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David Banner.

DAVID BANNER has been in the news a lot lately, becoming the leading black hip-hop spokesperson for the relief and aid of victims left hopelessly homeless and dying by Hurricane Katrina. As you all know, Katrina shattered many black and poor white people's lives in his home state of Mississippi. Amidst his frustration with the feds over their non-response to Katrina, he also feels the agony of the suffering and destruction caused by this powerful hurricane upon his home and his people. David's new single jumped to the number one spot in the American charts, an ironic time for David to shine or maybe not. Musically, Banner (as a producer and a rapper) has been flipping hip-hop music on its head for the last five years. The Mississippi-born hip-hop rock star draws from all aspects of music, especially local Southern blues (the original poor, black, Dirty South and culture), to produce his beats. From back in the day with his debut club hit "Like A Pimp" to his present MTV club smash "Play," Banner has been heavily sprinkling that of' Southern magic on the dance floors. We caught up with the man on the set of Korn's new MTV video, where he, Lil Jon, Big Snoop Double Gizzle, and Xzibit play the rock band Korn. Ladies and gentlemen, David Banner on drums.

What you doing out on the West Coast?

I'm doing the Korn video. It's a crazy cut of me, Snoop, Lil Jon, and Xzibit taking the place of all the band members. Actually, Korn ain't in the video until the very end.

So you flipping some crunk rock shit?

Yeah. It's a real good look for both of us. We just bringing both sets of fans together, 'cause you know both sets of fans, hip-hop and rock, are going through similar things, just in a different way.

I don't think it's about race so much anymore; it's all moving into a new world order of whether you got loot or not.

Yeah, it's turning into whether you got money or not.

You think America is becoming like the United Kingdom, with a class system based on wealth as opposed to race?

Don't get me wrong; it's still about race, but a lot of times race can be used to stop people from listening to one another. A lot of times when you play the race issue people are going to go with their race. So I think it's about the youth--black, white, brown, yellow--dialoguing with one another, and you seeing what's really popping. Really, it's the youth being suppressed.

The American federal government is a joke. Five days to get relief to New Orleans and Mississippi? If that were Beverly Hills it would be there in five minutes.

Well, I tell people this all the time: in the ghettos of America, if you call the police it takes five or six days for them to get there. It takes five or six days for an ambulance to get to the 'hood. So I guess the American government is only a step above the local government. It happens in our hood everyday, so I really don't see why people are so surprised. What's deeper than that is the same states that put Bush in office are the ones he left out there. I just want to say Mississippi is one of the poorest states, and yet it has the highest proportion of millionaires. That's Bush all over.

But check it, a blessing came out of this. What we as young people are going to learn from this is that we have to form organizations that take care of our people. And I don't mean white, black, Asian, Latino. I mean poor people, 'cause the hurricane hit parts of Texas and Mississippi that were white--but they were poor.

It came across real clear that Bush don't give a fuck about poor people.

Oh yeah. Hell yeah.

Do you think there's going to be a new wave of more conscious hip-hop again?

People might as well say what they want to say, 'cause it ain't about conscious hip-hop. All hip-hop is conscious. What's going on in America is gangsta; the situations in our lives are fucked up. People are dying in our 'hood; women are stripping to get money. That is conscious rap, that's what's happening in our 'hood and rap is about explaining what's going on in the 'hood. I mean, hip-hop in a way was a hypocrisy. Hip-hop told us it was about the culture, the graffiti, the clothes, and the dance, right? Well, people don't live the same way in the South as they do in New York City. We don't wear the same shit. Our art is different. We drive cars on 22s, you know. We rock gold in the South, not platinum. So does that not make us hip-hop? In most cases, there ain't shit for us to be happy about. We talk about the stuff we see around us. Does that not make it hip-hop?

Hip-hop has evolved and grown into a bigger, global music now.

Exactly. Look how it started in New York with a break beat within a 15-mile block radius. Now you look at West Coast hip-hop, Midwest hip-hop, or Dirty South hip-hop. It's all real music; it's original compositions put together with some soul in it, some heart. I even gave the example of what Lil Jon does. The reason why people get mad at Jon is they can't do what he does. It's a feeling. You can't just say "yeah," and it's going to have any meaning if your heart ain't behind it. You can't be David Banner, 'cause you ain't been through the slavery, discrimination and all the stuff you been through. It's so much deeper than hip-hop. The common denominator is pain, whether you're white, black, Asian, Latino, whatever. It is, it's pain, and if there's anywhere in the United States where you want to find some pain, come to the South.

You got a smash single "Play" riding high in the charts; David Banner has made it big finally. Are you now looking to bring other rappers up from Mississippi with you?

Well, I'm not in a position yet to do that. I'm not in a position to do David Banner fully yet. I can't get behind people yet. I can't have some cat in the 'hood giving they all, putting they life in it, and me not being able to give it my all. I can't deal in other situations until my situation is right. As much as my situation looks good, it ain't what they think it is. People don't understand how hard it is to get my record played.

Talk about your new album, Certified.

We flipping shit, breaking down doors. We got songs on there for everyone--songs for the ladies, songs for the 'hood. It's a spread out album, something everyone will enjoy.

What artists you got on there with you?

I got Twista, Lil Jon, Jazze Pha, Three 6 Mafia on there, 8 Ball & MJG, Jadakiss, Talib Kweli, Dead Prez, the list goes on and on. I got people from every coast, Too Short, UGK. I got a new producer called Get Kool. I'm just trying to give people the complete album.

You've also got a hot joint out with Elephant Man called the "Krumpaz Anthem" on Kopa Riddim.

Yeah, me and Ele been cool for a long time. Ele has the same stage presence as myself, our shows are more like rock shows. I like to deal with people who have the same motivation. I want to make sure people who come to see me have a good time and their money is well spent.

You feeling dancehall reggae right now?

Yeah, man. I'm feeling every form of music.
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Article Type:Interview
Date:Feb 1, 2006
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