David Banner
Can’t Tell Me Nothin’

banner1.jpgDavid Banner’s seen a lot during his time in the game. Originally one-half of the duo Crooked Lettaz, Banner made his debut alongside fellow Mississippi rapper Kamikaze with 1999’s Grey Skies. Released through East Coast-based Penalty Records, the Southern fried record barely made a dent in SoundScan charts. The following year, Banner broke out on his own with Them Firewater Boyz, Vol. 1 (Big Face Records), which featured appearances by Ras Kass and N.O.R.E. and sold over 7,000 units independently. National prominence didn’t come until 2003, when the MC/producer released two solid albums—Mississippi: The Album and MTA2: Baptized in Dirty Water—on Universal Records. Containing hits like “Like a Pimp” and “Cadillac on 22s,” Mississippi easily earned a gold plaque, while MTA2 stalled out around 280,000 units. Going on to produce records for other artists like Nelly (“E.I. [Tipdrill Remix]”) and Trick Daddy (“Thug Holiday”), Banner returned to rap with 2005’s Certified. Spearheaded by the overly-commercial lead single “Play” and overshadowed by the impact of Hurricane Katrina, the album sold a paltry 327,000 units. Regardless of sales figures, Banner’s accomplishments speak for themselves: a slew of production credits, a budding acting career (last year he played opposite Samuel L. Jackson in Black Snake Moan), a critically acclaimed Cartoon Network series, That Crook’d ’Sipp, and humanitarian work through his charity organization, Heal The Hood. Now, the outspoken MC says he’s crafted one of the best albums of 2007 with Greatest Story Ever Told, which is due out this October through SRC/Universal. A month after the passing of his father, Zeno Crump Jr., Banner speaks with XXLMag.com about the high expectations for Greatest Story Ever Told, the continued impact of Hurricane Katrina on the South and reveals his controversial political stance.

What can we expect from your new album, Greatest Story Ever Told?
It’s funny because I actually got a “Negro Please” in XXL when I said that I was gonna have one of the greatest albums in recent history. I honestly think I got the best rap album in the last three years.

That’s a pretty bold statement.
I’m a humble guy. I come from Mississippi, so people have the tendency not to give me my just due. And I’m not taking that this year. I got money [but] I was never the type of person to display that. I always wanted to be the humble guy ’cause your parents tell you when you’re humble; those are the guys that win. That ain’t true. I just realized this year that I gotta play the game. I’ma show these cats I got more talent and money than most of these dudes. Some cats may out-rhyme me and there’s a couple of cats that maybe can do better beats, but I don’t think there’s a better package than me.

Do you anticipate any backlash for this new cocky outlook?
It’s crazy, because people criticized T.I. when he said he was the king. Now what’s everybody calling him? When Lil Wayne said he was the “best rapper alive since the best rapper retired,” everybody gave him flack. Now what’s everybody sayin’? It’s like God spoke the world into fruition and I’ma have to do the same. This is the Greatest Story Ever Told. I don’t think there’s any writer who can look me in the eyes as a man, not lie and say I don’t have one of the best albums in recent history. They can put my album up against any XXL [rated] album.

Why do you think your last album, Certified, didn’t sell as well as you would’ve liked?
Certified had more to do with [Hurricane] Katrina. People forget that Certified dropped the Tuesday Katrina happened. [Editor’s note: Hurricane Katrina actually made landfall in New Orleans on August 29, 2005. Certified wasn’t released until September 20, 2005.] What you also gotta understand is when I went out there, as much as I was on TV, did you ever hear me talk about Certified? I never did. That wasn’t important to me. I thought people were gonna come back and say, “Damn, David Banner stood up and did the right thing, we gonna support him.” People didn’t do that.

Does the general public understand the conditions Hurricane Katrina survivors are still living in?
They don’t, and to be real with you, they really don’t give a fuck. Katrina didn’t hit New Orleans, my nigga. The eye of Katrina hit Mississippi! It was the residuals from Katrina that New Orleans caught. What happened was, millions of dollars were allocated to the rebuilding of the levees in New Orleans. The local government in New Orleans only used half of that to patch up the levees. If the money that was allocated for the levees would’ve really been used to rebuild the levees, New Orleans would still be what it was before.

Is the government really trying to improve the Black experience in this country?
Of course not. We all know that. And what we have to understand is people in the government and their friends—the hierarchy—they make money from our pain. I’ll give you an example: in LA, there’s some type of elephants, I don’t know what they are, either albino or something. They’re spending like $16 million to build a sanctuary for two rare elephants, but they’ll only give $1 to 3 million to stop gang violence or give people in the inner city money so kids will have something to do. The truth is America wants to continuously keep our people at anarchy so it will hide the things that they’re doing [and] so we don’t have time to focus on the real matters at hand.

