Read the full interview on AllHipHop.com!
Elijah Banx is Mr. Banx, also the name of his most recent debut album. The 9-track project is spearheaded by lead single “She Just Wanna,” which is his first record to receive radio play thanks to DJ Hed at Real 92.3. Speaking of radio, Elijah is the artist signed to Big Boy, aka the “voice of Los Angeles,” who recently got his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Hailing from Long Beach, Elijah prides himself in his ability to create music in all kinds of genres, not just rap. Describing himself as a “humble, down-to-earth, dude from Long Beach,” Elijah reminds folks that he’s “Long Beach’s first pop artist.”
He states, “If you know the history of Long Beach’s music it’s all gangsta rap and hip-hop. I’m the first artist to come out with country and pop music, I take pride in that. I’m from the Westside of Long Beach, which there’s never been an artist from the Westside of Long Beach to blow up yet.”
At the end of the day, Elijah doesn’t care about the fame or numbers, he’s here to create good music and spread nothing but good vibes to his growing fanbase. Putting his city of Long Beach on the map, he takes after the model that Nipsey Hussle left behind, hoping to leave a lasting impact on all those who listen.
AllHipHop: What was a young Elijah like growing up on the Westside of Long Beach?
Elijah Banx: Ah man, I was a geek. I’m not even going to hold you. I was in the streets a little bit, but I still liked my geek s###. Marvel, Harry Potter, I used to like to read books. I was always playing some type of sport or ducked off listening to some type of music. I had my MP3 player, I had the iPad Nano shuffle. Music’s always been somewhere near.
AllHipHop: Who were your favorites? Obviously Long Beach, you have Snoop.
Elijah Banx: Yeah, that’s definitely in my Top 5. Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Drake. I like J Cole. I like Kendrick. I’m a real Hip Hop head, even though I do the singing pop music. I grew up with real Hip Hop.
AllHipHop: Where did you get this other singing side from? The pop and country…
Elijah Banx: Just having a diverse ear. I always liked listening to other music. It’s crazy. One day, I was sitting here talking to Louie The XIII. Shout out to Louie. Me and him had an argument because he said “you know, you actually sing better than you rap.” I tried this melody on a song, he said “yeah, that could work.” I told him “bro I’m a rapper. I don’t know what you’re talking about, but I’m a rapper.” 9 months past by and I rebrand my name to Elijah Banx and droppin my first single singing record as Elijah Banx and that record makes it onto 92.3.
AllHipHop: Wow! What song was that?
Elijah Banx: “She Just Wanna” When that happened, I realized I was doing it wrong the whole time. I was rapping, I was going by another name. Soon as I changed both of those elements…
AllHipHop: What was your name?
Elijah Banx: E-Nasty. My whole city called me that too! I started this loose party crew in high school and we got big.
AllHipHop: How’d it feel to get played on the radio? Was that when Big Boy was there?
Elijah Banx: Yes, but Big didn’t break my record. DJ Hed and Chuck Dizzle broke my record. Shout out to them. It was in rotation all week so it felt unreal, but I didn’t get to really hear it. Every time, it was sent to me. I never got to hear it. When it premiered, I was at Coachella. I had to perform at Diddy’s little afterparty. And all week it was people sending me the record, it was never me hearing it. I didn’t get to hear myself on the record until “Woman Crush Wednesday.”
AllHipHop: Damn, how was that?
Elijah Banx: Dope! I low key got tired of hearing it. Every state we went to, they were playing it on the radio. I was interviewing, performing it. Damn, I wonder how these people who gotta perform these songs 100 times within 30 days are feeling.
AllHipHop: How did you and Big Boy form that bond?
Elijah Banx: We met through a mutual party. He had signed this artist from Long Beach. He was my partner at the time. Everywhere he went, I went. I was helping out. I was learning the ropes in this music thing. We’d do records together. And then one day BigBoy heard it and asked “who is this?” He said “oh that’s E-Nasty.” Big was like “the ngga that don’t talk? The ngga that don’t even be saying much.” He said “yeah.” And the rest fell in place.
AllHipHop: Were you not saying much? [Laughs]
Elijah Banx: Yeah I’m very bashful. I’m a sponge, I be soaking up all the… Some people come in the room and they want to be loud, that’s not my goal. It really shocked him because I didn’t really talk much, but he liked my voice. We sat down, he told me he liked my voice and everything. We built from there.
