Okayplayer Interview: David Banner x Malcolm X, 2M1 Movement + Sex, Drugs & Violence
Not many in hip-hop have the range and depth needed to excel in the booth, the Senate chamber, the streets, and on the forefront and the frontline of the culture. It takes a multifaceted individual, an all-purpose man, if you will. Who else but one David Banner would have the mutated DNA needed to morph into a beastly being that takes matters into his own hands and gets things done by any means necessary, but for undoubtedly good purposes.
In a world that seemingly grows bleaker by the minute, It’s refreshing to hear that David Banner gives a damn –about hip-hop culture, the poor, Katrina, and artists creative and financial control of their work. That’s the factor that sets Banner apart from his musically one-dimensional peers. The content of his music is but one layer of his being. There is more depth and texture to the makeup of this dude. Just scratch the surface and his core–activist, entrepreneur, go-hard MC, hip-hop analyst, enforcer–becomes visible.
Don’t judge Banner by his lyrics for they are simply a façade through which he makes an inroads to your mind and soul; a tool through which to reel you in, a method used by the man to connect, inform and uplift. OKP recently had a chance to catch up with Banner and learn more about his new project, his passion for social justice and more.
OKP: Could you elaborate on the symbolism behind the title of your new project, “Sex, Drugs, and Videogames (SDV)?”
DB: First of all bruh, I want to thank you for what you’re doing today. This movement means a whole lot to me. SDV refers to the fact that in reference to American society, people from urban surroundings get so involved in sex, drugs, and violence. A lot of us have the feeling that its free thought. But see, in the song “Swag,” I said everybody in my city pushing keys, if that’s all these kids see, that’s the only thing they hear, and that’s the only thing they’ll be.
All we get is violence, and we 70 years old and we’re into violence. It’s as if the label pushes this violence on us without any balance. What do you think will be on our minds? If all we hear is that we’re n**gas and bitches, and we don’t hear that we’re Kings and Queens. Inherently that’s all that our children will aspire to be—is n**gas and bitches.
If you hear a lie enough times, your brain will begin to believe that it’s true. So SDV asks the question, “If life is truly a video game, who really has the controller?”
I’m giving my fans the songs that they want to hear from me. Why do we love to hear ourselves being downgraded. Why do we love to hear the negative situations that we see in our lives daily? I’m not trying to make sense of it, I’m not giving any solutions, I’m just tossing the question. What’s really controlling the way that we think?
OKP: That’s pretty deep, I hear you all the way around. Now from a content perspective, what’s a unique personality trait of this project?
DB: It’s Jammin’! (laughter) We’re going to get to the movement behind it, because there’s an underlying meaning, but at the end of the day if you strip all of that down, it’s jammin’.
OKP: You’re straight to the point, I like that.
DB: We wonder why kids listen to certain things, because it’s jamming. At the end of the day I make it jam. I don’t care what anybody says about “Swag” it was jammin’! All the messages that were in that, and just to clear it up for everybody, that song was positive.
We’re even changing the business model. There is no [featured] single on this album, every-other-Wednesday we’re releasing a song, and on the alternate Wednesdays we’re dropping videos [Watch “Malcolm X–A Song To Me” below]. We’re coming each week with a new song, and each week the material gets progressively better.
Then they’re going to be like, Damn, David Banner! –And, Oooh look at the visuals and oooh look what he’s giving us and all he’s asking us for is a minimum donation of one dollar [click button at bottom to donate]. People have given one hundred dollars, a player from the L.A. Clippers pledged one thousand dollars, just off of the new business model. We’re trying to teach artists that if you’re smart enough to develop the material, then you’re smart enough to market and promote the album too.
OKP: Who was the player from the Clippers that donated one thousand dollars?
DB (Laughter) Ahhhh, I’m not sure if that man wants to be out there like that.
OKP: It’s not a negative action now. It’s not like it’s for a bad cause.
DB: Mo Williams.
OKP: Alright, Mo Williams, my man, my man. Now speaking of the “Believe” cut with BIG K.R.I.T-both of you share Mississippi roots and insightful lyrics. Is that what brought you together?
DB: It was a lot more than that. First of all, I’m proud of K.R.I.T., I’m proud that the person that came after me shares so many similar views [as mine]. From him being a producer, to him being a God-fearing man—being political in a sense that he wants to see the poverty-stricken do better. He wants to be the spokesperson for them. He’s a person who wants to make sure that the music is here for the kids when our time passes. He’s a respectful and respected man. He has a level of respect for me, and I definitely have a level of respect for him.
As much as people try to pit black entertainers against one another, because of the underlying feeling that there can’t be two of us, or, all of us can’t do well. That’s what hurts rap the most, the fact that none of us are fighting to protect the door of those who run our industry. It’s enough money for all of us.
OKP: More than enough.
DB Once there were 30 or 40 rap groups and solo acts doing their thing (in various styles/flavors) at the same time.
OKP: Yeah, that was a beautiful thing. Who has the biggest influence on the hip-hop industry, and how do they use that power?
DB: What do you mean?
OKP: I mean from a control standpoint—you talked about who holds the controller, who holds it as far as trends and such?