Back in 2014, Bandman Kevo was a promising young rapper on the Chicago scene with a bag of mixtapes behind him and a bright future in front of him. Then it all went wrong. He got arrested for credit card fraud, sentenced to almost two years in jail, and forced to put his career on hiatus. But apparently, you can’t keep a good Bandman down. After his release in 2019, he got busy re-building his profile. He refashioned himself as a social media guru, released a few awesome new tracks, got everyone excited, and then got arrested again. What will happen next is anyone’s guess, but in the meantime, here are 10 things you didn’t know about Bandman Kevo to keep you going.
1. He faked his high school diploma
Bandman Kevo (real name, Kevin Ford) was born in the projects in Chicago. He was always motivated by the thought of getting rich and famous but didn’t believe that education was his route to either. In 10th grade, he dropped out of school, faked a high school diploma, and entered the workforce. It didn’t last long. After realizing that 16-year-old kids with fake qualifications don’t get to wear Gucci, he hooked up with some local scam artists, learned as much as he could, then set out on his own. Before long, there was a Maserati in the drive, Versace in the closet, and a police officer at the door.
2. He got into rapping for the fame
Before Kevo made headlines for credit card fraud, he was building up a reputation as one of the Windy City’s most promising new artists. But he didn’t get into rapping for the love of the rhymes. Neither (somewhat ironically) did he do it for the money. Speaking to Global Grind back before his jail term, Kevo explained how fame drew him into the scene. “Basically, I seen a lot of people in Chicago coming up off of rapping and I was like ‘Man, I want to get more fame,’” he said. “I don’t really care for the income; I just wanted the fame part, really. To get more known around the city and to get my name around the world.”
3. He served time for credit card fraud
In 2014, Kevo told Global Grind he didn’t “really care for the income” that came from rap. Shortly after, we learned why – he was already making a killing as a scam artist. In October 2014, he was arrested on suspicion of orchestrating a state-wide bank fraud scheme. Two years later, he was sentenced to 22 months at FCI Sandstone for obtaining upwards of $639,745 by cracking cards. After being caught with a cellphone, he got an extra 8 months added to his sentence, 4 of which were served in solitary confinement.
4. He transformed behind bars
Kevo’s time in the Penn didn’t go to waste. Speaking to XXL after his release, he said he’d used his time to read up on the music business and anything else he thought could help him once he got out. He also hit the gym hard, packing on the muscle and losing 69 pounds in weight.
5. He’s a different kind of rapper
During the same interview with Global Grind in which he claimed to have gotten into rap for the fame not the fortune, Kevo explained what set him apart from other Chicago rappers. “I think most of the rappers talk more about guns and gang-banging,” he said. “I don’t gang-bang. I really want to catch a different crowd of hip-hop.” On paper, it sounded great. And then came the arrest for gun possession and assault.
6. He got arrested for gun possession
Less than 2 years after his release from prison, Kevo got arrested again, this time on five separate charges including evidence tampering, resisting arrest, gun possession, and assaulting an officer. According to HipHopDx, Kevo was pulled over by the police for a routine traffic stop in Miami but wound up taking them on a high-speed chase that culminated in him crashing his Maybach. Fortunately, the charges have now been dropped.
7. He’s getting inspirational
Since leaving prison, Kevo has been busy turning himself into a motivational speaker and social media guru. He’s even set up his own website – Kevofans.com – to connect directly with his fans and share motivational tips on how people can “turn their challenges into opportunities.” Fans keen to speak to the man himself can grab some one-on-one time by booking a facetime session directly through the site.
8. He’s spent a fortune on his image
Kevo is a man who clearly likes to project a certain image. He may spend most of his time chatting to young fans about how they can best manage their money, but he doesn’t think too long or hard about splashing his own cash whenever and wherever he can. According to hotnewhiphop.com, he spent nearly $300,000 just on clothes and his image in June alone. He also racked up $119,893 in advertising and promotion costs, forked out almost $54,000 on meals and entertainment, and spent another $14,000 on groceries.
9. He’s managed by Dough From Da Go
Since leaving prison, Kevo has worked hard to re-establish himself on the music scene. To help, he’s teamed up with Chicago legend and hip-hop curator, Dough From Da Go, who’s clearly a major fan of his new client. Speaking to Muzique Magazine, he gushed “He is the most talked-about a rapper from Chicago in a long time, and it’s a blessing to be a part of not just his team, but his vision and journey! Bandman has an incredible work ethic and vision for himself as well as his label Bandklan Ent.”
10. He was an early supporter of the Create Carbon artist credit card
Back in May this year, Sauce Walka of the Sauce Factory announced a new partnership with Create Music Group to help launch the Create Carbon artist credit card, a new type of debit card for artists that’s designed to give them immediate access to royalties as they earn them. Somewhat ironically given his past troubles in the banking department, Kevo was one of its earliest endorsers.