D&D Presents: David Banner, Pt. 1
He’s pretty much done everything there technically is to do in music, hit records, albums, ignited a few controversies but David Banner is out for much more than just your typical music resume. Having already amassed a huge following with his 2M1 campaign, Banner has made it quite certain that whatever he puts his mind to happens, regardless of what you or anybody else may think.
Having the chance to have a conversation with him earlier this month, it’s quite clear that Banner at this point in life is content with his music but is still upset at the issues going on in the world. With so much to say, the conversation had to be condensed into two parts. From Havard, Trayvon Martin, his basketball career and Sex, Drugs & Video Games, the Mississippi native has all eyes (and all ears) open.
Day & A Dream: You know you’re like the first major interview we’ve gotten right?
David Banner: Really? That’s dope! [Laughs] I’m appreciative and then in the same token, you never know who you might end up being in my life. Life has a way of coming full circle, you know and creating different things for different people so thank you in a cool ass way. [Laughs]
D&D: I think God set you up in a cool way to go to Harvard University to speak in front of the kids.
DB: Yeah, and Thursday I’ll be able to speak in front of Trayvon Martin’s family out in LA. I’ve been blessed to do a lot man and I think we’re about to put together a documentary man between speaking in front of Congess and Katrina and all these different things. I guess I never noticed because inside of me, like how many people we’ve affected. I think I’m gonna put together a documentary … as a matter of fact I am gonna put together a documentary.
D&D: Sort of a David Banner’s been here, been there and nobody could really comprehend that?
DB: I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s gonna be about David Banner but about my experiences. I think our generation doesn’t realize how much impact we have on shaping the world. We’ve had the first black president, we’ve had the worst president (Bush), we’ve had 9/11, we’ve had two wars, things that are gonna be in the history books forever. So I think we don’t understand the magnitude of what we’ve been involved in so it’s time we start documenting it and take pride in our history … and our place in history.
D&D: Do you find yourself being known as the conscious voice in the South? Cause you’ve used your voice for the better part of a decade to speak on so many social ills in the world.
DB: I think you’ll have to say, something you’ll have to judge and say, For me to feel that I’m that important is a direct contradiction.If I am then that shouldn’t be much of a question, that should be a statement, nah’mean? That should be more of a statement made by you and that would be supported by your followers only because it’s true cause you could show in my history where that all falls in line. Hopefully you’ll be able to say that. I’ll put it to you this way. At the end of the day all I want to be viewed as a man, as a man of God, that I would want to be a woman’s example of what their husband should be, an example to a child of what their father would want to be. Hopefully I can be that example.
D&D: I ran into my girlfriend’s dad like a few weeks ago at church and said, “I might be interviewing David Banner this week”. He said, “Word? Well tell him that we used to hoop back in the Laurel Park apartments back in Flowood, MS. That you used to have an afro and your face was on the side of the van and the van was blue…”
DB: Well all that’s true but the van was red! [Laughs] All that information is true. I used to ball. I just stopped playing ball about seven months ago cause I broke my arm.
DB: I used to be a big basketball player! Matter of fact I might get back into hoopin’ cause that was when I was in my best shape.
D&D: That’s something you might not find on Wikipedia, that David Banner used to hoop. That’s crazy. [Laughs] Let’s get into the album Sex, Drugs & Video Games. I know it’s very Grand Theft Auto inspired but what inspired you to name the album that?
DB: Um, what inspired me to call the album that is because I want to ask people and the question I’m asking people is why is that the stimulus we give our children? You know for the most part, sex drugs and violence we give our children all these things in our music, our videos and we get surprised when our kids regurgiate this. Our grown ups. Look at most of the commercials, most of the video games, all the news. They make a conscious effort to make everything edgy, they could make more a conscious effort to put positivity on the news. Not just the music but they point the finger at black men all the time. The news is pitiful, TV programming is pitiful, it’s pitiful across the board so all you give our kids is sex, drugs and violence and you wonder why that’s what they rap about. Or you wonder why that’s what they get into and that’s what they glorify.
D&D: But you’ve been fighting the battle on those type of topics on what the media’s programmed us to like, what to go towards and the counter programming of that. Do think it’s harder to do now as a veteran to go against the grain as opposed to earlier in your career?
