David Banner: The Interview
If you didn’t know, David Banner is deep. After dropping his fourth studio album, Greatest Story Ever Told, Banner said he felt trapped musically. With an album that debuted at #8 on Billboard and hits such as “Get Like Me” and “9mm,” it was obvious he wasn’t struggling to find an audience. To him, music was all starting to sound the same. Music videos looked the same. Rappers were acting the same, and he wanted to break away from that.
“I was just in a really funny place emotionally,” the Mississippi MC said. “I just felt like the music had not been about the people and the spirit of the music. Music really had turned just into selling.”
Are we seeing a new David Banner? One that is no longer about the money, the cars, the women?
“Don’t get me wrong I love selling. I love money.”
But Banner was looking to do something different. He saw the guys that were coming out in the industry and felt that the art form of rap was being tainted. It was becoming too easy to become an artist because there was no art being produced. Banner began to question the state of contemporary music.
“If music continues down the path it’s going down now, it’s going to be nearly impossible for there to be another Michael Jackson, Usher, Prince or Chris Brown or someone of that stature.”
Bring in 9th Wonder, a man known for his smooth, soulful production style, and the two collaborated on an album that will be a movement in the rap game. Called Death of a Pop Star, Banner understands that the sound that people hear on this album will not be the typical David Banner sound. He realizes that this LP may not be the best business decision after coming off a mega-hit single such as “Get Like Me,” but he wanted to do something more with his music.
“I just want people to see David Banner and 9th Wonder, they see the Death of a Pop Star brand and they know they’re going to get quality. They’re going to get something that means something. Just know when you see that brand, you see quality and you see soul.”
During late 2009, reports came out that Banner and 9th Wonder were collaborating on a mix tape that would be given out to the public for free. By June 2010, Banner made the decision to turn Pop Star into a full studio album and charge the public for the music.
“Mix tapes were never meant to be the end result,” Banner said. “People feel like they should get something for free. And when people feel like they should get something for free, you’re no longer an artist. You’re a philanthropist – with no money.”
Death of a Pop Star reflects on the state of rap and the world. According to Banner, the rap game is crumbling because it is reflecting upon a crumbling country. To him, music is a reflection of the people. When the country isn’t pushing positivity, music is reflecting those feelings.
“If you notice when America was making more money, people were talking about what? Ballin’. They was talking about partying. The problem is, people never want to tell the truth about what is going on in their life. We want to talk about what Chris Brown is doing but we won’t talk about the politics of our city.”
Banner has known Breezy since he broke onto the scene as a 16-year-old kid. And he still supports Brown as he attempts to come back to prominence after his fall from grace last February after the Rihanna incident.
“The thing that people don’t understand about Chris is that he was a child growing up and being a man in the music industry with everyone’s eyes on him. The thing I tell him is to never duck your head for the decisions that you make. No man or no woman should have to be sorry to nobody but who you feel you were wrong to and to God. Everyone else, they’re not God. Once people stop feeling that because they paid $9.99 or 99 cents for a record that they own the right to judge a man, then I think we’ll all be a little better.”
As he discusses the legacy of one star in the music industry, Banner shares what he hopes people will say about him years after he is gone.
“I just want to leave a man who was not scared to show all aspects of who he was as an artist. He was a man that cared about people and where he came from. He was a good dude but not one to be taken lightly.”
With Death of a Pop Star dropping later this summer, Banner will be switching gears and giving his loyal fans the music they have been waiting for with a new album called The Trinity Movement. People who were expecting Banner to come out with more hits like “Like a Pimp,” “Get Like Me” and “Play” will not be disappointed.
“The Trinity Movement incorporates the trinity of who I am – whether it’s the business cat, whether it’s the street cat or whether it’s the college cat. Usually people have three sides to their personality and that’s what this album is going to be about. You have the radio David Banner, the spiritual David Banner and you have the street side of David Banner. And they’re all just as relevant to who I am as a person.”
Describing who David Banner is as a person would be as complicated and diverse as his latest album but Banner made it easy and summed it up in one line.
“At the end of the day, I want people to say he was a very rich man. Like ‘Damn that boy had people!’”
About Ryan Lytle
Ryan Lytle is currently a producer, reporter, and social media strategist for U.S. News & World Report in Washington, D.C. Whether by accident, or not, Ryan has attained a diverse set of skills in variety of work environments: video at Cincinnati.com, multimedia at The Washington Post, television production at NBC's The TODAY Show, social media at MTV Networks, and all of the above at U.S. News. With this blog, Ryan shares his knowledge and experiences working in the professional world.
20. July 2010 by Ryan Lytle
Categories: Entertainment, Music | Tags: 9th Wonder, Chris Brown, David Banner, Death of a Pop Star, Get Like Me, Like a Pimp, Michael Jackson, MTV, MTV TJ, Play, Prince, Ryan Lytle, Usher | 8 comments