Civil Scope: Ashlee Bankz
by Shawn Grant
For those unfamiliar with you, how did you get your name?
Ashlee Bankz: Ashlee, that’s my name, I was born with that. Bankz I get from my uncle that passed away. They used to say he looked like Lloyd Banks so I just took it over.
How did where you come from influence your career and this project?
Ashlee Bankz: My career, honestly, my grandma and granddaddy, they showed what it’s like to have it and not have it and it made me want to work harder, work my ass off to top where they at and that’s hard to top. That lifestyle encouraged this project.
Your family showed you a way, when did you start taking music seriously for yourself?
Ashlee Bankz: After my uncle died, I played basketball til I was 12, but when he passed I was like I’m going to do music. I didn’t become Ashlee Bankz seriously til about two to three years ago. I was looking at it like, I’m kind of dope, I need to go crazy.
Are there any industry influences that spark your career?
Ashlee Bankz: Timbaland, Missy [Elliot], Aaliyah, Tupac. I actually met Timbaland, know Timbaland, he definitely shifted me musically. If you been following me since day 1 you going to hear this project and be like damn, she learned something.
Working in the industry as a woman do you feel there is a strong sense of competitive nature or is there some love that is shown?
Ashlee Bankz: To be honest with you I do get a lot of love and it’s been that way since I was 16 doing this. But, for me it’s interesting because I’ve helped so many Chicago artists who are booming now but you never see them reach back. I always show love but I learned everybody not cut like you. People think it’s not enough money to go around for everybody, if you rap go crazy. Fellas doing it so we can do it to. But, at the end of the day females going to be females.
Is there a personal story attached to Leave a Message?
Ashlee Bankz: You know what; every song is a different situation. I can tell you its just different people who have influenced different songs. But it is about one person specifically who hurt my feelings and I never get my feelings hurt. To that one person it’s like, just Leave a Message. That’s how the tape came about. It’s definitely real life experiences. It’s not super emotional to were you will cry, it’s a vibe. The title is the chapter of my life.