David Banner’s album covers have always showed the pained disposition of a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders. AllHipHop.com wanted to see why exactly that is.
There’s a history of blood in Mississippi’s soil, it’s not surprising that its brightest star wouldn’t settle for speaking without thinking. The inquisition and introspection of man who looks back at his non-conformist youth, still stands in his platinum Rap career. David Banner takes nothing lightly.
AllHipHop.com and the self-proclaimed “Darth Vader” discuss everything from race, to Live8, to David’s outlook on the world. Those who call David Banner’s attitude grim, just may have it twisted… see for yourself.
AllHipHop.com: In every interview that I’ve read with you, you come off so
serious, almost like a tortured soul. Is that a fair representation of
David Banner: I don’t know, you tell me. I just answer the questions.
AllHipHop.com: Why do you think it comes off that way?
David Banner: Maybe because I am, I guess. I’m a real morbid kind of person. It doesn’t come off… maybe it does. I see the world for what it really is, and I think I may dwell on it a little bit more than the average person does. And it was so heartbreaking to see that all the stuff that our parents taught us was really a misinterpretation of the world, or false interpretation, I should say, of the world. It’s really a evil place. As much as we would like to play like it isn’t, for the most part it’s “succeed or die.” “Eat or get ate.” And I wanna give the world what’s really going on; not the matrix view, you know what I’m saying? Not the view that this world has built for us to play
AllHipHop.com: A lot of people could say that it’s all in the eye of the beholder. Do you think that?
David Banner: Aww, that’s bulls**t!
AllHipHop.com: I’m saying, yeah, it’s a screwed up world, but…
David Banner: As much as we play like… You know most of the United States, and the people that’s living in it, especially people of culture, people of color: they f**ked up! Those who are saying “Look in the eyes of the beholder,” are those who don’t have to see it through our eyes. It’s so funny: the first person to say, “Aww, it ain’t that bad being Black,” is people who ain’t Black. “Slavery wasn’t that
bad.” What? How you know, were your parents slaves? “No.” Okay, shut up!
AllHipHop.com: The same way that the media screws up how Americans see the outside world, to a lot of Black people that don’t grow up here, they really look at African-Americans like, “Why are y’all complaining? Y’all have it better than all the rest of us.”
David Banner: But at the same token, there was a price that was paid. And
regardless of what people think about it, a large part of America was built off the back of free labor. So if you look at this world as a
whole: they owe us something! Or we deserve to take something, or we deserve to be p##### off, or we deserve something! Nobody works for free! Everybody deserves to get paid.
AllHipHop.com: That’s a really heavy burden for you to be carrying on your back by yourself. I guess that’s the impression that comes off through all of these interviews, like you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders…
David Banner: Nah, I mean, but you gotta understand: God doesn’t give these
thoughts to people who can’t handle ‘em. Why do I think this way? I
ain’t ask for this. It ain’t like I wanna be upset. It would be cool
to be oblivious like some other people are. But I’m not. And I’m
thankful for the blessing. And I’mma take on the task, whatever task God give me, I’mma take it.
AllHipHop.com: It almost feels like that oblivion is bolstered by the media. Not
just the condition of Black people here in America, but Black people
everywhere. It’s almost like it gets treated like a dirty secret, like
everyone knows it’s going on, but no one’s talking about it.
David Banner: And the reason why it’s not is because people make money off us being dumb and ignorant and not knowing. As long as we continue to stay high, continue buying America’s products and supporting their jail cells, where we can work for $0.20 an hour, you know what I’m saying? It’s always gonna be cool.
AllHipHop.com: Did you always have this mind set, or is it a result of things that you became aware of through growing up, and through education and all that?
David Banner: I always been on something different. I was a strange child, my
mother always said that. I always thought of stuff different than other kids, I always asked other questions. I’ve always been an inquisitive type of person.
AllHipHop.com: Did you get in trouble for that when you were a kid?
David Banner: Nah, I was in trouble anyway. I was in trouble, for one, to be
different. I always been different. It was crazy: I went back and looked at my fifth grade photos, like when we took our class picture. Everybody else is just regular kids and I took my picture with a cut off glove holding my hand up to show off my cut off glove. And everybody else is just regular kids and I had to do something different.
AllHipHop.com: Beyond your very obvious talent in music, do you think that your mindset is part of something bigger for you?
David Banner: I sure hope so, ‘cause Rap don’t pay enough money for me. There’s other things I wanna do that’s so much bigger than this and I just ain’t doing it.
AllHipHop.com: So when and how are you gonna start?
David Banner: I’mma start with the movies. Imma start with investing my money…And I don’t know, just keep living and hopefully God gonna reveal other money-making ventures to me.
