You only get one shot at a first impression, and Baltimore rapper Tate Kobang didn’t miss his last year. “Bank Rolls (Remix)” never made it’s way to radio, and still ended up being one of the catchiest tracks of 2015, racking up 1.9 million views on YouTube for the video, shot on the back streets of Tate’s hometown. The wobbly bass thump, a nod to the 2000 regional hit “Bank Rolls” by Tim Trees and legendary B-More club producer Rod Lee, and Tate’s hyper-local references are staunchly Baltimore, but his easy, melodic flow and light touch showed a 23 year-old artist unburdened by his city’s dearth of nationally successful rappers. By signing him to their label 300 Entertainment, the reunited ex-Def Jam team of Lyon Cohen and Baltimore-native Kevin Liles seem convinced that Tate will be the one to breakthrough.
The new mix tape “Since We’re Here,” released yesterday on Soundcloud, should help answer what to expect from Tate post-“Bank Rolls.” A first listen reveals Kobang reaching for new directions: the Chuck English-produced “Love Again” spins the energy from “Bank Rolls” into a murky banger, while “Going Back” leans on Tate’s hazy vocal melodies. You can listen to all of “Since We’re Here” below.