On Friday evening, March 4, Street Money general Bankroll Fresh was gunned down in front of the Street Execs studio in Atlanta. I was on my way home from Future’s ‘Purple Reign’ tour when it happened, and I was crawling into bed when I heard the news. Fresh was the only person hit after 50-plus rounds were let off and he succumbed to his injuries on the way to the hospital. No one knows motive yet, but the streets are saying it’s rooted in jealousy and hate. And crabs not wanting to see Bankroll win.
It’s difficult to even write this.
About two years ago, I sat in Nicky’s Seafood, determined to do some research in preparation for SXSW that year and I ran into ‘Show Me How To Do It,’ Bankroll’s first offering with Rich Homie Quan. I loved the darkness of it, the thumping bassline with a minimalist feel. And Bankroll’s run-on flow, it was so dope. Different. I can’t even remember who I hit to set up this talk, maybe DJ Black Bill Gates, but I got on it immediately and within days I found Fresh in Mechanicsville at his grandmother’s house.
The weather was breaking and it was one of the first beautiful days we would see in Atlanta that year. I remember thinking, ‘The sky is so blue out here today.’ I pulled up to his granny’s home slowly as he stood in the driveway, gazing at the car, trying to figure out if I was friend or foe. I stepped out and peered back at him. “Bankroll?” He grinned and nodded. Friend.
Fresh led the way to the back porch and explained, ‘This my granny house. Kinda grew up over here. Really I grew up all over the city though.’ I had decided that this first interview would be good for the Mad Fresh 5 package for Day 1 Radio, where I introduce new artists. And Bankroll Fresh seemed a little nervous. We kicked off the interview and I asked two questions before he asked if we could start over. Ha! He wanted to get it right.
From that day forward, every time we saw each other, we would take the time to catch up a little. I’d ask about work or ask if he saw my youngest dancing to his track on IG. He’d scream “Mad Fresh!” in a room full of behind-the-scenes cats, puzzled at his fervor in shouting me out. Or we’d take selfies. Or he’d pull me to the side to thank me for coming to his shoot/interviewing him/always supporting. He would always thank me. But really it was nothing. When I say I believe in someone, I truly do. This entire brand is based on wanting to be first, yes, but also because I like seeing the grind. I like knowing that the people I cosign really want to succeed. And Fresh was one of them.
I remember once, one of my only female mentors in the city told me that she suggested he build a relationship with me and he replied, “Nadine? Oh, I been knowing her. That’s my homie. She came to my granny house to interview me!” My homie. My guy. His young kids. His Granny and his ma. This is the illest thing I’ve had to write on here. But I’m so proud of you Fresh. You had so much more in you, I saw it. You saw it. And you did tremendous things in the time you had. Bankroll Fresh, you win.