Bankroll Fresh, Atlanta's Rising Star Gone Too Soon

The 28-year-old rapper was one of his city's most promising talents, supported and beloved by hip-hop lumaries T.I., 2 Chainz, Metro Boomin, Gucci Mane and Zaytoven, among others.

Atlanta rapper Bankroll Fresh, born Trentavious White, was shot and killed this weekend in a studio in the northwest area of Atlanta. He was 28 years old. White’s murder comes at the height of his popularity as a rapper, which was hard-earned after years of struggling on the mixtape circuit: For nearly a decade, he was just a local hero in Atlanta.

His fast rhymes were propelled by a practiced swagger, gruff intonation and breathless energy. Often lumped into the extended ranks of trap rappers that blossomed in the wake of Gucci Mane and Waka Flocka Flame’s success at the turn of the last decade, Fresh was actually put on by Gucci prior to the release of Waka’s breakthrough 2010 album Flockaveli. In a Complex interview conducted this weekend, longtime Atlanta producer Zaytoven — who was close with Fresh and helped him link up with Gucci Mane — confirmed that he had been aware of Fresh since 2006.

Bankroll Fresh was well-connected in the Atlanta community, so his recent music featured all-star production talent from the likes of Metro Boomin and Zaytoven. He was also signed to fellow Atlantan 2 Chainz’s label, The Real University. While 2014’s “Hot Boy” was Bankroll’s first nationally scaled hit, the success of “Walked In” last year — primarily through teenager-made dance videos — increased his profile significantly.

His unusually polished November self-titled mixtape made a strong case, even above his numerous other solo and collaborative releases, that Fresh was approaching a status as the next great Atlanta artist. In a city whose hip-hop scene is veritably waning in terms of staggering new talent and original voices, Fresh’s confident voice and unbridled expressivity stood out. Read an article we published at Inverse in December, about the promise of Bankroll’s 2015 music.

Those who had musical relationships with Bankroll Fresh were quick to speak . The most emotional outpouring came from Metro Boomin, a close friend of Fresh’s:

they took my brother Fresh and I'm hurt right now. very hurt. hurt is the only thing that's been on my mind and heart since I was in magic last night. hurt was on my mind and heart when I woke up this morning. u always wanted to see niggas do good and be good. u used to tell us that once you good then we good and that you would do things the right way and not like the rest of these niggas. I'm hurt that this music shit has made everything so different and affected all of my personal relationships because of the high demand of work and the stress. but you were one of the few niggas that understood and still gave full support. I miss how fun and natural this shit used to be, before it felt like as much of a job as it does now. I miss recording songs at the house all night and u would just stay and sleep on the couch because you wanted to win as bad as I wanted to win. I hate how we did less and less as we both were getting more and more success. we were both so busy and never could even be in town at the same time anymore. But through that you were still genuinely happy for me as much as I was for you. I've worked so much over the years and neglected my personal life so much that I feel alone at times now. I shoulda been there and you shoulda been here. I didn't even wanna do all this Instagram typing shit but Love your family and friends and never take them for granted. Call them and stop texting and tweeting all the fucking time. I'm only 22 and still growing and learning life. Fuck all that sad shit tho man I love u bra and will always appreciate your love support from day1. #LONGLIVEFRESH

A photo posted by Leland Spielberg (@metroboomin) on

ATL legend T.I., who lost his own protege Doe B in 2013 in a shooting, also expressed his regret and anger:

Given that his future has been so crudely and tragically taken away, let’s revisit some of Bankroll’s best music. To end with a quote from Zaytoven:

“I want his music to live on, but at the same time be an example to all the up-and-coming young guys that might be in the streets or get hot-headed or get in confrontations or shoot or fight a lot. Remember Bankroll Fresh, because that’s a senseless death. It’s no reason you should go out and die over something that’s probably over nothing, and you had such a great talent and such a bright future. I definitely want him to be remembered in that sense.”

Here’s a Zaytoven-helmed 2013 Fresh track:

His breakthrough song:

His biggest viral hit:

Young trap n-gga, soon I’ma get a maid/I used to have roaches in my cereal, I couldn’t eat:

A few excellent songs from his mixtapes:

Media via BankrollFresh1/Facebook