David Banner: The Soul Of A Man Pt. 2

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 […]

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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

for you?

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

really about.

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.