Standing at 6'4", friends always suggested to Brandon Hampton he consider a professional basketball career. But theTexas native has different kinds of moves in mind.
"I grew up around the time when video music box was real big, so I would watch and listen to videos of all different types of music, and I would dance to them," says the 22-year-old rapper, who is now better known as B-Hamp. "People would say I should be playing basketball, but I'd turn around and bust a dance move on them instead."
While dancing has been an interest since he was young, it wasn't until the 8th grade that B-Hamp realized he had another talent: rapping. "I would beat on school lunch tables and freestyle to the beat," he recalls. "People would be like, 'You could freestyle, why don't you rap?' But I didn't know I was any good."
Thankfully, B-Hamp soon grasped his talent, and is now prepping his debut album, tentatively titled "B-Dash," due for release mid-spring via CKB Records. His lead single, "Do the Ricky Bobby" -- a dance track, naturally -- recently reached No. 93 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
The song came about while B-Hamp was part of a group called 20/20 Click under Texas label Supreme Records while he was in college. "We came up with a song around the time when everyone was on YouTube and the biggest thing was [Soulja Boy's] 'Crank That'," says B-Hamp. "I had just watched 'Talladega Nights' for the first time and thought it was really funny, so I was like, 'I'm going to crank the Ricky Bobby."
The song, called "Work Your Shoulders," had a verse that said "I'm-a do the Ricky Bobby, stop, pose for the frame, then we all do the same thing."
"We did a lot of songs, and people were telling me I should do my own thing because I would give the crew ideas, and no one did it," says B-Hamp. "So I stepped out the box and did it on my own. I got with another management team that was willing to help me."
After B-Hamp and a friend produced the song, a local DJ invited B-Hamp to perform the song at a club. It was then that he realized how necessary an accompanying "Ricky Bobby" dance would be. Consequently, B-Hamp recorded his own tutorial video and posted it on YouTube.
"After I performed it, people were asking me what was 'the Ricky Bobby.' So I told them to watch the YouTube video," he recalls. "I thought about him [the character Ricky Bobby in the movie] driving the car, and then I thought about him sitting in the wheelchair, and that's how it came to me."
An official video for "Ricky Bobby" was shot in October by Dorian Forbes, who also produced Shawty Lo "Dey Know" remix video and Yung Dro's "Shoulder Lean" clip, among others. The single is now available on iTunes and Amazon, as well as appearing on a recent Swisha House mixtape.
For those who find the bouncy dance too complex, B-Hamp offers "I Be Jiggin," which he calls "a step-one-step-two dance song." Other tracks on the set include "Save the World," in which he addresses naysayers. Tum Tum, Fat Pimp and Southside, who appears on the "Do the Ricky Bobby" remix, make guest appearances, while Youngstar and Blue Magic lend a hand to production.
To promote the album, B-Hamp has been doing one-stop performances all around the Southwest. He's currently planning an official tour for after the album release. Additionally, B-Hamp signed a branding deal with Rockports Shoes, which he faithfully wears during all his live performances.
"This all feels great, man," B-Hamp says about his recent accomplishments. "I went from being nothing to being something everyone likes. It feels like I'm on top of the world now."