Published on June 25th, 2017 | by Landon Buford1
David Banner talks about his inspiration behind ‘The God Box’ and more
In 1998, David Banner (@davidbanner) along with several of his friends sent some demo tapes to Jackson, Mississippi radio station, WJMI. The following year, Banner and rapper Kamikaze as the duo, Crooked Lettaz, released Grey Skies (Penalty Recordings). In 2000, Banner released his solo debut album, Them Firewater Boyz, Vol. 1. Released on the independent label, Big Face Records, the album sold approximately 7,000 copies. When the album’s single, “Like a Pimp”, got a radio hit, Banner began to attract major label interest.
In 2000, Banner released his solo debut album, Them Firewater Boyz, Vol. 1. Released on the independent label, Big Face Records, the album sold approximately 7,000 copies. When the album’s single, “Like a Pimp”, got a radio hit, Banner began to attract major label interest.
After assessing various offers, Banner and manager, Scott Johnson, decided to sign with Universal Records subsidiary, SRC Records, which was set up by Steve Rifkind, who had previous success as CEO of the heavyweight hip-hop label, Loud Records. Also in 2003, Banner produced T.I.’s single, “Rubberband Man”, which reached #30 on the Hot 100, #15 on the R&B chart, and #11 on the Rap chart. In 2003, Banner released his first major label album, Mississippi: The Album. Mississippi included the hit single, “Like a Pimp”, featuring Lil Flip. “Like a Pimp” peaked at #48 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, #15 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, and #10 on the Hot Rap Tracks chart. He released the follow-up album the same year titled MTA2: Baptized in Dirty Water which yielded the hit, “Crank It Up”, featuring Static Major.
In 2003, Banner produced T.I.’s single, “Rubberband Man”, which reached #30 on the Hot 100, #15 on the R&B chart, and #11 on the Rap chart. In addition, Banner released his first major label album, Mississippi: The Album. Mississippi included the hit single, “Like a Pimp”, featuring Lil Flip. “Like a Pimp” peaked at #48 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, #15 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, and #10 on the Hot Rap Tracks chart. He released the follow-up album the same year titled MTA2: Baptized in Dirty Water which yielded the hit, “Crank It Up”, featuring Static Major.
During 2005, Banner released his third major label album, Certified. The album’s first single was “Ain’t Got Nothing” which featured Magic & Lil Boosie, followed by the second single, “Play”, which reached #7 on the Hot 100 chart, #5 on the R&B chart, and #3 on the Rap chart. The third single, “Touching”, featured Jazze Pha and reached #54 on the R&B chart. In 2006, Banner appeared on “Seein’ Thangs”, a song about Hurricane Katrina featured on DJ Shadow’s album “The Outsider”. A remix featuring Bay Area hyphy rappers Nump and Gold were created. Outside projects for Banner have included writing the theme song for the video game, Saints Row, as well as conducting to the music for a commercial promoting the video game, Marvel vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds.
The Hype Magazine recently had the opportunity to speak with The God Box artist what is next for his Lecture Series and what the inspired him to create The God Box Album. The full interview with David Banner can be seen below!
What was your inspiration behind your latest project “The God Box”?
It was less to find a way to make this new level of consciousness that I have been able to achieve or tap into to make it make sense musically. I hear a lot of records where people are trying to take their thoughts to another level does not make sense musically as far as current content. So, I wanted to create something that even if the audience did or didn’t understand the material it was still jamming. If you listen to the song “Black Fist” the beat might distract you to the point where you might not know that the song is about social change.
Why was it so important for you to visit some of these smaller cities to teach during the God Box Lecture Series?
It was so Important for me to start in these smaller cities because I’m from Jackson Mississippi and people do not visit these smaller cities. They are the ones that need help the most and places like Birmingham Alabama and Jackson Mississippi are the same places where our people died fighting for equality. People like Martin Luther King Jr. and Elijah Muhammad who is from Georgia is where our families originated from and where they are the most oppressed and that is why I decided to concentrate on these places. This is bigger than just music and selling a record.
What are some of the things you are hoping to do next with the God Box Lecture Series?
I really want to bring all the aspects of the god box series together and create something that people have not seen before. The God Box is also an art exhibit we have an art depiction to every song on the album. I would like to make a healthy synthesis of the lecture and the music. Not everyone is a fan of hip-hop, but I want to find a cohesive way to deliver the art to all ages and cultures.
Can you tell about some of the responses you received from your older albums in comparisons to this album regarding your fan base?
Throughout my whole career, I wanted to be respected as a lyricist and consider as a top lyricist in the game. Anytime you are from the south and you don’t try to rap like you are from somewhere else people do not listen to you. For instance, I believe Juvenile was a lyricist, but because he had such a southern draw people never respected him.
Think about the southern artists that they respect they still have a southern accent, but they sound like they are from New York. The album the God Box those is receiving feedback of being one of the greatest albums ever and I’m receiving the recognition for being a lyricist. These are things that I have always wanted and the timing is right. One of criticism I give about talent, in general, is we give people OG stats and other titles when they do not have a lot of content to back it up. Take Lebron James for example, everyone was comparing him to Michael Jordan before he won a championship or even before he left high school.
The problem that we don’t understand as black people is that by doing that we degrade the culture. Being labeled the best should not be an easy task it should be something you strive for your whole to achieve. What we don’t understand our culture has been bought by commercialism and there is no money in the concept that Jordan is the greatest ever to the NBA because he is not playing anymore. Every generation will have the next man up because they are trying to sell tickets and merchandise, but it does nothing for the culture.
What is your favorite single off The God Box Project and Why?
I would have to say Judy Blare because I am a fan of Indy rock music and I was really cool with the group called All Time Low and the lead singer told something that I never thought about and that was rappers can go from one thought to the next in the matter of seconds which it takes them an hour to discuss that range of topics in regards, to a vocal standpoint. In addition, rappers can say what they want to. I myself feel that same way about rock music with the way they change the time signature. He said he likes the way we can elaborate the things we what to say, but we are constricted to how far we can push the envelope. A lot of people forget that Black people created rock music and I feel it’s my responsibility to teach people that rap and rock were created by us. Before the negative is changed over time.
What has been the response regarding both your Lecture Series and the album?
It has been an awesome period in my life not only on a personal level but as far as, a business perspective that my own company put this material out. The response has really been a blessing from the fans.