What can Black folks do to combat that?
As long as Black people are keeping other Black people under control, it’s [gonna stay] cool. I’m not a big fan of Martin Luther King, Jr., and you can print this. Martin Luther King was telling niggas to stay under control. We shall overcome, be good, hold hands and shit. Fuck that. They not singing when they coming to beat our ass. The Ku Klux Klan don’t come and sing. I’m not saying Martin Luther King was a bad man. All I’m saying is that they only fleshed out the era of his life when he was keeping Black people under control. The reason he probably died was because him and Malcolm X were starting to believe the same thing. Malcolm was believing all White people weren’t bad and Martin Luther King realized they definitely ain’t all good. And that’s when they both died. Any of our leaders out here who stand for anything and they ain’t dead, they fed. That’s my shit: if you ain’t dead, you’re a fed.

What about Al Sharpton and his campaign to censor hip-hop?
Fuck Al Sharpton. And I hate Jesse Jackson. Anybody that got something to say about it, they can come see me. All the things that Al Sharpton could be talking about, all the woes in the Black community… Dude, if you don’t agree with what we do, come talk to us. Then they get up on TV in front of all these other people and they crucify their own children so you can get in good with your investors and the rest of these White people. And I’m very disappointed in our parents and the fact that they did the same thing with rock ‘n’ roll [and] jazz. Anything that’s not church music—which once again keeps us under control—then it’s the devil’s music. That’s bullshit!

Saigon recently said in an interview with XXLMag.com that he wanted to talk to you about changing the title of your album, Greatest Story Ever Told, because it’s similar to his upcoming LP, The Greatest Story Never Told. What’s your take on the situation?
I don’t really give a shit. I’m not trippin’. He do his thing, I do my thing. I didn’t get my album title from him [and] he didn’t get his from me. We were just thinking on the same levels around the same time. I’m cool with dude, but it ain’t really too much to be done. My shit is on its way. And I don’t think our markets cross enough for it to really be that much of a problem. And with me, dawg, we have a tendency to fall into some shit and people want to make it something bigger than what it is. It ain’t that big of a deal. If dude wants to find me, he knows how to get at me.

  • Holla

    Wow, great interview.

  • derfla the hus’la

    They’re spending like $16 million to build a sanctuary for two rare elephants, but they’ll only give $1 to 3 million to stop gang violence or give people in the inner city money so kids will have something to do. The truth is America wants to continuously keep our people at anarchy so it will hide the things that they’re doing [and] so we don’t have time to focus on the real matters at hand.

    ^^^^^
    real talk

    good interview dude spoke he’s mind “if you aint dead you a fed” lol, nail in the
    coffin

  • brebre

    I DIDN’T KNOW BANNER PRODUCED TRICK’S “THUG HOLIDAY”. THAT’S A WHOLE ‘NOTHER LOOK. THE DUDE GOT SOME RANGE.

  • triplesixninja

    props to david banner. real talk

  • BlackGenius

    That’s what I’m talkin bout somebody talkin real shit and not that nonsense 99% of your favorite rappers talk.

  • Zway7

    David Banner really spoke the truth in this interview. He done lost his mind though sayin fuck al sharpton, but oh well. he brought up some good points and i agree with them.

  • cee dat

    Man David Banner always talking some real shit. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton aren’t really about shit but that money. Not too long ago some brothers got caught up on some bull in Indiana and once it was known that they couldn’t pay the N.A.A.C.P. lawyers he was gone…So it’s really like this forget Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and the N.A.A.C.P.

  • Art

    great fucking interview – classic shit xxl

  • http://www.rich-arte.blogspot.com Rich Arte

    David Banner is the realest out there. He speakin from pain and desperation. He is for the people

    David Banner for president 2012!!!!

  • Scrilla

    mayn dats wuts up..david banner is da shit..hes an intelligent dude, who under rated n underappreciated, dudes got ma respect cuz he tells it like it is..he always comes with dat real talk..n hes an amazin producer too..he dunt talk shit like alot of otha rappers how they got all da money hoes, n biggist guns, n how they da biggist gangsta..david banner keeps its real..n ill bet it will be 1 of da best albums this year…

  • JohnnyBlaze

    Saigon got punked

  • http://www.xxlmag.com Kareem

    Damn first time nobody hatin & Banner you really doin your thang & I Co Sign Banner For President

  • livefromthe225

    banner been political…he raised hell as sga prez @ our alma matter Southern U. and he’s still kickin up dust…he’s also a real personable dude if u ever meet him

  • Freddy(Vega$)

    WOW! David B is on some real shit right there but I have to say that Siagon is going to sell more records than this nigga, I hope the cockyness dont backfire tho, I like both them niggaz but Sai is the truth. Big ups to David B!…..CURTIS…..

  • 92FS

    Much respect to David Banner for this interview!

