David Banner has thought of a master plan, one he believes can change hip-hop and the music industry overall.
The veteran Mississippi MC is giving away his upcoming album, Sex, Drugs & Video Games on May 22, for free. The LP features the likes of Lil Wayne, A$AP Rocky, Chris Brown, Snoop Dogg, Game, Nipsey Hussle, Bun B, 2 Chainz, and Maino. Banner plans on releasing 16 songs and 16 videos off the project, all out of his own pocket. He launched the movement back on March 14, dropping “Believe,” his lead single with fellow Magnolia State representative Big K.R.I.T. He’s been alternating between dropping new records and videos every Wednesday since, including today’s release of “Californication,” his monster cut with Snoop Dogg, Game, Ras Kass and Nipsey Hussle. (That’s right, he got Game and Ras Kass on the same record together.) In return of the free effort, Banner’s asking for two million fans to donate $1 each.
“When I get these two million people that I’m talking about, we won’t need to market, we won’t need to beg,” Banner told XXLMag.com. “We’re trying to raise the stakes. I had an L.A Clippers give $1,000. I’ve had several people give $100, I’ve had several people give $50. I have this one girl, in particular, who gives $5 every week and I thought it was cute because she says, ‘I don’t have much money, David Banner, but I definitely want to contribute to the movement.’”
Banner says he’ll reinvest a bulk of the money raised into his music and a possible movie, with the remainder going toward his staff and a charity of his choosing. The point?
To empower rappers and show them that they don’t need record labels pulling the strings to their careers and earnings.
Here, XXLMag.com talks to Banner about his movement, why the title Sex, Drugs & Video Games, and his collabo with Big K.R.I.T. on the project.—Mark Lelinwalla (@XX_Mark)
XXLMag.com: Why are you doing a free album with donations?
David Banner: One of the things that has deteriorated in hip-hop is the concept of free goods. Free goods was supposed to be a way to bait people in, not give them so much free material that they don’t even know what to do with it. It’s one of the reasons why you don’t see so many hip-hop people in commercials because we’re not getting the money back. We have a generation of kids who haven’t bought a hip-hop record because everything is free. So you think about it from a sexual standpoint—a piece of ass that we didn’t work for, we never call back. Imagine the greatest albums in history if they were for free. That being said, it’s a free album with a donation. A lot of people would feel like it’s a contradiction of terms.
So why do it?
The biggest thing for me is keeping this platform and underground movement of people, who we can keep in contact with and go directly to. Once I get these two million people, I’m not looking anywhere else. Every time I drop an album, I’ll have two million people with me who give me a $1 every time. The album has nine, 10 of your favorite artists. This is a movement. We’re going to keep hitting them and keep hitting them ’till the album drops.
Why should people donate the $1?
All I’m asking is to donate $1. The funny thing about it is people will still complain. We’ll give Gucci and Louis Vuitton thousands and thousands of dollars, but then not hold them accountable for not being part of our community. We give away millions of dollars of free advertising. Why not help build something that can sustain our culture? If you can’t give that $1, it shows where hip-hop is and where it’s headed.
If this is successful, how will it change hip-hop’s landscape?
When I get these two million people that I’m talking about, we won’t need to market, we won’t need to beg. Record companies are going to be giving me money to stop it. It’s never been done this way [in hip-hop]. It’s way bigger than music. It’s political.
Why the album title Sex, Drugs & Video Games?
Because I had a friend of mine telling me: “The names of your albums are always something that people don’t get. This time, I think you should explain what it means.” I was trying to find a way to give people the music they really wanted from me. I’m giving you bangers. It’s giving people what they want, but I’m asking questions. If life is really a video game, who has the controls? During the interludes and some [parts] of the album, we’re posing questions, but then we’re going back to jamming.
Was it a thrill to start the movement with a song with your fellow Mississippi MC, Big K.R.I.T.?
I had to go back home and that’s powerful to go back home like that. While I was back home in Mississippi, I did a song with all underground artists from Mississippi. It was amazing. People tried their best when we came out to pit us against each other. Why can’t there be two people from Mississippi? Why can’t there be fucking 40 of them? Me and K.R.I.T. are showing that solidarity. I hope to lead [as an] example.