David Banner has been to the left of the spotlight for a few years, but quietly the rapper/producer has been mastering his craft in other ways. First, is Death of a Pop Star, his upcoming collaboration with producer 9th Wonder. Another is his self-produced song Evolve, which was included in a recent campaign for Gatorade sports drink. The song is politically charged, but it took an ad agency to get it the exposure it rightly deserved. A critical thinker, Banner tells AllHipHop the frustrations hes had with being an artist with a message and why he may be gone for good.
The point is this . I realized, talking about the record labels, if you dont have the right support mechanism behind you, then it tough. The reason Outkast was able to do what they did what because they had LA Reid behind them. Lets be honest about whats going on. If you dont have the person that keeps the lights on in the building behind you, then you arent able to be creative, because labels are too afraid of anything thats not proven or anything that not going to take off as soon as you put it on the radio. If it needs a push then its not going to be successful. Lets just be honest about that part. You can be creative at home, on the block, or on that little milk crate talking s**t, or with your little homie on the internet. But if you dont have something that doesnt make people jump in the club or move in the crowd, then you are going to be broke. Especially with the implementation of the Internet you are going to be broke!
But I realized through this Gatorade opportunity. If gave me the opportunity to show people that we have soul, it showed me our generation has soul, but will you buy it? We can be creative but all those n***as that talk all this Hip-Hop s**t. They dont buy any records. All these n***as that talk about, We want better music. Aight, when I put this 9th Wonder record out, if n***as dont buy it, I dont want to hear that s**t. Me and 9th Wonder got one of the best Hip-Hop records out in the past 5 years, and if a bitch dont buy it then dont come to me talking about that positive rap s**t. If you dont buy it and you dont support it, then dont say anything to me about that s**t. So Gatorade gave me the opportunity to show people that we can do this kind of music.
Its simple but that song is revolutionary.
Well first of all let me say, white, black, old young, 15 or 80 years old. This is one of the first songs thats not a rap song that people gave me 100% freedom to write what I felt. And it doesnt matter to me the medium. Thats what God has blessed me with. Thats what I tell the young rappers. It doesnt matter if its rapping, if its a book, if its a movie, a book, by any means necessary. If you really want to do for your people, then it doesnt matter the medium. Thats how the devil fools us. Lets you want to feel that if you cant start a revolution. The Devil will do anything he can to make you do something evil. He will marry you, he will go to church with you, he will start a business with you, rap on a song with you. it doesnt whether I have a deal or not with a record label. I shoot my own videos. I just purchased a whole production company. I own cameras, my own studio. I have enough money now to purchase my own s**t.
I am trying to move so far past Hip-Hop, so that I can have the freedom to do any kind of music that I want to do. I can do whats on my spirit and on how God touches me. If we dont find a way to show that we are marketable and that people from urban situations can earn money, then this dream will be over. It will be over and it will be nobodys fault but our own. If we dont start making better music.
I think the music today is great. I just think its just like everyone thinks that they can do it. There is not complexity in the music. Back in the day in order for you to get in the rap cipher you had to know you were good. Cats think that anyone can rap. Cats come up to me now and be like, I done paid my dues, I been rapping for two years. For real?
Now that I am getting older I now feel the responsibility and it dont have nothing to do with me been a rapper, its just me as a man. We dont want to admit it but Hip-Hop is grown and we are going to have to f**king grow up, bro.
Look at me when I started. Look how broke I was. I wasnt selling no dope. At the time. We just need to stop blaming ourselves. Its our fault. Part of the reason Hip-Hop is in the position that it is now, is partially my fault. Hip-hop is partially in the position that it is for a reason and its partially my fault and I admitted my fault, I am doing something about it. Im a grown man, Im not pointing the finger, but grown men put the fire out, they dont point at the fire. I am standing up because Hip-Hop is in the situation it is partially because of me. Death of a Pop Star n***a now what?
-as told to Grouchy Greg Watkins