  • BLAQBOI

    BEST INTERVIEW I’VE SEEN HERE IN A LONG TIME…I CO-SIGN EVERYTHING THAT BANNER SAID..FUCK AL AND JESSE!! I BEEN SAYIN DAT SHIT FOR YEARS..THE ONLY TIME U SEE THEM DUDES IS WHEN MONEY CAN BE MADE ON THERE BEHALF..THEM DUDES DONT UNDERSTAND POVERTY OR BEING WITHOUT…I FUCKS WIT D. BANNER.NO HOMO

  • Trizzle

    wasn’t bad

  • that guy

    good interview
    xxlmag.com > any hip-hop website

  • DADE COUNTY 305

    THIS NIGGA BANNER BEEN ON SOME REAL SHIT FROM DAY 1. THIS NIGGA GOT IT ALL! MUSIC, COLLEGER DEGREE AND ON SOME REAL POLITIC SHIT!!! I BUY BANNAER SHIT AND HE WILL SELL A LOT BCUZ THE SOUTH GOT HIS BACK 200%. KEEP SPEAKIN THAT REAL BANNER.

  • Black

    This some real talk right here…And much respect to him for setting up the heal the hood foundation
    He’s proof that you can do good for yourself and others and keep it real in the true sense of the word.I’ll continue to buy yo shit Banner Peace

  • http://xxlmag.com DARK

    I aint really a big banner fan but he defenitally on some reel shit good interveiw respect to banner.

  • http://xxlmag.com DARK

    Of course not. We all know that. And what we have to understand is people in the government and their friends—the hierarchy—they make money from our pain. I’ll give you an example: in LA, there’s some type of elephants, I don’t know what they are, either albino or something. They’re spending like $16 million to build a sanctuary for two rare elephants, but they’ll only give $1 to 3 million to stop gang violence or give people in the inner city money so kids will have something to do. The truth is America wants to continuously keep our people at anarchy so it will hide the things that they’re doing [and] so we don’t have time to focus on the real matters at hand.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    to fuckin ture wit dat shit its reel bad out here in LA black brothas dyin over red and blue n the racial violence wit blacks n mexicans is gettin out of control very tru wit dat shit government could give a fuck less if blacks is killin blacks or mexicans killin mexicans or blacks n mexicans shootin eachother up shit is fucked up.

  • Mario Olivieri

    I gotta thank XXL for providing us with a briefing on my dude david banner. As a new yorker I don’t really hear to much southern music but I have heard a couple from db. I feel like db(david banner)is one of those real take no shit type of dudes, I give homie alotta respect for dat. I think he needs better promoting cuz dude is sick and aint really being heard as he should. So to XXL mag on congragulate u on having u good eye on who or what hip hop really is. To db, homie stay up and keep doing the damn thing god sees you.

  • agee

    Wow. Talk about going in. Great interview.

  • Lano

    What the fu@k are you people talking about??
    This is probaly the most lying ass dude in rap, he said he wrote his last album about katrina and then turned around and said it came out the same day.The thing about this dude is that he’s smarter then he’s acting and he’s knows what he say’s in his raps are not the best thing for our hoods but he does it anyway those are the people you lose the most respect for.Hey on the real banner you know better stop acting like a fu%king uncle tom.You rap dudes are doing just what they want us to do divide and concore.So keep on talking this money while selling the rest of us down the river.STOP COONING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • KillJohnny

    Oh shit Saigon got punked! Yeah right Johhny Blaze!! You fucking idiot! How do You get punked in an interview?! Answer that bioootch! So I just punked You then right?! Asshole nobody got punked. Maybe you just got aired out and still have the opp to respond. Just like Sai still has time to respond. Fucking internet instigators!!

  • http://xxl.com DatNiggaBatista

    best interview ive read on xxl in a long time. that shit about the money for the elephants is dispicable. gov’t neva was for the betterment of black people since the biginning and until someone like banner gets in office it will only get worse. shouts out to the interviewer and david banner 4dis piece.have to agree with him on sharpton and jackson too. to bad this is a rapper talkin and not a gov’t official.who says hip hop is dead neva listened 2 david banner.preach on brotha hopefully somebody with a real position to change can get this piece…call him not the best rapper r whatever but like pimp c said dont nobody like medicine it dont taste good but i dam sho make u betta… Banner 4 President

  • http://xxl.com DatNiggaBatista

    best interview ive read on xxl in a long time. that shit about the money for the elephants is dispicable. gov’t neva was for the betterment of black people since the biginning and until someone like banner gets in office it will only get worse. shouts out to the interviewer and david banner 4dis piece.have to agree with him on sharpton and jackson too. to bad this is a rapper talkin and not a gov’t official.who says hip hop is dead neva listened 2 david banner.preach on brotha hopefully somebody with a real position to change can get this piece…call him not the best rapper r whatever but like pimp c said dont nobody like medicine it dont taste good but i dam sho make u betta… Banner 4 President

  • http://xxlmag.com BREBRE

    DAVID BANNER IS STILL NO 50CENT! KANYE SEPT 11!

