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May 16, 1969 |
Oakland, California, U.S.
|Too Short, Spice 1, E-40, The Dangerous Crew, Pooh-Man, MC Breed, MC Eiht, WC, B-Legit, CJ Mac, Snoop Dogg, NWA, Ice Cube, 2Pac, 8Ball, MC Ren, Dru Down, Ice-T, King T, Rappin' 4-Tay, Keak Da Sneak, Mac Mall, South Central Cartel, Celly Cel, Dr. Dre, K-Dee, Coolio, Mack 10|
As a child he took part in a band at school and from there learned to play a variety of instruments along the way. At school he only learned Classical, but at home he taught himself to play Funk related music like Parliament, Funkadelic and The Gap Band on his Casio keyboard. Interested in making music, he would create beats and record his own versions for fun.
Banks would later record tapes with his friend, Oakland rapper MC Ant, and sell them at their high school out the trunk of their cars. With the lyrics handled by MC Ant and the production by Ant Banks, buzz over the tapes eventually reached the streets, resulting in popularity throughout the city.
In 1987, Banks recorded the debut album by MC Ant titled The Great, which was later released in 1989 through Raw Dog Records. In 1989, he recorded the debut album Let It Be Known by East Bay rapper Spice 1, which was later released in 1991 through Triad Records. Along with the releases of Pooh-Man and Dangerous Dame, Banks managed to sell in the range of 100,000 to 300,000 units with all four albums, without a record label or promotion. This turned him into a prominent figure in the Bay Area hip-hop scene by the early '90s.
In 1996, Banks appeared on the Red Hot Organization's compilation CD, America Is Dying Slowly, alongside Biz Markie, Wu-Tang Clan, and Fat Joe, among many other prominent hip hop artists. The CD, meant to raise awareness of the AIDS epidemic among African American men, was heralded as "a masterpiece" by The Source magazine.
In 1999 Banks started a group T.W.D.Y. (acronym for "The Whole Damn Yay"). Banks himself, Rappin' 4-Tay and Captain Save'm were the original members. Their debut album Derty Werk was released in 1999 and contained the single "Players Holiday", featuring Too Short, Mac Mall, Otis & Shug. The single received a lot of radio play. Also, Ant Banks settled his long time beef with Pooh-Man when they appeared together on the track, "Ride Wit Me". In 2000, T.W.D.Y. released their second and final album Lead the Way; Ant Banks and Captain Save'm remained while Dolla Will replaced Rappin' 4-Tay.
He is also known as "The Big Badass" and released an album of the same name in 1994. His talent for producing "funky" bass lines are well known and have achieved cross-over appreciation in the techno niche. The album liner for Daft Punk's album Homework gives a note of appreciation to Ant Banks for inspiration.