We have the first look at the rapper's new video, which mimics a scene with the pop artist from 1982.
Rapper Alfred Banks pays tribute to artist Andy Warhol in his new video for the song, “On That.” In it, Banks eats a hamburger, just as Warhol does in a scene from the 1982 film, 66 Scenes from America by Danish filmmaker Jørgen Leth. Leth’s sequence was inspired by the series of short portrait films that Warhol called “screen tests,” where a tight, fixed camera impassively recorded people at their most mundane.
Warhol’s art anticipated the day when people could become brands, but Banks admires him for more than that. “Warhol did what he wanted and built his up so much that even when he did something weird as hell, he was so powerful no one could tell him anything,” Banks says. “That’s incredible to me. He inspires me a lot.”
Banks first saw the Warhol sequence that inspired the “On That” video in Pittsburgh at the Warhol Museum, and he was blown away by it. “He was bold enough to sit in front of a camera and eat a burger like it was important,” Banks says. “That’s such a boss move.”
The song itself came about when Banks was a finalist in Vans’ “Share the Stage” competition. Vans flew him to Chicago to record the track with producers who go by the name Silent Party Music, who have also worked with Smino in the studio and his live shows. Banks spent much of 2019 on tour, so he was plugged into his shows and knew that the song would work onstage. It moves with an easy urgency and in an age where bars are deemphasized, he shows he’s got some.
He spent part of last year touring with Tank and the Bangas, and the same sensibility that prompted him to adopt the “Underdog Central” brand influenced his takeaway from those tours. “I’m legit competing with them in a sense,” he says. “I have to try and match an incredible band that has, like, 11 live members. It was only me and a DJ and, like, 3,000 people. Giving that energy in the right ways is the lessons I learned.”
In the “On That” video, Banks subtly signals the Warhol influence by wearing a shirt that is a collaboration between the Warhol Estate and WeSC, the Swedish streetwear brand. Warhol’s not Banks’ favorite artist, though. That honor goes to Keith Haring, who was also influenced by Warhol. “I love art,” Banks says. “Art that’s bold speaks to me. Just so happens that a lot of the best art was from the ‘80s. That’s my favorite decade. From the music to the clothes to the pop culture, it just seems so damn cool.”