  • lupe

    What the fu@k are you people talking about??
    This is probaly the most lying ass dude in rap, he said he wrote his last album about katrina and then turned around and said it came out the same day.The thing about this dude is that he’s smarter then he’s acting and he’s knows what he say’s in his raps are not the best thing for our hoods but he does it anyway those are the people you lose the most respect for.Hey on the real banner you know better stop acting like a fu%king uncle tom.You rap dudes are doing just what they want us to do divide and concore.So keep on talking this money while selling the rest of us down the river.STOP COONING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    you are an idiot… he said that the reason he didn’t sell had to do wit hurricane katrina..idiota

  • D-mise

    Man this takin me back to the last handful of songs on his last album CERTIFIED. this some hardcore political shit right here. I’m feel it XXL. Ya’ll should do more interviews like this. Here’s a hint… start interviewin more intelligent rappers like this nigga. And when you think bout it, David Banner do got the total package; no homo, you know as far as beats, song concepts, flows, and lyrics. Keep doin ya thang DB

  • NAWLEDGE

    GRETEST STORY EVER TOLD >>>>>>>>>>>> CURTIS?
    MAYBE…
    BANNER SPOKE THE TRUTH.

  • DJ M.O.B.

    MAN I’VE BEEN RIDING WITH BANNER SINCE CROOKED LETTAZ. I USED TO WORK @ AN INDEPENENT RECORD STORE NAME BEBOP RECORD SHOP IN JACKSON MS. SO I WATCHED BANNER COME UP. HE IS AN INTELLEGENT & HUMBLE GUY..& HE SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN THIS INTERVIEW. SO IF YOU HATING..JUST DO ME A FAVOR & KILL YOURSELF!!!!

    RIGHT ON TO THE REAL & DEATH TO THE FAKERS

  • bigbankhank

    FUck the CURTIS album that amusment park bullshit and str8 to the bank were both shitty songs, now he doing songs with robin thick and justin timberlake to get a different crowd. fuck that. Banner speak the truth my nigga. we dont need niggas like 5-0 in the game no more. we need more real niggas speaking real shit. kanye drop same day ass garbage 2 quarters album only way he going platinum if it coast 50 cent if he go plat then hiphop really is dead

  • doctor69

    I agree with david but disagree my late uncle was a bodyguard of Malcolm X and he was protrayed in the movie as the dude who caught one of the asassions and he didn’t die for you to say nigga or to call women bitches hoes or sling rocks second I agree about sharpton by why don’t the black community police ourselves this girl killed her child molesting stepfather who got what he deserved but in our hood her going to the police would be dubbed by the coons as snitching why not put and end to that dave instead of bigging up thugs ,hustlas and gangs but I’ll cop the album if he next interview clarify his statements

  • Stax On Deck

    Bout time somebody start speakin the truth. David Banner is TRILL (True and Real). The government is full shit, lies, and scandal. Vote Clinton or Obama for 08!

  • doeboi

    David Banner is da man!..

  • 11Kap

    In the beginning was the WORD. and the WORD was with God. And the WORD was GOD. Big up,David Banner! Word. Tell ‘em again!

  • Savannah Ga Repa

    David Banner Has Confirmed Everything Me And My Folks Talking Bout 4 Real A Ghetto Nat Turner,Marcus Garvey,Malcom X,Ali ETC…Man You Stand On What You Spoke My Niggga We Takin Our Hoods Back Al & Jessie And Nem Don’t Speak 4 Me And U Can Take That To Bank And Cash Jack Dis Our Music 1st Ammedment Right And Law If You Don’t Like It Change The Channel They Don’t Know Our Struggle Don’t Care My Nigga Still Have Fun Wit Yo Shit Keep Spitting Dat Truth No Matter Belief And Rep Da Hood Because We As Blacks Tend To Wanna Get Older And 4Get What Got Us There God And THE Streets Speak On It Peace Dirsty South NIGGAS 4 Life I Say Nigga Cause Im N.ever I.ggnorant G.Ettin G.oals A.ccomplished Tabernacle!!!

  • http://www.xxlmag.com RApId tOnGuE

    HEY YO, XXL MAGAZINE!!!I GOT AN IDEA THAT WILL MAKE YOUR MAGAZINE MORE INTERESTING!!YA’LL SHOULD HAVE AN ONLINE FREESTYLE BATTLES BETWEEN USERS AND PRINT THE BEST FREESTYLE ON YOUR MAGAZINE BY THE COMMENT SECTION!!!AFTERALL, XXL IS A HIP-HOP MAGAZINE!!MIGHT AS WELL SHOW SOME FREESTYLE TALENT ON THERE, RIGHT?

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