DB: Not really harder, it’s always been a challenge. I think … I think I had more help before, but like I told somebody last night… it’s a challenge to be a black man when you ain’t even doing nothing. Trayvon Martin was walking down the street, he was doing shit and he got killed. So let’s not make the challenge about music, the challenge is being black in America period. So the odds of us dying are by our own hands, not just others is high then why not stand for something? Music ain’t really selling like that no way so why not be creative? I think it’s more of a reason to be that way now more than any time.
D&D: You have so many different devices now to get your message out, like the “Swagg” video with other people saying the N-word and using it, your comments on Shade 45 rilling people up. Does it bother you?
DB: [Chuckles] What I’ll say bruh is, that I’ve always been that way but the fact I’ve been blessed for people to see me over a long period of time that it’s starting to seep in with people. I think people are starting to dig deeper. [Off-hand] Suga, you still listening? Pull up “Like A Pimp” on YouTube … and cut the sound off. We ran the Ku Klux Kan out of Mississippi, we tore the confederate flag and threw it back at the screen. I didn’t have video games but they had sex and drugs flashing on the screen. That was really a revolutionary video, but I don’t think people really caught it. The message is always in the music brother, I only try to speak the truth and I think the day I use it for my own personal vice, trying to get something out of it, is when it won’t be as powerful. I just try to speak the truth.
D&D: I know that’s a heavy, heavy subject on the album so, who else is on the album. KRIT’s on the album, right?
D&D: The single with 2 Chainz & Lil Wayne, “Yao Ming” is on the album right?
D&D: [Laughs] You sound excited!
DB: I am! [Laughs]. We got Bun B, Lil Wayne, A$AP Rocky, Chris Brown, 2 Chainz, Tank, Kardinall Offishall, Don Trip … it’s a lot of people on there bruh.
D&D: Now you mention A$AP Rocky, and from where I’m from there’s a weird little stance cause we’ve been sort of bubbling again since the initial ’05 push. It’s growing, it’s vibrant and now you’ve got Rocky, a Harlem cat doing this. I mean, what are your thoughts on that?
DB: I think that’s dope! That’s the biggest level of flattery, you know. Cause for so long, so many people from the South tried to be like people from the North. And now you have a North cat that’s influenced by the South so much and he giving it up! It’s not like he took the style and tried to camouflage it, know what I’m sayin’? He said that’s what his influence was, what he grew up on. That only helps us, that only helps our movement. For somebody else to be that big and … he don’t have to give it up, he don’t have to be humble enough to give it up, I think that’s dope.
D&D: Cause that’s someone who grew on this culture and he puts it out in such a way you can’t help but like it.
DB: It don’t do nothing but help us, dude. It don’t do nothing but help us. It makes people accept all the hard work we put in and I wish we weren’t so mean to each other man, period. Like, why not get together and talk to each other, if we got a problem just sit out and talk to each other.
D&D: You kind of want people to come face-to-face instead of hammering that stuff out on Twitter, it’d solve so many different problems.
DB: You have people that I influenced … and that’s what music is supposed to do. You listen to it all day, all the time, it’s supposed to influence you. I just wish we would take our voice and use our voice for something powerful and try to give as much attention and effort to some of the other social woes that’s going on but you know…
D&D: Is the album done? Or are you still hammering out a few kinks?
DB: I’m hammering out a few kinks but the album’s been done. It’s honestly been done for a minute. Seeing that I’m controlling every aspect of my career dude, nothing is ever done until it’s out and that’s the power that God gives you. It ain’t done until we say it’s done and even when it is done, we can make those changes cause its ours. Ain’t no rules.
D&D: I’m pretty sure you’ve got like two, three of your own beats on the album right?
DB: Nah, I always do about 80% of my records.
D&D: 80? Yeee!
DB: I always do like 80% of my records. Now, I don’t have to do none of it but I think that’s one of the things that degrades hip-hop cause we’re always trying to make money. That’s something Pimp C told me, he was always like … spend your money on your record. If you spend your money on your record then she’ll bring that money back for you. Now if it’s some younger cats that got a better sound that me right now, I’ma go get that. I’ma pay them. Like instead of trying to horde all the money for myself, I just want the best project.
D&D: I think that’s the best thing you gotta wish for.
DB: Well no, I don’t wish for it, I make it happen. I don’t wish no more. When God gives you the vision, you gotta do it. I don’t wish no more homie. Like it ain’t no question to me whether I’ma get 2 million followers or not. It’s gonna happen. [Laughs] All that wishing, I don’t know. I don’t wish no more brother, we make our dreams come true.
D&D: If I find that quote in somebody yearbook, I’ma tell you that it happened.
DB: [Laughs] Aight!