It has been five years since David Banner released his 2012 mixtape Sex, Drugs & Video Games; since then, he has starred in movies like Lee Daniels‘ The Butler alongside Oscar Award Winner Forest Whitaker, Ride Along with Ice Cube and Kevin Hart and Carter High to name a few. In addition, he has also been touring in small cities like Jackson, Mississippi, Little Rock, Arkansas, and Birmingham, Alabama, even visiting Harvard University to help educate individuals about Black history (ex. the African-American creation of Rock and Roll, or the original plan for Blacks to travel north and west to gather knowledge and return to the south to educate and give back to the community).
I had the opportunity to interview the legendary artist, producer, public speaker and now established actor about his inspiration behind The God Box, and what is the next step in his lecture series. You can check out the entire interview with David Banner below.
[This interview was originally published at The Hype Magazine.]
What was your inspiration behind your latest project “The God Box”?
It was more or less trying to find a way to make this new level of consciousness, that I have been able to achieve or tap into to make it make sense musically. There are a lot of records where people are trying to take their thoughts to another level, but it does not make sense musically as far as current content. So, I wanted to create something that even if the audience did or didn’t understand the material it was still jamming. If you listen to the song “Black Fist” The beat might distract you to the point where you might not know that the song is about social change.
Why was it so important for you to visit some of these smaller cities to teach during the God Box Lecture Series?
It was important for me to start in these smaller cities because I’m from Jackson, Mississippi and people do not visit these smaller cities. They are the ones that need help the most and places like Birmingham, Alabama, and Jackson, Mississippi are the same places where our people died fighting for equality. People like Martin Luther King Jr. And Elijah Muhammad, who is from Georgia is where our families originated from and where they are the most oppressed and that is why I decided to concentrate on these places. This is bigger than just music and selling a record.
What are some of the things you are hoping to do next with the God Box Lecture Series?
I really want to bring all the aspects of The God Box lecture series together and create something that people have not seen before.The God Box is also an art exhibit we have an artistic depiction to every song on the album. I would like to make a healthy synthesis of the lecture and the music. Not everyone is a fan of hip-hop, but I want to find a cohesive way to deliver the art to all ages and cultures.
Can you tell about some of the responses you received from your older albums in comparisons to this album regarding your fan base?
Throughout my whole career, I wanted to be respected as a lyricist and consider as a top lyricist in the game. Anytime you are from the south and you don’t try to rap like you are from somewhere else people not listening to you. For instance, I believe Juvenile was a lyricist, but because he had such a southern draw people never respected him. Think about the southern artists that they respect they still have a southern accent, but they sound like they are from New York. The album the God Box those is receiving feedback of being one of the greatest albums ever and I’m receiving the recognition for being a lyricist. These are things that I have always wanted and the timing is right. One of the criticisms I give about talent, in general, is we give people OG stats and other titles when they do not have a lot of content to back it up. Take Lebron James for example, everyone was comparing him to Michael Jordan before he won a championship or even before he left high school. The problem that we don’t understand as black people is that by doing that we degrade the culture. Being labeled the best should not be an easy task, it should be something you strive for your whole to achieve. What we don’t understand our culture has been bought by commercialism and there is no money in the concept that Jordan is the greatest ever to the NBA because he is not playing anymore. Every generation will have the next man up because they are trying to sell tickets and merchandise, but it does nothing for the culture.