AllHipHop: You’re the first artist signed to him, right?
Elijah Banx: No, There was another artist from Long Beach who was the first artist signed to him. I’m his third artist, but one of his only artists left. It’s just me and him right now, we’re running through s###.
AllHipHop: What’s the greatest piece of advice he’s given to you?
Elijah Banx: Be on time to things. No matter how big or small the room is, no matter what element it is — it could be the club, the bar — if they have a DJ, you walk up to the DJ and shake their hand. You don’t go up and offer them your song, no. You go up, shake their hand, you introduce yourself and let them know you appreciate what they do. And keep it moving. DJs really remember stuff like that. Because most artists come up like “hey bro, I got a song.” I really go, get their Instagram: “alright bro we’ll connect. Because if we’re on Instagram, you’ll see what I’m doing. If you like it, you like it. That helped me out a lot because it helped me get my record played in a lot of different places.
AllHipHop: How does it feel seeing him get his Hollywood star?
Elijah Banx: You ever heard the saying, “if one wins we all win”? That’s how it felt, because I felt like I got a star. Because that’s really my mentor, that’s really my boss. He’s one of the selected few. Not everyone gets a star, they just gave Snoop a star and you know Snoop’s a star. People that’s not of the white culture, they wait to give us ours. Every time someone like us who comes from the same place gets one, we’ve got to celebrate. No hatred, no nothing.
AllHipHop: How are you feeling with your debut album Mr. Banx out now?
Elijah Banx: I’m feeling good. I’m feeling tired. I spent two weeks in Atlanta, I spent a week in Dallas. Spent a few days in Houston. New York, Miami, it just feels good to be in LA. We’re doing all press right now. We still got Arizona and a lot of other states to go to. I’ve done radio interviews: shout out to 94.5, shoutout to 107.3 Houston. We did a couple radio interviews, podcasts, performances, hostings. Just trying to show our faces, shake some hands and take some pictures.
AllHipHop: Why’d you name it Mr. Banx?
Elijah Banx: Because I am Mr. Banx, this is my first album. You only get one time to have a debut album. It’s supposed to mean something and have something to do with who you are. Some people do for example: “Elijah Banx presents Elijah Banx the album.” Nah. They call me Mr. Banx on some smooth 007, smooth suave type s###, so that’s why I called it that.
AllHipHop: How long have you been grinding for?
Elijah Banx: On a serious note, I’ve been grinding since 2015. Grinding, really taking this music seriously. I didn’t think about making an album until 2018. Okay we’re recording all this music, putting out these songs, but nobody has an actual project to attach your name to. That’s when I got with my management in 2018, Lamont Vintage with Vintage Society Entertainment. We said “man, we gotta start working on it.” I was subconsciously working on it. It wasn’t like I was going to the studio being like “this is for the album, this is for the album.” I was just going in recording. At the end, we said “okay, this makes sense”, New sound with, a new vibe to give to the fans.
AllHipHop: What songs mean the most to you and why?
Elijah Banx: “Woman Crush Wednesday,” that’s the song that took me the furthest. It’s the song that everybody knows me for. “Runaway” is my absolute favorite on the album. It’s about my last relationship and every word on there is true.
AllHipHop: How does she feel about it?
Elijah Banx: She hates the song. She hates it, but that’s because she feels like I put her hurt out there for everybody. She doesn’t understand how special that is because so many people relate to it. That’s my favorite song, she doesn’t really like it but one day she will like it. And “Get High,” because I love to get high.
AllHipHop: What or who inspired “Woman Crush Wednesdays”?
Elijah Banx: All the fine ass women on Instagram who I be seeing on my timeline. I’m talking about every day: scroll, swipe, like. It’s too many of them. It’s too many to even pinpoint where it came from. Shoutout to Rihanna though, because you’re my true Woman Crush Wednesday.
AllHipHop: What is it that you want fans to get from your story?
Elijah Banx: I want people to get from my story that no matter how you perceive these people, we all go through the same trials and tribulations. We all fall in love, we all get our heart broken. Most of us have come from nothing. A lot of us like to vibe, get high, and let the time pass. Life is about having fun. There’s artists like Kendrick and J. Cole, deep people who make you really think, that’s not really what I want to do with people right now in my journey. I want to be easy to listen to, and free to enjoy yourself when I’m on.
AllHipHop: How was it performing in Atlanta?
