Blanco Brown and T.I. found a way out of Bankhead.
Since growing up in the same Atlanta neighborhood, the two music stars have gone on to dominate their respective sub-genres of trap music thanks to a slew of hits and awards. Nevertheless, the two still have home pumping through their veins, and often find themselves returning to the streets they grew up on.
And sometimes, they bring horses.
“We rode some horses through Bankhead,” Brown, 37, tells PEOPLE in a recent interview about his and 42-year-old T.I.’s recent ride through their old neighborhood for the music video for their new single “Trap Still Bumpin’.” “It couldn’t have been a better time, with a better person. We had the hood waving and giving us blessings and love.”
And no, it wasn’t Brown’s first time on a horse.
“It’s a natural thing,” he says with a laugh. “I’ve been riding for a little while now.”
It’s yet another thing that fans are still finding out about Brown, who burst onto the country music scene in 2019 with his breakout single “The Git Up.”
“Nobody really understood what I went through or how it was growing up back in Buckhead,” says Brown, who will perform at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade this week. “Nobody really knew the circumstances of being in the hood and then going to the country during the summer times. I went from sitting on generators to sitting on propane tanks. [My debut album] Honeysuckle & Lightning Bugs tied both worlds together for me.”
But there have been plenty of people who have been with Brown since the beginning, including T.I.
“We know exactly what we came from and the circumstances we went through,” Brown says. “Nobody knows unless you were there. We just been kicking it, swapping lies and truths since then.”
So, when it came time to record “Trap Still Bumpin'” it felt like home.
“I was in the studio, and I had him jump on the track,” says Brown of the country/hip hop collaboration recorded at T.I.’s SuperSound Studios in Atlanta. “I sent [T.I.] two tracks, and man, he sent them back so fast. I was like, ‘We onto something. This right here is a whole other level beyond what I could imagine.'”
And this might not be their last collaboration, as Brown confirms that the two are hard at work on a collaboration album.
“We decided to get in the studio, and we cut like eight more records,” Brown admits. “Every time we get in the studio, it’s nothing but fun. We’re creating and listening to each other’s tracks outside of what we have done together. It is always [about] celebrating each other’s music and what we got going forward. We have a whole EP album coming next year. And ‘Trap Still Bumpin” is the first one.”
It’s yet another blessing for Brown, whose life has been filled with them.
“There is a line in ‘Trap Still Bumpin” that says, ‘Look at God,’ and pretty much I’m talking about the blessings and everything that I have come to find in my everyday life,” explains Brown. “It’s a blessing just to be among people walking and talking and living. Didn’t nobody think it could happen, but it did.”
“I still have nerve damage, but I’m out here kicking, so I don’t have no complaints,” explains Brown. “I was just happy to get back up and be amongst the world, honestly. And the fact that I could walk is an even bigger blessing than a miracle. It’s just a blessing to be here.”
Brown says he feels especially thankful that he has been able to continue his recovery while, at the same time, continuing his Monster Energy Outbreak Tour, which concludes on Dec. 3.
“Before I did my first show, I was already two years into my rehab,” he notes. “I’m feeling better than I did before.
And in a world committed to pointing out our differences rather than celebrating the ways we are alike, Brown says music is a unifying factor that needs to be appreciated a bit more.
“Music is music,” he says. “There’s no box that could fit.”