A Year of Lil Wayne: Long Live Bankroll Fresh, Honorary Hot Boy
On the one-year anniversary of the Atlanta rapper's death, Hot Boy Turk reflects on recording the remix to Bankroll's "Hot Boy."
Day 165: "Hot Boy (Remix)" feat. Turk, Lil Wayne, and Juvenile – Bankroll Fresh, single, 2015
Today marks one year since Atlanta rapper Bankroll Fresh was shot dead in the parking lot of the city's Street Execs studio, where he was recording. The rap world is still processing the loss of Bankroll, who was one of the most promising Atlanta musical talents and, by all accounts, an incredibly nice, genuine guy. For more on Bankroll's legacy, I'd recommend checking out photographer Cam Kirk's behind-the-scenes explanations of his photos with the late rapper, reading this essay Noisey published last year, and watching the episode of Noisey Atlanta from 2014 in which we traveled to his neighborhood:
But you can also listen to the music. Bankroll Fresh's biggest song was called "Hot Boy," and it was a tribute to the original New Orleans group, of which, of course, Lil Wayne was a member. So it was fitting that, as the song continued to grow as an Atlanta classic, Bankroll was able to round up three-fourths of the Hot Boys for the remix, released in the summer of 2015 (B.G. was and remains incarcerated). I recently had the opportunity to speak to Turk about the remix, after he pointed to its significance in keeping the Hot Boys legacy alive.
"Me and Bankroll used to talk all the time," he told me. "Like that was like a little bro to me. Man, it was just was like… 'this is what we about to do, make this happen.' I did my verse, Juvie did his verse, Wayne did his verse, it came together. Before we could shoot the video, Bankroll was called home, but the song is still a classic, man, because it kind of made the younger generation back aware, even if they forgot, of who the Hot Boys was."
The track that surfaced was significant; not only is it one of the few modern tracks that brings the Hot Boys together, but it also does the legacy proud. "He brought that Hot Boys shit back," Turk said of Bankroll, specifically referring to his talent, "you know, like, even when he'd rap." Everyone sounds invigorated by the track and its themes, but perhaps no one embraces it more than Wayne. Over the course of his verse, he finds time to reflect back on who he was at 14, shed tears of joy for where his career took him, and then offer up some words about each of the four Hot Boys themselves. The beginning of his verse is particularly evocative. He raps:
Come through looking like the old me
White T-shirt and Girbaud jeans
Smoking OG, I'm a OG
Sippin' codeine I'm a whole fiend
Been a Hot Boy since 14
Gotta get my money up by all means
Used to sell rock by the Walgreen's
I was 14 having orgies
And then at the end of his verse, singing and riffing on Bankroll's hook, he reflects on each member of the group. Juvie? "That's still my big brother, always told me I was the best in music." Lil Weezy himself: "I'm still the best rapper, I ain't hungry nigga I'm greedy." Then it's, "Free B.Gizzle / that's still my big brother / been gettin' locked up since we was little, damn." And finally, there's "Young Turk: that's been my bro since day one, like January the first."
All of it is delivered in Wayne's signature modern sing-song, making it a great fusion of the original track's hook, the Hot Boys legacy, and the story of where the Hot Boys went (onto immense stardom, in the case of Wayne). As a result, there may be no better reflection on the group's legacy in all of music. We say RIP Bankroll for many reasons, but among them has to be his role as music historian and revivalist in making this remix happen. Long live the name Bankroll Fresh.
Photo: Screenshot of the "Hot Boy" video via YouTube
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