Everyone in this world is ruled by two emotions -- fear and love. They can keep you in check or drive you insane. But without them, you wouldn't even know you're alive.
Artists and musicians are no different, though it seems songwriters are more inclined to pen anthems in love's honor than dig into the dark and nasty shit, mostly because it sells better.
Of course, Robb Bank$ isn't too concerned with making people feel comfortable. For his new mixtape, T/H/A City, the rapper turned his attention to all that's menacing and horrible.
Last night, we here at Crossfade talked with Bank$ about love and fear and other shit at his private listening party for this latest tape.
"The last project, it was more everything was happy," Robb says of his debut mixtape Calendars, which uses a sample drop from the U.S. version of MTV's Skins, with the character Cadie saying, "I think I might be happy."
"That's how it was," he adds, "and I was inspired to do all that shit by watching a show."
Again, Bank$ has turned to visual media for sonic inspiration, but T/H/A City comes from a much more sinister place.
"My real inspiration was from a lot of horror movies," he says. "I was watching that V/H/S, V/H/S 2. I watched that fucking Human Centipede shit. I didn't know what it was, they just put it on and I was like, 'What the fuck is this? Goddamn.'"
We had the chance to hear some of the tracks from the new release (available today at 4 p.m. for free download via livemixtapes.com) and the mind-bending, lo-fi horror has definitely made its mark.
The beats are gritty and mean, heavy with cavernous bass lines and topped off with tinny textures like creaks and bumps in the night. It's trap monster music, for sure. But there are still tracks for the ladies and some definite grooves.
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The project, originally meant to be a collaboration between Bank$ and his close friend SpaceGhostPurrp, evolved over the course of a year into a 15-track solo effort. Most of the project was co-produced with Nuri, another local on his serious come-up. The dudes pushed themselves to the last minute, completely reworking some songs over the final few weeks, and putting the finishing touches on the mixtape as late as this week.
"We," Nuri explains, "just worked really hard on making sure we had the right samples. [Robb] was always challenging me, making sure I was always doing everything to the best of my abilities.
"Sometimes he'll sit there with me while I'm doing it, and sometimes he'll leave the room for 45 minutes and be like, 'Do some shit.' He'll come back and just be like, 'Oh, that's exactly what I needed,' or sometimes he's like, "Ah, man, try again.'"
T/H/A City Official Tracklist
1. Flex (City)
2. KDia ft. Phlo Finister (CT)
3. On Me (Baton Rouge)
4. All The Way Live (Ft. Lauderdale)
5. Counted (LA)
6. Mouth ft. B.Way (Houston)
7. New York (NYC)
8. Changed ft. Lofty305 (Miami)
9. Scrub The Ground (Interlewd)
10. Round and Round) (Memphis)
11. Broward County Legend (Coral Springs)
12. Dat Sound (Atlanta)
13. Decoration ft. Dooney Montana (Pompano)
14. Indistinct (DC)
15. Heartbreaker (London)
But the hard work and weeks cooped up in the studio, watching horrifying movies and churning out line after line, finally pays off with today's official release.
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Bank$ says there's a lot on the album he's proud of, in particular, he loves the final track "Heartbreakers." He hopes people enjoy T/H/A City, but in the end, he did it for himself.
"Everybody is different. Everybody likes certain things," Bank$ points out. "A lot of people aren't going to like the mixtape. Me and Nuri, we're talking about how no one's going to understand the shit at first. People aren't going to get it."
Follow Kat Bein on Twitter @KatSaysKill.