Elijah Banx: Oh it’s a vibe every time, shoutout to Atlanta. They show so much love, it’s ridiculous. That’s really my second home.
AllHipHop: How was the festival you did?
Elijah Banx: Oh it was dope. It was an R&B festival right? They had all these big R&B names, everybody had bands. It was real soulful and everything. I looked at my posts and said “I feel like I’m about to f### up the vibe right now,” but in a good way.
AllHipHop: Some of your records are R&B though?
Elijah Banx: They are, but I’m talking about they were easy on a Sunday morning. When I got on the stage, first thing I said was “Man I go by the name Elijah Banx, I’m from LA. I just want to bring LA to Atlanta real quick.” They said “okay.” I said “I know we’ve been taking it easy like a Sunday morning, but I’ma take y’all to the club on a Saturday night. Let’s go!” I changed the vibe up.
AllHipHop: What’s your favorite song to perform?
Elijah Banx: “Woman Crush Wednesday,” because it’s so flawless every time I do it. To the dance moves.
AllHipHop: You’ve got dance moves too?
Elijah Banx: A little. [laughs] Chris, I’m coming for you!
AllHipHop: How was it locking in with Jazze Pha?
Elijah Banx: Yooo! It’s crazy, I haven’t even got to talk about it because it just happened. That was an experience, humble dude. Shoutout to one of my publicists, Molly. So literally I went to sleep in the car real quick while everyone finished up in the restaurant. They woke me up like “wake up!” I said “where we at?” They said “You’re at Jazze Pha’s studio, you’re about to record with him.” I said “n*gga, we are not at Jazze Pha studio!”
Then Jazze Pha pops out: “oh boy, what’s the deal?” Oh f###, we’re really about to record… okay let’s go. He welcomed me. I ran into some legends, they’re a little mean sometimes. This dude, I texted him like “bruh I can’t wait to come back and record with you.” He responded and said “the music is always good when the vibe is right, when the energy is good within people.” Shout out to him.
AllHipHop: What were the convos with Nipsey like?
Elijah Banx: Inspiring for sure because you know where Nipsey comes from. You know what he’s about. That’s fly Crippin’ at its finest. That’s who I look up to when it comes to how to carry yourself as a man, as an artist from out here from Los Angeles as a man.
AllHipHop: Are you doing anything for your community?
Elijah Banx: Yeah, it’s crazy. Facebook just reminded me today, 4 years ago Big Boy had this restaurant. I think he turned it into multiple taco trucks, he made it mobile. We were doing this fundraiser, we got all this water and all this food. Every year, me and Lamont or me and my team either do a toy donation in December, we definitely do the Thanksgiving Turkey Drives with Big. I’ve performed for a lot of elementary schools during the summer, summer programs, etc. Once we get the bread up, it’s a lot more I want to do for the city for sure. Especially with me being from Long Beach, we going to start in Long Beach but it’s LA all day. We going to spread it across the map.
AllHipHop: You got anything upcoming in Long Beach?
Elijah Banx: We working on a couple of things. I’m doing a ”Welcome Mr Banx” show soon since I haven’t performed in Long Beach since 2018.
AllHipHop: Any goals for yourself at this point in your career?
Elijah Banx: One of my goals right now is making sure my next project sounds better than my last. I’m racing myself now. Also, get the Math project done, that’s one of my goals. Math project is an album that’s going to have all features, because it stands for “Me And The Homies.” I’ve got to start working on that. I was selfish with my album, I didn’t do any features. Now it’s time to start reaching out to all the homies. I’ve got records with Kalan.FrFr, Jag, Garren and more Big names that’s on the way I can’t say much about right now but It’s time to share that with the world.
AllHipHop: How do you view West Coast hip-hop currently? There are hella people riding the wave.
Elijah Banx: Shout out to BLXST, I’ve known BLXST since 2012. Me and him were on the same label: Turn It Up Music. Little independent label, TIU music. I had texted him when No Love Lost came out. I said “thank you bro.” He said “for what?” I said “for opening the door for n*ggas like me.” Because at times LA caters more towards the real street rap. But to know people are willing to hear turn up beats where you’re still talking about relationships, love, and chill s###. I have to admit BLXST opened that door.
AllHipHop: Anything else you want to let the people know?
Elijah Banx: I want to let them know that we working, and I finally got my interview with Shirley Ju. Be on the lookout for Elijah Banx because we’re running through s### now. New music coming soon, new videos, everything on social media at Elijah Banx.