Tag Archives: New Orleans

Alfred Banks On His Brother’s Legacy And That Time Spike Lee Called Him Dope

Alfred Banks

Alfred Banks is holed up inside his New Orleans home, attempting to find some respite from the non-stop Mardi Gras activities taking place outside. “This Mardi Gras is the first one where I’m like a rapper, like where people have been constantly hitting me up for appearances and shows,” Banks says. While his neighbors are partying outside, he’s been busy finalizing the release of his new project, The Beautiful. It’s an album the 25-year-old artist says “means so much to me on a personal level”—mostly because it relays the emotional aftermath of the suicide of his brother, Orlandas Banks, who sadly lost his struggle with schizophrenia.

Naturally, the 12-track project can be a heavy listen. After leaving Orlandas’s funeral on the opening track, Banks steps into the character of a person who hears voices in his own head. But the rapper insists that The Beautiful shouldn’t be seen as a depressing or disturbing listen, but rather his nuanced take on a deep issue. Smartly, his serious lyrics are balanced by the always-nuanced production of Banks’ long-time creative partner, CZA, who comes through with the sort of “big and epic” beats that the rapper says “sound like they should be in an amphitheater somewhere.”

Speaking from his crib in New Orleans, Banks broke down the way he tackled the schizophrenia concept that underscores The Beautiful, the time his brother almost signed to Master P’s No Limit Records, and his long-standing relationship with sneakers.

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Lost Bayou Ramblers Release 1999 Live Recording to Benefit Flood Victims

Lost Bayou Ramblers
Lost Bayou Ramblers.

It’s for good reason that the music of the Lost Bayou Ramblers is synonymous with Louisiana. Founding brothers Louis and Andre Michot grew up there, and their family has roots in the state stretching several generations back. They were tapped to provide music for the acclaimed film Beasts of the Southern Wild, which was set in Louisiana, and no matter how progressive or experimental their music becomes, its grounding in traditional Cajun music is always clearly detectable. So when the southern part of the state was beset by flooding earlier this month, rendering houses uninhabitable and leaving people without places to sleep or food to eat, the first question on the group’s mind was, naturally, “How can we help?”

As is often the case with Lost Bayou Ramblers, the answer was found in music. The group has released a live recording of their very first show in 1999, the full proceeds from which will go to benefit those impacted by the flooding. We talked with founder, vocalist and fiddle player Louis Michot about the origins of the project.

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