In Part I of our interview with David Banner,
he discussed some of the ways the music industry affects his vision of success.
His commitment to education and community values
is sometimes lost in translation to those who don’t understand, but it
does not stop David from keeping his heart in the right place.
In Part 2 we dig a little deeper into politics,
life philosophy, and family love.
AllHipHop.com: You’ve stated that you were
very influenced by soul music and gospel growing up. Have you been accused of
having a conflict of interest between your spirituality and some of your lyrical
David Banner: People always talk sh*t because
they don’t have nothing else to talk about. Life is a contradiction within
itself. Most of the people in church Sunday morning still reek of alcohol –
just left the club two hours ago, just enough time to come home, take a bath,
close their eyes for an hour, wash their ass and get up and go to church. I’m
just one of the few people that’s willing to stand up and say ‘hey,
I’m going to be just as quick to talk about God as I do anything else in
my life’. One thing about evil, is evil uses any tactic that it can to
win people over. If you look at what we believe beauty is, evil is going to
come as something that attracts you.
It’s funny because American media leads you to believe that evil is something
that looks as close to even Black people, or something that they judge as being
unattractive, when in actuality evil is going to come as the most beautiful
thing you’ve ever seen. If it’s not beautiful it won’t attract
you to do whatever it needs you to do. That’s where lust comes in –
lust for things you’re attracted to. Understanding that, I know that in
order to teach you have to present yourself as one who has been through it –
which I have. I just take all the negative stuff that I’ve been through,
all the things that I’ve seen and use it in a positive manner, because
if evil does whatever it takes, why can’t positive people do the same thing?
You have to use new age tactics to let people know who you’re talking to.
AllHipHop.com: In an interview with Murder Dog
you discussed how the book The 48 Laws Of Power [by Robert Greene] was one of
your favorites, and that one of the laws was making yourself appear less intelligent
than you are. How do you apply that day to day, and has it done anything good
David Banner: I don’t really have to apply
it. People think I’m young and Black with baggy pants that I don’t
have intelligence in the first place, so I really don’t have to apply it
– it applies itself. I don’t have to go out of my way to prove to
people that I’m intelligent. I handle my business, and you’re honestly
able to see how people feel about you. It’s funny because someone asked
one time ‘well if he’s so smart, why does he rap about this, why does
he do that?’ God gives you the intelligence where if you know this is what
works, you use it. The thing is, people talk all the sh*t that they want to,
but when I did ‘Cadillac On 22’s’, did people accept that? No.
People want you to be broke, and they want to control you.
[Note: Here we break into a side conversation
about his production of Trick Daddy’s “Thug Holiday”, and his
work with UGK and their history, and how has included them on all of his projects.
We reflect on how good it would be for UGK and other underground artists in
the South to truly get credit for the dues they’ve paid. We then come back
to his current project]
David Banner: What’s funny though, is as
long as the streets love this record, I’m cool. People can talk all the
sh*t they want to, as long as when I walk out there, the people are happy. To
be real with you, I’ve heard trash ass music that makes it. ‘Crank
It Up’ may be different that what people expect from me so they push it
away cuz it’s not a ‘Like A Pimp’, but think about ‘Like
A Pimp’ – it was a street South record that went pop. I look at people
like George Clinton, I look at people like Andre 3000 – that’s where
you gotta go. You gotta take music somewhere or it won’t be a talent. If
anybody can do it you won’t make it. That’s why I love a person like
Twista so much, because you can’t do what he do – it ain’t easy.
If we allow our music to be so watered down and so easily comprehended, then
it won’t be a talent.
AllHipHop.com: How supportive was your family
about your career choices?
David Banner: I was rapping since I was twelve
years old. My mother supported me. Now imagine your son at twelve years old
in Mississippi, when they’re not even playing rap on the radio – ‘I
wanna be rapper’ – walking around wearing three-stripe Adidas.
AllHipHop.com: How old are you now?
David Banner: Old enough to make somebody smile
and young enough to keep it there. [long pause]
I’m a grown ass, grown ass man. The thing I always try to explain to people
is that my mother said ‘I’ve always supported you in your musical
ventures’ – even when I was in the streets tough, my mother was never
the type of woman to tell me not to do something. I was such a bad ass that
would push me to do it even more. My mother just asked me in all the things
that I do to think about it. I remember one time when… I can’t necessarily
say on tape what I was about to do to somebody, but it was really really bad.
You know how she stopped me from doing it? She said ‘go ahead – get
him’, and she waited for like ten minutes and said ‘so that everything
in your life can be ruined – if you do something to somebody, you did give
them the power. Even if you do something so bad that they can’t walk, they
still control your life. The way that you fix everybody is you become a success,
then they’re able to live and watch what they didn’t support.’
It’s funny because me and my father really didn’t start getting along
until like two years ago. The thing that my father told me was ‘I never
wanted to be your friend, I only wanted to build a man.’ Now that I’m
older I agree with that so much, because there is so much against a young Black
male – he just wanted me to grow up and be stern in my ways. My mother
was from Chicago, and my father was from the country raising cows. My mother
knew about the fast life, and my father really didn’t mind me having a
gun at eight years old. At ten years old I was driving in traffic, going to
the grocery store by myself. I got the very best of both worlds.
AllHipHop.com: What are your thoughts about the
upcoming presidential election?
David Banner: I think that it’s been proven
what can happen if we’re not aware of what’s going on. We saw all
the stuff that happened from the last presidential election, so if it happens
again then we can’t be surprised. That’s why I put as much political
commentary as I do in my music, to let people know what’s going on. It’s
really a serious time.
AllHipHop.com: How much affect do you feel the
current situation in Iraq will actually have on this election?
David Banner: It’s gonna have a lot of affect,
because number one, what I learned in The Art Of War is that most control is
obtained when there is anarchy and there is a whole lot of scared people –
so this is a good time to gain control.
AllHipHop.com: What do you think about the organizations
like Rock The Vote and Hip Hop Summit Action Network that are getting more young
people registering to vote? They are registering tens of thousands of people.
David Banner: We’ll see if that’s good.
To me, it’s the end result. It ain’t really about the hype. I just
want the children and all the people logged in now reading this article that
are pushing for all kinds of stuff, let’s see what they do afterwards.
Let’s see what positions they’re put in – we have to watch people’s
ulterior motives, not saying there is one, but the true effect of a movement
is what happens afterward. You gotta let the hype die down and see what it’s
AllHipHop.com: Are there any particular candidates
that you’re feeling?
David Banner: Not Bush.
AllHipHop.com: Would you ever get involved in
a political agenda outside of your music?
David Banner: I will, because what I’ve
learned is that if people of culture don’t invest in power, they never
will have it. The thing is that I’m to the point now where if I see the
need I will, but it’s not something that I’m necessarily interested
in. If people deem me the one, then I will. People are supposed to pick the
candidates – they are supposed to come from the people.
AllHipHop.com: You’ve talked about making
economic changes in Mississippi and creating an awareness about it. What do
you think that people in the South can do to make to help create awareness about
their environment – not complaining about it, but actually making things
David Banner: I’m a perfect example of that.
Go out and get it! I don’t necessarily complain about stuff or talk about
stuff that I’m not changing on my own. I’m complaining, but also showing
them a way. What we first have to do is support ourselves. I even look at radio
stations – if you listen to the radio stations in the South, they don’t,
until just recently, reflect what the people are bumpin in their cars. They
don’t reflect the album sales. Self-empowerment is the only way. People
aren’t going to respect you unless you respect yourself.