Real Talk from David Banner

David Banner

AB: Now that we have that taken care of, in every recent photo I’ve seen of you it seems like you’re significantly healthier than you were in the past. Are you on a new workout plan?

DB: Are you saying that I’m attractive?

AB: I’m saying that women might like the slimmer David Banner.

DB: Are you saying that I have a greater opportunity to get all kinds of tities? Is that what you’re saying?

AB: It is.

DB: Honestly, initially when I lost all that weight it was because of my health, but now, as a businessman, I realize whether I like it or not, people don’t just buy good music anymore, they buy into the whole project, and if a woman wants to buy my record because I look good, I don’t mind that as long as the music is still excellent. There’s nothing wrong with giving people more value, and I feel good when I’m healthier and I really think if you look at life as a whole, when you’re healthier and you’re more focused usually your business is that way, too.

AB: With your company, 2M1, you note you want people to spend their money on companies that have consideration for your community’s well being. With hip-hop that can get problematic, because an artist can give money back, but have lyrical content that damaging to women and children.

DB: It’s not damaging, what it is is there’s no balance. The lack of balance came from the corporate structure because record companies only want what’s specifically selling right now. So if gangster rap is selling that’s the only thing that they’ll put money behind. We talk all that positive shit, I did Death of a Pop Star. What the fuck you think happened to my pocket? We talk about that good music shit, but we don’t buy good music! None of us! We all like sex, drugs and video games, homey, and that’s what I’m talking about in this album. It ain’t detrimental to kids, and it ain’t about rap music, America is based on sex, drugs and video games. You find me a wholesome TV show in America. You show me a wholesome aspect of the news. They only talk about rap music because it’s young Black men, but that’s society as a whole. 16 and Pregnant? C’mon, that’s some bullshit, but nobody ever talks about that bullshit.

AB: Speaking of your business, you’ve gone deep into the Kickstarter ideology, looking to show people that you don’t need a major label backing you. When did the lightbulb go off that made you realize you could do this on your own?

DB: Lemme be clear about something. People are really trying to make this be about David Banner versus the machine. It’s not really about that. It’s more about us bringing value back to our music, urban music, because whether we want to admit it or not, people don’t see value in it. We don’t even see value in our music. We have a generation of children who don’t believe that you should buy rap records. They’re still buying country and western records. They’re still buying pop records.

AB: And we have generations that still make the claim that the golden era of hip-hop was well over a decade ago.

DB: Every generation feels that the golden era was during their time. I don’t believe in that shit. Just make good music. So it’s not about me against the machine, it’s just that the system has failed, and if we don’t evolve we will die. I got to the point where I didn’t see any hope. I’m tired of begging people to see our value. And what I’m doing is not about money, and it’s not just about music, it’s so much bigger than that. It’s the fact that when I looked at the Oscars, not this year, but last year, I didn’t see no Black folks. When I look at the products that we endorse the most and we love the most and we give billions of dollars in free advertising to, like Louis Vuitton and Gucci, I don’t see my people in their ads.

DB: When the democrats come to our neighborhoods every four years, then after they are elected they stand up in front of us and say “I am not the representative of one specific people, I am a representative of everybody,” but they make sure that you service every other special interest group but our people. When you look at the amount of movies with predominantly Black people in them, they’ve dwindled to between one and four a year. But the flip-side is we consume more goods than anybody on this planet. Black people and people from urban situations have the buying power of a country. We’d be ranked 14th in the world by the amount of consumer goods that we buy, we just don’t consume ourselves and we don’t see value in ourselves, and from a perpetual shift, nobody else does, but they will take your money, and they will take your money without protecting you. Brands have started feeling like Black folks are gonna buy shit anyway, so there’s no need for them to protect us. There’s no need for democrats to meet the needs of Black folks and people from urban situations.

AB: I think it’s interesting that you do put, and I think deservedly so, a lot of the onus on the consumer for continuing to consume this. So how can you create a more educated consumer?

DB: The thing is I don’t place the blame directly on the consumer because I again ask the question, if the only stimuli you ever get is sex, drugs and video games what do you expect our children to regurgitate? It’s not just rap music, it’s video games, it’s television it’s the news. When I was watching Spiderman growing up all I ever saw Black people as is thieves. Then as we got older they started putting Black people in comic books and they gave us Green Lantern and Aquaman. Our kids don’t want to be Green Lantern and Aquaman! Fuck Green Lantern! He was a hoe! Aquaman was a fucking hoe! I don’t want to be Aquaman, I want to be Superman, but if they ever made us Superman they would shut down the movies and comic books. They made Idris Elba a god in Thor and America almost pissed on theyself. How are you gonna make a Black man a god? They put Black folks in Hunger Games and they almost shit on theyself. And then you wonder why we act and rap the way that we do. The last six movies I was in I was selling drugs and riding in an Escalade because I’m over 6’2″ and I’m dark skinned. America doesn’t see me any other way. They don’t WANT to see me any other way.

AB: Since we’re talking about race right now, and you’ll be appearing at Harvard’s LA Riots symposium, why do you think, in 2012, it’s still so difficult to have open and frank discussions about race in America?

DB: Because the truth is, homey, the problem in America is that we don’t want to admit that it’s gotten worse. We don’t even want to admit that it exists. Stop lying and saying racial profiling doesn’t exist. They know Black folks don’t have the power to bring drugs into this country. We don’t have planes. We can’t manufacture guns. We don’t have the money to distribute these things and bring them to America. America knows where the problems are. They know who’s distributing the guns and making the real dough, but a lot of them people, they’re friends, so just like rap we blame it on Black folks. It’s documented that the government had something to do with crack in America. Then you turn around and lie in front of everybody and say Black folks is the motherfucking problem.

