Bankroll Fresh, Forever: These Never-Before-Seen Photos Remember the Late Rapper

Photographer Cam Kirk shares a photo essay of the late rapper Bankroll Fresh in support of his new public art project in Atlanta, Day 4.

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May 11 2016, 2:16pm


Bankroll Fresh / Photo by Cam Kirk

In the revolving door of the hip-hop hit factory that is Atlanta, artists catch fire and can be forgotten just as quickly. In the case of Bankroll Fresh, who was verging on his own elusive star moment when he was murdered two months ago, his friends are making sure his name stays alive. Along with help from production powerhouses Metro Boomin’, Southside, and Sonny Digital, Atlanta’s de facto hip-hop documentarian Cam Kirk has devoted the first piece of his newest project to memorializing his late peer. The “exhibit” is called Day 4 and it’s on display in an unlikely place: a billboard on a main thoroughfare in Atlanta. “It’s not promoting anything, at least not an event or a product,” says Kirk. “It’s just a promotion of the work and of the artist.” The billboard is just a few minutes drive from the headquarters of Street Execs, Bankroll’s label and the studio where he was killed.


Photo courtesy of Cam Kirk

“When I found out he passed, I was on tour with Lil Wayne and Rae Sremmurd,” says Kirk. “We talked to Bankroll earlier that day. We were on the tour bus, and Jimmy from Rae Sremmurd called him and was setting up their SXSW plans. Literally, earlier that day, a few hours before he died. But I was on the road and I wasn’t able to be here by his family’s side. So when I came home, I thought it was important to pay my respects to him the best way I knew how.”

The Day 4 project won’t stop with Bankroll. It’s intended as an ongoing public art exhibition, showing off the city’s best hip-hop talent in a medium that’s normally reserved for advertisements targeted at your grandma. In addition to the exhibit, Cam is paying his respects by sharing a photo essay below of never before seen images of Bankroll, as well as the personal stories behind them. Cam has launched a Kickstarter to continue funding the billboard and subsequent billboards in the Day 4 project, which you can contribute to right here to help keep Bankroll’s memory alive.

“These were actually photos of our first photoshoot together. He had called me earlier in the day and asked if I could come hang with him and take some new photos for him. He took me Empire's house (the guy famous for leaking all the Lil Wayne mixtapes and songs) and we staged a few photos in the recording booth and outside. Bankroll is known for recording pretty much any and everywhere he is at and this was one of the many spots he recorded at in Atlanta. These photos were taken October 2014.” – Cam Kirk

“These were taken during A3C last October at a Street Execs Showcase. He absolutely killed the performance and even made it difficult for 2 Chainz to follow him up.” – Cam Kirk

“This was at Patchwerk studios in Atlanta, a famous studio in Atlanta where some of Atlanta's biggest records were made. We were up there for an event at the studio. The second photo is with producer of the hit single "Hot Boy," Cassius Jay, who was taken that same day in June of last year.” — Cam Kirk

“Bankroll was so much more than just an upcoming rapper. He was a CEO of his own label and movement as well. In the group shot is his artist Streetmoney Boochie, who is on the song “Walked In” with him and Strap of Travis Porter. Bankroll was really tight with Travis Porter. This along with the performance shot were taken at Fools Gold Day Off in Atlanta in September of 2015”— Cam Kirk

“This photo with Metro Boomin’ was taken backstage at the Family Matters Tour in Atlanta with Chance the Rapper in October of 2015. He performed some of his hit songs that night as a special guest. This was actually the last time we all were together in the same room.” — Cam Kirk

Donate to the Day 4 Kickstarter here.

Cam Kirk is a photographer based in Atlanta. Follow him on Instagram.

Zach Goldbaum is the host of Noisey on VICELAND. Follow him on Twitter.