The hip-hop world received some disturbing news early Saturday (March 5) morning after Atlanta rapper Bankroll Fresh, born Trentavious White, 28, was murdered outside of Street Execs studio in Atlanta, GA.
Adding to the heartache of losing an intelligent, hard working Black man who was slayed before reaching his full potential is the fact that a mother lost a son. And equally important, Bankroll’s daughter and son–Madison and Zamon White — four and three-years-old, respectively, lost a father. And, lastly the culture lost a promising rapper, and developing businessman.
After grinding out of Atlanta’s traps, Bankroll Fresh, with his ’98 Cash Money Records influenced swag, saw a major breakthrough with his 2014 mixtape Life of a Hotboy, which contained the 808-laden, Cassius Jay-produced “Hot Boy.” The same song that brought the Cash Money boys together for its official remix.
“That’s the thing. Everybody f**ked with Bankroll. The city, everybody. When Street Money moved, the city came out,” Scotty ATL tells VIBE about his fallen comrade. “I came up with him, we came up together. He Street Money and I’m Cool Club but we been down. I’m talking about sleeping on the floor together in the studio.”
The West Atlanta native, who was under 2 Chainz Street Execs management company (not to be confused with Bankroll’s Street Money Worldwide label), wasn’t exactly known for slaughtering mics with piercing wordplay, and out-of-the-ordinary content. But with that being the case, Street Money Fresh was just as powerful with his charisma and musical style. And at the end of the day, it’s all about how fans connect with the artist, and how much of an impact a rapper had on the ‘hood that raised him.
While I can’t speak for everyone, one of the reasons Bankroll’s murder hits home to me is because his gritty persona, and addictive persona reminded me of the hustlers from by block in Laurel, Mississippi. During my first semester in college, the trap huggers in my hood would slip $10-$20 into my hand. They encouraged me to keep a narrow focus on my goals while also encouraging a younger version of myself to keep my circle small. I was constantly reminded to get money and applaud others who get money but never compete with others — instead compete with myself. These were some of the same topics that Bankroll rapped about.
More than slipping greenbacks into my palms, these older guys taught me about loyalty, hustle, confidence and bouncing back from setbacks. Lessons that I still carry with me today. And although many of these very men from my hood are dead, in jail or addicted to the drugs they once used to move, their lessons and memories stayed with me through Bankroll Fresh’s music. That’s how much his music has impacted my life.
Yesterday (March 6), VIBE reached out to rapper Scotty ATL to discuss Bankroll’s impact on his family, friends and the city of Atlanta. As you’ll read in the interview, they were extremely close to the late rapper before his tragic demise.
VIBE: Man, I know this is hard, but if you listen to Bankroll’s music, he was always happy and just wanted money. It’s hard to fathom how one could murder someone like this…
Scotty ATL: Right… This is the hard. This is third death I’ve experienced in three weeks. My homeboy stabbed his momma in the face, my other homie committed suicide, and now this.
Damn bruh, how you holding up through all this?
Man, it’s hard, but you gotta’ keep working, and just keep moving forward.
You and Bankroll were making a mixtape. What inspired you two to get into the studio together?
Man, after this VIBE article came out, rappers to watch in 2016, we were just talking like: ‘Bruh, you on that sh** too, that’s crazy.’ We were talking and remembering where we come from and how far we’ve come. We didn’t know sh*t. We just kind of had to figure sh** out. And we were like, ‘Man, we should do a mixtape.’ And, that’s how that happened. It was after we saw that list on VIBE. Then, we said our next goal is to get the XXL Freshman cover.
Wow! We’re glad that we could inspire you two to make music. How many songs did you record?
We got twelve songs done — other than the mixing and mastering — they are done. I’ll end up dropping them eventually. I just have to figure out how I’m going to do this shit.
What I loved about Bankroll is that the dude reminded me of some cats that I used to look up to in my ‘hood. And if you pay attention, you’ll pick up game.
Hell yeah, no matter where he was at in the city, the city f***ed with him. And he was always happy, no matter what, he was happy and made you laugh.
Yeah, and his stories had some serious messages in them. You just really had to listen. And he was motivational. That’s what I got from his music.
You know what? We was talking one day, and I was telling him how n****s be calling me — lets just say that if I’m charging $2,500, and n***s calling me for prices under that. And he was like, ‘Bruh, don’t turn down no money. If they don’t come with what you asking for, find a way to win out the situation. Don’t turn down no money. Just find way to win until we come up.’ Treat this just like a trap.’ And for 2015 and 2016, bruh that’s all I was on. That’s the most important thing I’ve learned from him.
It’s a catch twenty-two. You want to make it out the hood but you still want to be close, so you can be a form of motivation and show cats that it’s possible to climb out the streets. But that’s dangerous.
That’s something that we struggle with. Even me. I deal with it. It’s like we ain’t just superstars yet. So, we still be out in Atlanta. And we ain’t got big time bodyguards. It’s just us. We ain’t made it yet. But to certain cats we have. It’s just something that we have to deal with.
Can his fans take anything lessons from this?
Yeah, we can take some good for this. Man, he lost his life too early, but that young n***a lived, man. He lived. He had fun while he was here.
Alright Scotty, our prayers are with you and Bankroll’s family. We’ll check in again soon.