One time I did a talent show at school, I took my shirt off and then they closed the curtains on me. I don't even know why I did that. That's crazy 'cause the first time I did that that was the first time I sipped lean [a mixture of Promethazine with Codeine VC paired with a drink like Sprite]. It's crazy, now my song is "Drank in My Cup."
So that was the first time you ever drank lean?
Yeah. That was my first time ever. I was backstage and it was all my partners and it was a group song too. One of my partners, he wasn't even performing, he just had a cup. I was like, "What's that?" He's like, "It's drank." I was like, "Oh, s---. Gimme some." I drunk some of it and then after that I went onstage with my shirt off like, "What's up?"
Do you still drink it?
Not like every day.
Were you surprised at the momentum of "Drank In My Cup"?
Hell yeah. I remember when I first did it, everybody was like, "Man, this song is gonna change your life." I was like, "Yeah right, whatever." Tomorrow it ain't change. The next day it ain't change. The next week it ain't change but slowly and surely it did.
Why did you refer to yourself as a "playa" on your mixtape title, Progression 2: A Young Texas Playa?
H-town, back in the day, everybody was just on that playa lifestyle -- shining, jewels, coming out in cars and grills, stuff like that. I'm young, I'm from Texas, I ain't got no girlfriend. Young Texas playa. I really wanted to continue with the Progression series, so we just put them both together.
Is this the last mixtape in this series?
I'm gonna keep it going.
What's your debut album looking like right now?
I'm creating songs. I don't have a title or a release date yet. You know, whenever you do records, you say, "I could put this out tomorrow, I could put this on the mixtape or I'ma hold this 'cause it sounds like it could be on the album." Like different little cubby holes. So that's the process where we're in right now.
Watch Kirko Bangz' "Drank in My Cup" Video
Ugh, when they try to call other people ugly. I don't have no problem with ugly girls or nothing like that. I wont call 'em ugly or treat 'em differently and stuff. The ugliest people always try to talk about people. I was on Twitter and this girl was like, "Why are you always talking to ugly girls on Twitter?" Then I go on her [Twitter] page and I'm like, "Damn! What you talkin' 'bout?"
There's also a song on that mixtape called "Touch the Sky." I thought it was interesting because you used Shawn Lee's "Kiss the Sky" for that. Why did you use that song?
Actually the beat, that was brought to me by my homie already prepared. That's when I first started getting on or whatever. I did it like a year-and-a-half ago. He pushed for it to be on the mixtape. Every day I'd be like, "I don't want it on my mixtape. It don't sound like it fit on there." He pushed the issue and now it's one of the biggest songs on there. [When I first heard it], it was so rappy-rappy. Everything else was just real slow, the melodies. It played perfect.
You're a big basketball fan. Who are some of your favorite teams?
Chicago Bulls. They're gross. Derrick Rose is my favorite player. He's good. He's like 22, 23 years old and he doesn't say too much on the court, but he hold it down. He kill everybody. At a point in time, people was like that he couldn't be MVP. He's like, "Why can't I?" The year before last and all that s---, he was MVP. And he's got a lot of heart. He's a perfect role model. Don't say too much about what you're doing, just get the job done.
Tattoos, I see you have a lot. Can you tell me about a meaningful one?
Well, this one is my coolest one so far [on my left hand]. It's the old Houston Rockets logo. I just put Eastside on there 'cause I'm from the Eastside of Houston, Texas. And nobody got this tattoo in the world. They shouldn't have it [laughs]. I've got like 20-something tattoos.
Since your rise to fame, have you experienced people around you changing in a negative way?
They just think that I change so they just automatically start acting different. You ain't about to go the extra mile to be like, "Hey, I'm the same. I got the same shoes on." When more people start paying attention to you, then people get jealous. Or they want to pay attention to you now and ain't never did and they wanna act like they did back in the day.
What's one of the biggest changes you've made for yourself since you've released this music and profited off of it? For example, a new home or a new car?
I got all of that stuff. I'd say the biggest thing to me is -- I hate to keep talking about the girls -- the way the girls treat you [laughs]. On a more serious note, just how I get the love I get from my city. At first they were like, "Man, I don't know." Now it's like, "We love the way you represent H-town." That means a lot to me. People in my city look at what we doing to make sure we represent them the right way.