AllHipHop.com: So is it about the money or is it about getting the message out there and enlightening the people?
David Banner: Aww man, it’s about the money. And while you have the opportunity to say positive things and do positive things, you do. But yeah, it’s about money. I mean, we grown! I’m not a child. I’m not doing this for fun. I’m doing this to provide a way for me and my people to eat. And since I have people’s attention, I will do the best I can to do the best I can with it. But it’s a business first with me. And I wasn’t successful until I realized that.
AllHipHop.com: What did you think about the Live 8 Concerts?
David Banner: Umm… I don’t know what you mean by that question. I don’t
think about them. I mean, it’s something you wanna get out the
AllHipHop.com: Nah, I’m just saying… I could tell you what I thought,
personally and what a lot of people are saying. But when you heard about it and when it actually happened, did you have any reaction or thoughts about it?
David Banner: I mean, I didn’t trip off of it. I didn’t see nothing wrong with
it. Tell me what you thought about it?
AllHipHop.com: Some people felt like all that money that they took to make that happen in “support of Africa,” they could have sent all that money to Africa. They could have turned it into a fundraiser, the same way they did for the Tsunami victims; instead of spending all that money to “raise awareness.”
David Banner: My thing is… I’m the type of person, I don’t trip off of what
people do. I think that we as grown people spend to much time
criticizing what other people do. If you feel that way, or somebody else feel that way, then you do it! I don’t trip off other people’s ideas because they’re trying to do something positive. My thing is, what I do with the homeless… I always notice that, we was talking about this today: how people sit back who ain’t never did nothing for the community and who ain’t gonna never do no community service and who don’t never do nothing theyself or have programs themselves, sit up and criticize people who are doing. At least it’s something. And yeah, there’s always something that people could have done, but they doing it. And most people [are] not doing s**t. And I’m tired of people criticizing when they don’t criticize Bush, they don’t criticize things that really need to be criticized like the war and other things that need real criticism. All these laws that’s being passed that’s taking away our freedom as Americans; and how it takes 45 f**kin’ hours to get through a airport, and they going all through our s**t and taking away our right to privacy. It’s other s**t we could be sitting up criticizing, talking about and worrying about. Live 8? If they wanna give four dollars from that concert, you can’t criticize them because that’s their prerogative, and that was the dream and the vision that was given to them. I don’t care what nobody else does. God is gonna judge me
based on what I do. It’s so funny seeing that in the stuff that I do,
and the community programs that I do: everybody always got something to say, but don’t give it up, the fact that somebody is doing something. And we spend time criticizing them, let’s talk about the people who ain’t doing s**t at all!
AllHipHop.com AllHipHop.com: At the same time, in some cases people get almost apathetic. I mean, we been criticizing the war, we been criticizing Bush, and he
still made it into the White House for another four years…
David Banner: I don’t get apathetic. The reason is because we have to look as a people. If you look at what happened to every race of people when
genocide is going on, when ghettos are being created, when gas chambers are being filled; these were planned situations. A lot of these situations had been planned for hundreds and hundreds of years. So it’s gonna take years for us to combat that, it’s not gonna be in our lifetime.
AllHipHop.com: So how do you get a fast-food generation to understand that?
David Banner: I mean, it’s about you doing what you’re doing. We look at stuff
like the “Rock the Vote” campaign. Everybody’s heart was broken
because what we were trying to get accomplished didn’t get
accomplished. But this is the first f**kin’ year that young people got
off they ass and voted! You can’t expect the first time you do
something to work! It takes time. It’s just that we as a generation,
we don’t plan.
AllHipHop.com: Considering all of the things that we’ve been talking about, and what’s going on in the world right now…
David Banner: Let me ask you a question real quick. You talk all this s**t about
me being morbid, but you asking morbid-ass questions!
AllHipHop.com: Because, after reading all of your other interviews, I can’t be
the only person that’s like, “I’m saying, are you a breast man or an ass man?”
David Banner: Both.
AllHipHop.com: You really want those questions asked?
David Banner: Nah. No, I’m just… you asked why people always ask me these questions.
AllHipHop.com: So explain to me your Darth Vader complex?
David Banner: Because of the type industry that I’m in and the way people do me a lot of time, I have a tendency to be mean and turn into something that I’m not. So I’m defending myself. Because as much as we like to think that this world is good, most people are out to get us. Most people don’t have our best interest in mind. So I’m watching Darth Vader [in Star Wars Episode III] and he really thought he was doing the right thing, initially. And everything that he did was because of something positive, whether it was for love, whether it was for loyalty. Everything that he did ended up being evil, but from something right.