DB: Until we admit and are honest about what’s going on in America it will never change, homey. And Black folks ain’t got no power. We the victims. Until our white brothers and sisters who truly got power admit that there’s a problem in America this shit ain’t gonna change, homey, and it doesn’t truly affect the people in power’s children, so they really don’t give a fuck. The only reason they care about rap is that their kids are listening to it. Think about it. Perpetually, rap hasn’t changed.

Rap has always been the same things – having fun, talkin bout pussy, talkin bout drugs, talkin bout knowledge, talkin bout spirituality. There’s only four or five things we can talk about as human beings anyway. C’mon dude, let’s be real. That’s the only thing I want America to do. You know good and well if George Zimmerman was Black and Trayvon Martin was white, he would have been in jail two minutes after the police got there, but nobody will admit that if Trayvon was white this whole thing would be different. Until America admits that, then what the fuck are we really talking about?

AB: I want to end this interview on a positive note because there’s been a lot of emotionally charged material we’ve discussed. You’ve seen and done a lot; where has been the most interesting place music has taken you?

DB: Strokers in Atlanta.

AB: You took it full circle back to titties, didn’t you?

DB: {*laughs*} Lemme tell you something. Honestly, I was in Congress (to speak), I’m going to Harvard (to speak), and vicariously this came through hip-hop. I’ve been in Australia, Germany, London, I’ve touched (the remains of) the Berlin Wall, I’ve been to Shanghai, I may have the opportunity to go to space because of being a rapper. I’ve been in nine movies. As much as I’d like to think it’s because I’m a great actor, which I am becoming, the truth is it had a lot to do with me being David Banner. I’m not going to act like it didn’t. That’s why I’m so thankful and so appreciative of my opportunity, and that’s the reason why I sign the autographs and stay after the shows and appreciate my fans. God has blessed me so much, and as much as people see me, and I do have a tendency to be intense at times, I’m very thankful. I’m very humbled by what I’ve seen and the girls that I’ve been around, and the titties I have touched, under the guise of David Banner. I’ve worked beside Andre3000, Rakim and 2Pac. I’ve worked with every artist I’ve ever wanted to work with in my life. I produced a record for Quincy Jones. I’ve done cartoons. I’ve been in video games. Everything that I’ve put on my bucket list I’ve actually done. No bullshit. Maybe not to the level that I’ve wanted to do em all, but I’ve done everything in my life that I’ve ever wanted to do.

David Banner 106

What is your reaction to the Sean Bell verdict?

I think it’s some bullshit. America is really showing poor people where they stand. They play us with racism, but really it’s about poor people. They’re taking our rights away. Our First Amendment rights are basically dried up, because if you speak your mind they’ll get you with “inciting a riot.” They’ll shoot Diallo 41 times, turn around and shoot Sean Bell 51 times and say, “Fuck you. What you gonna about it?” So what are you gonna do? That’s the question I ask people. Gangster rappers are only gangster toward themselves. They’re not gangster toward cops, toward pedophiles, toward anybody but themselves. I don’t want to talk, and I don’t want to march. If we’re gonna march, then let’s walk to these cops’ houses and do something then.

Do you have a favorite presidential candidate?

Obama, and I’ll tell you why. McCain wants to keep the war going. And if he wants, he’ll reinstate the draft. We’re fucking with these people, but they’ve been fighting themselves for thousands of years. If we keep it up, they’ll be bombing our kids’ kids’ kids. So McCain is out. Hillary’s platform was “change.” How is it change when you start with Bush’s daddy, then you go to your husband Bill Clinton, then the son for another eight years, and now you? Bill Clinton and Bush Sr. have a non-profit organization together, so their families are really tight. That ain’t change! They play the race card, the female card, every different card that they possibly can. Obama is telling the most truth. He might be a part of the system, too, but I don’t know.

You spoke in front of Congress last year. How did that come about?

I was invited to speak about stereotypes of black culture. It was one of the highlights of my career to be able to speak for black people, poor people, our generation, hip-hop, and to do it well. I saw the surprise in their eyes that a young black man who is a rapper can be so articulate and so dashing. I had a $5,000 suit on, damn it!

Did it make you reconsider your music and your message?

Nah. Let me tell you this: They’ve been fighting dogs for as long as they’ve been fighting black people. In Mississippi, white people have been fighting dogs right in the street and in the woods even before I was born, but when Michael Vick does it, it’s the be-all and end-all of dog fighting. People have been pimping and hoeing since back in England, but when Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent are pimping, that’s some bullshit. The Latin Kings, the Crips, the Bloods were around before rap music, but now we are the reason all these problems are there.

I’m a study of history. I’m a study of people. This country was built on lies. They don’t want to clean up what is happening in the streets; they just want us to shut up about it.

What are your thoughts on Nas’ new album title, Nigger?

I respect it. But we shouldn’t be the ones addressing these issues. Anybody who is surprised that Nas has something either spiritual or intellectual behind his work is a fool. You know Nas has something behind it. When has he not had something dope, twisted, intellectual, and well thought out behind a record he has done? Nas couldn’t be stupid if he wanted to. It’s gotta be more.

About Vic Da Rula

What more can I say? I enjoy Hip Hop, Sports, and living the good life! var a2a_config = a2a_config || {}; a2a_config.linkname = "Escobar300(Covering Hip Hop Culture, Sports, and Events)"; a2a_config.linkurl = "";
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