Fireman Band$ describes himself as “a fireball, mixed with love and passion.”
Literally. Beyond the explosive energy in his music, his physical appearance demands attention in any given situation.
Rocking a Balenciaga shirt, fire-themed pants, fire nail polish, fire face tats, and red dreads (also reminiscent of fire), the Brooklyn bred rapper arrives in Los Angeles eager to chase his dreams in the music industry.
The “Lose It” artist is also CEO of his own collective titled Green Light Gang, which hails the mantra: “everything is a go!” In order to achieve greatness, you have to go for it. The green light reminds you there are no boundaries in life. Fireman has recently been locked in the studio perfecting his craft, tapping in with standout producers such as 808 Mafia and Bankroll Got It.
AllHipHop caught up with Fireman Band$ shortly before the release of his new single “Lost It,” which fans can expect on his debut EP arriving this Spring.
AllHipHop: Being from Brooklyn, what were you seeing growing up?
Fireman Band$: A lot of culture. A lot of West Indian culture. A lot of violence, and music was my scapegoat.
AllHipHop: Who were your biggest influences growing up?
Fireman Band$: My biggest influences were Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, Eminem, Busta Rhymes, of course Tupac and Biggie Smalls. They all had their own thing I liked, whether it was character or ambition to keep going. I like Tupac’s attitude, that badass attitude. I embody all of them in one.
AllHipHop: What was Fireman like as a kid?
Fireman Band$: I was definitely bad as hell. [laughs] Not even the streets, I was more bad in school. My dad would literally whoop my ass every day. I was the goofball in class. I was that guy. I’d throw crumpled paper at the teacher. Send love letters to the girls in the class, I was that guy.
AllHipHop: At what point did you realize this music thing was forreal?
Fireman Band$: The music became real once I started doing it, I was 18. I was actually incarcerated at the time for some misdemeanor bulls##t. Basically I was hearing songs on the radio because they give you a walkman in jail. I’m like “this music is trash, I could do this.” I started writing music. It got really real when I did my first show in Brooklyn.
AllHipHop: What were you locked up for?
Fireman Band$: To be honest, I don’t even remember because that was not my first time in jail. [chuckles] I was 18, it was a crazy experience.
AllHipHop: What’d you learn behind bars?
Fireman Band$: I don’t think I learned a goddamn thing. I wound up going back to jail a few more times, but it gave me more hunger because I realized I had to get out of here and do something with my life. I went back to jail because I started trappin’ and started selling drugs. But I was selling drugs to afford my music career because I didn’t have money. I was not good with keeping a job.
AllHipHop: Why do they call your music “mosh pit rap”?
Fireman Band$: Because people just turn up and mosh pit every time my song plays. That’s really what it is. Honestly, I wouldn’t even call it mosh pit rap. It’s a mixture of things because I have all kinds of music. Once all my music starts coming out, people are really not going to be able to label me as one specific kind of person. I’m just going to be an artist, that’s really what I want to do.
AllHipHop: How’d you get your name?
Fireman Band$: Fireman, I was thinking of superheroes or evil villains. Superman, Spiderman. I’ve always dealt with having a fire name. My nickname growing up was Salsa Picante, which means hot sauce in Spanish. I was a basketball player and my idol who was playing basketball, his name is actually Hot Sauce. So I was the Spanish version of him. I kept a fire when it came using the superhero/villain name. I’m like “hmm, Fireman!” Then obviously the term ‘bands’ means money. Also, my last name’s Santana. My friends called me Bandtana. I just shortened it so it was Fireman Band$.
AllHipHop: What can we expect from your new single “Lose It”?
Fireman Band$: You can expect a lot of energy. A lot of fun. The music video’s dope, I shot it in the mountains. We went snowboarding. I never snowboarded before in my life. We went to the highest mountain possible. Because I skated before, I thought that this would be an easy task — but Lord knows it was not. I almost killed myself 5 different times.
There were professional snowboarders that said how they had life-threatening injuries at one point, I’m like “f##k.” Mind you, there’s no way to get down unless you skated down. It was all or nothing. I slid down the mountain most of it, but I got some good shots. The song is an amazing song and the video is really lit.
AllHipHop: What is it you want fans to get from your story?
Fireman Band$: Don’t stop. I came up with this team called Green Light Gang. A green light means go. Go for your dreams or goals. I’ve been in jail, I’ve been in situations where I wouldn’t be alive. Don’t let nothing stop you from doing what you want. Sometimes people’s opinions can make a person change their outlook on things, I just say f##k what everybody else thinks and just do you.
AllHipHop: What is it you want to do ultimately?
Fireman Band$: Ultimately, I want to definitely change the world with my music. Definitely want to give back to communities that are less fortunate. I want to buy my mom a house and a car, and buy my kids a house and cars. Get married and have children.
AllHipHop: How old are your children?
Fireman Band$: 5 and 6.
AllHipHop: What’s the best part of being a father?
Fireman Band$: The best part of being a dad is seeing my kids, they’re the younger version of me. I get to relive my childhood.
AllHipHop: When did you get your first face tat?
Fireman Band$: I believe I was 17. I’m 26. My first tat was actually the kiss. At that point, I was a real ladies man and thought it was real player-like to be like “oh yeah, the girls love kissing on me.” That was my attitude and I put a bunch of kisses all over me.
AllHipHop: What do your parents think of the tattoos?
Fireman Band$: My mom cursed me out a bunch of times. After the 10th tattoo, she was over it. She’s like “do what you want.”