David Banner: Straight From Mississippi
The fire breathing emcee (literally) made his debut with the group Crooked Lettaz in 1999 on Penalty Recordings. The groups debut was critically hailed and with no Soundscan to match. Hip-Hopper loved it, Southerners and the streets couldnt feel. Disenchanted with the direction of the group the member MUTUALLY split and Banner retreated to his Southern roots, takin to streets like a madman and selling a stupid amount of units while generating huge buzz at radio.
By the time David was ready to drop his sophomore album, Like A Pimp was taking off a radio regionally. Steve Rifkind, who had just launched his new company, SRC, caught wind of the David Banners numbers and made Mississippi: The Album their first release and Banner a possible 10 million dollar man. How you luv that?
Besides the scenery and the accents, the Bay and the South have a lot in common like independence and being hated on by the rest of the rap world that is New York. So I feel you on this whole Mississippi: The Album concept.
Per capita Mississippi sells more records than other place in the United States. A lot of times when Record companies do research, they do research here. I just found that out. And even deeper than, this where our, well-African Americans- f*ckin roots are. In the cartoon The Lion, Witch, and The Wardrobe, there was something in that movie that was so dope and Im gonna make that parallel in this interview. The Lion was the good guy and the Witch said that she went back to the beginning of time and knew everything and thought she could kill the Lion. The Lion said you didnt do enough research; I come from when there was nothing. Before there were trees, before she was around, when everything was black. The parallel between music and that is were (Mississippi and the greater South) from the place where they dropped us off
of the boat. We started Hip-Hop, contemporary American Black music. So lets go past the independent thing, lets talk about a respect factor. You know how they say kids dont respect their elders? Its time to spank they little asses and say if you dont respect us, then were not buying your music, punk If you wanna take it even deeper, they didnt even respect the West Coast til Westside Connection came out and said bow down. And then all you was East and West and still subliminally they puttin East before West.
Lets go back to the contemporary Black music thing. Youve said you dont do Hip-Hop, you do Black music. Universal gave you a large sum of money that they plan on recouping and to do that white people kinda, sorat gotta buy the album too. Do you think that statement is gonna turn people off?
If white kids wanted something cute, theyd go and listen to they music. White kids love NWA, do your history. White kids love Public Enemy. They can travel vicariously through our CD. I am really what they want. They we never have an understanding of our pain. I have a very huge white fan base; fifty percent of my sales are from white males age 14-24.
Thats real. Your on-stage persona is so f*ckin crazy, and yet in person youre so down to Earth, intelligent and business savvy. Wasnt that who David Banner was in real life?
Yeah, I guess so. Youre Crooked Lettaz material was very East Coast Hip-Hop based and your solo stuff is the signature crunk southern sound.
What made you come back to your roots?
Ive always been that way. Bone Crusher told me one time that I had the crunkest show that hed ever seen, but that my music doesnt match that. He told me I had to make my music match my persona.
Howd your deal with Steve Rifkind come about?
He saw my Soundscan (a database that tracks record sales). He said that he didnt have to hear my song or like my music. He said he hasnt seen anything like my work ethic in his life. Ive only slept in my bed one time in the last four months. Thats how Ima kill this rappers.
Rikind has been receiving a lot bad press from his former artists like dead prez, how does that make you feel about your situation with Steve?
I dont care. I love him to death. Ima hold him downperiod. Im his first artist since the Loud situation-where he sold 87 million records. He believed in me and my stateIma hold him down until I die.
Do ever wear anything other than a Mississippi t-shirt? Does the state of Mississippi sponsor you?
I sponsor them whether they sponsor me or not, because subliminally our kids wanna be like everyone else but themselves. Look on TV, nobody talk like us, but most of the United States is where we from. Thats subliminally tellin us we not good enough.