Earlier this year, rapper Alfred Banks released the conceptual album The Beautiful, an opus inspired by his brother’s struggle with schizophrenia and his ensuing suicide. A vocal advocate for mental-health awareness, the New Orleans native used the album as an opportunity to foster conversation about mental illness in the hip-hop community and has teamed up with organizations such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) on various projects. This weekend, Alfred will take to the Le Plur stage at Voodoo Fest, performing on what is arguably the biggest hometown stage he’s touched in his budding career. However, his focus extends well beyond Friday’s affair.
“I’ve been trying to figure out what the new thing for 2018 is,” he tells OffBeat. “My 2017 album The Beautiful is doing well but it takes a lot of energy to put out an album. I still want to to create and I want to start being more consistent, so I’m putting out these E.P.s I’m doing one with E.F. Cuttin, who produced the whole thing. That will be a four-track joint. I’m also working with Malik Ninety Five on another project, which will be a new, more current sound for me. Another E.P. is going to be with [The Beautiful producer] CZA – I got a million beats from him.”
Still working on two to three more music videos in support of The Beautiful, Alfred has his immediate sights set on Voodoo Fest, during which he’ll perform some of his personal story. “For me, Voodoo is a bit of validation for the work that I’ve put in in the city of New Orleans and elsewhere. To be invited to rock such a stage with my homeboy E.F. Cuttin means the world, and I’m just honored to have that opportunity and make sure that, with all due respect, the audience doesn’t remember anyone else but me.” He takes to the stage during any performance under the assumption that nobody in the crowd has ever heard of him and uses that as fuel. “I treat every show like it’s my last and an opportunity to introduce myself to everyone that’s around me,” he says before adding that energy, lyricism and emotion are the qualities of his live performance that folks can expect to see.
“I’m ready to rock. I can’t wait for people to hear some of the cool things we have planned. I even have an incredible outfit that I put together about two months ago. Shout out to Keith Haring, he inspired the whole outfit. I want the crowd to be, like, ‘this dude is incredible, who is he?'”
You can find out who Alfred Banks is on Friday, October 27 at the Le Plur Stage from 12:45-1:15.
In case you missed it, OffBeat is giving away VIP tickets to Voodoo Fest. Enter here.