David Banner Aims to Change Hip-Hop’s Business Model

David Banner thinks that he’s come up with a formula that’s going to revolutionize hip-hop and the music business, overall.

“I’m about to change the business model,” the Mississippi MC recently told XXLMag.com. “Watch.”

For his upcoming free album, Sex, Drugs & Video Games, Banner plans on releasing 16 songs and 16 videos to go with them, all pro bono. What he’s asking for in return is for two million fans to donate at least $1 each.

Banner’s objective is to empower and teach rappers that they don’t need the backing of a record label to be successful.

“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 said. “We’re trying to raise the stakes. I had an LA Clipper 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.’”

The free album strategy has been used before in other music genres. English rock band Radiohead implemented the strategy with their 2007 album, In Rainbows, but Banner believes says he’s the first in hip-hop to do it.

While Banner understands the speed of the music culture these days because of the accessibility of the web, he believes flooding the net with content is cheapening the music. That’s why he’s asking for donations to his otherwise free album. The passionate rapper/producer says that he’ll dedicate a certain percentage of the donated money to his staff and another portion toward charity with the remainder being reinvested back into the music.

“You have no idea what I spent on this album,” Banner said of Sex, Drugs & Video Games, which features the likes of Lil Wayne, A$AP Rocky, Chris Brown, Snoop Dogg, Game, Nipsey Hussle, 2 Chainz, Bun B, Maino, Don Trip, Kardinal Offishall and Ras Kass.

Banner already began releasing records off the free album on the net, launching the movement with “Believe,” featuring fellow Mississippi MC Big K.R.I.T., on March 14.

The following Wednesday, Banner dropped the video for “Believe.” Concurrently, Banner will alternate drop a new song and video to go with it every Wednesday leading up to the May 22 release date of Sex, Drugs & Video Games. Last Wednesday (March 28), Banner released the audio for “Let Me In,” featuring Tank. Today (April 4), the video for the record will hit the net. Next Wednesday (April 11), the audio for Banner’s big record, “Californication,” featuring generations of West Coast MCs in Snoop Dogg, Ras Kass, Game and Nipsey Hussle, will impact the net.

Fans can donate to Banner’s movement via his website.—Mark Lelinwalla