From Call of Duty To NBA 2K, Bankrol Hayden Never Forgets How Video Games Helped Him

With hits like “Cabo” and “Brothers,” 19-year-old Bankrol Hayden is making his name known, but despite the time and effort that goes into finding and then building on early success, Bankrol still has love for his time spent gaming with his friends back in the day and for what gaming has meant for him in his life. That’s part of why he’s set to be one of the key talents driving Xbox and Atlantic Records’ unveil of the Green Room, a streaming crossover event happening tonight at 6PM ET on Atlantic’s YouTube channel.

Hayden is set to be a member of one of the 10 squads playing Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare (additional guests include Seth Curry, A Boogie, and Vikkstar) for bragging rights and a share of a $10,000 prize pool. Uproxx spoke with Bankrol about the event, his training, and what song he’d put on the NBA2K soundtrack if he had the chance.

Talk to me about why you wanted to be involved with the launch of the series.

Bankrol Hayden: Yeah, it’s really cool. Honestly, I was excited when they told me about it, especially because GaryV is on it. I’ve always been a big fan of his. Also, I’ve just been playing video games since I was a kid. So it was good news when I got to hear that.

How much Call of Duty do you play?

I’m going to be honest, when I was little I played a lot of Call Of Duty: Black Ops, Black Ops Two. But I don’t play much Call Of Duty [now]. I’m actually getting into training right now. I don’t play that much to be real with you, bro. I play more 2K and Madden, I play a lot of GTA. I still play the OG Call Of Duty [games] and shit with my boys when I go back home. I used to go on zombies and go crazy. Nuketown. [In Modern Warfare 3] we used to be taking out the juggernauts. Now that bro brought that back to my memory, it would be every level you would get a new gun or something, but we would be taking out like three or four juggernauts every round. That shit was lit. This was before Black Ops Two, Black Ops One. Yeah, this is way back. But man, I’m really excited for the event. It’s going to be a great time. We’re going to have a blast.

So when you are playing, is it more of a relaxed, hang with friends thing, or just an escape from the world?

It just gets my mind off stuff. I used to be in the hospital and when I was going through surgeries and I was like, I’ve got a back surgery tomorrow, I would be like, okay, playing Fortnite is taking my mind off all that. Or playing Call Of Duty, playing 2K with my boys, with a headset on. That’s always kind of what video games did for me. But as I’m moving into my rap career, I’ve got to be focusing. I’ve got to watch how much time I spend on the game. So I actually put it away. It’s in my closet right now.

I like that. That means you’re really focused.

It was draining for me because I had it in my living room bro, and I was like, you know what? We are here to make music. That’s why we are in LA. But it’s still good and I like it. That shit really helps people’s minds.

When you’re playing 2K, who’s your team?

Man, bro, I liked playing 2K Blacktop, bro. That’s my favorite thing. You gotta watch what I did with Faze Blaze. I beat him in 2K. I like playing that stuff, but my team is going to be the Warriors because that’s where I’m from, out there in the bay.

Are they going back to the playoffs next year?

We’re going back to the playoffs with Klay [Thompson].

How do you feel about Giannis Antetokounmpo winning a championship?

Bro, that shit is inspiring, bro. Just seeing bro win, all the videos of him wanting it before, and now he’s here, it’s respectable. He deserved it.

What song of yours do you feel would be best on a 2K soundtrack?

I’m going to say “Costa Rica” with Kid Laroi remix. That shit would go crazy, I feel like. Or “Drop a Tear,” Lil Baby with me.

What was it like doing a song with Lil Baby?

Shoot man, it was a cool experience. We shot it in a church in Atlanta and all those people had great vibes. It was cool people and it was good, man. It was a good experience. It was crazy. Because I’m a big fan a Lil Baby. So I was like, man, this is surreal.

Bankrol Hayden is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.