David Banner: Storyteller
Story andInterview by Matthew Shack
((( Audio Interview Below )))
Jackson, Mississippi ‘s own, Levell Adrian Crump was known for having the most menacing images and beats in hip-hop.
Which is why he took his stage name from the emotional andimpulsive alter ego of Marvel Comics superhero, The Incredible Hulk.
Enter: David Banner circa 1999.
Banner put the state Mississippi on his back as a member of the rap duo, Crooked Lettaz.
Then, he slapped the industry in the face with his gold-certified 2003 major label debut "Mississippi-The Album."
Banner caught 'em slippin' again on his sophomore effort, "MTA2: Baptized in Dirty Water".
"MTA2:" cemented his legacy as a bonafide superstar.
2005's LP, “Certified Man” was released and its hit single, “Play" is STILL bangin' in the club, today.
Banner told The Flow back in back in '05, "It’s just so good because right now we out here making sure that people love and respect our music."
He made his big screen debut opposite Samuel L. Jackson, Christina Ricci and Justin Timberlake in the film, "Black Snake Moan".
"Well, actually right I’m in acting school right now so I’m taking my time, I got 3 or 4 offers but I’m just gonna lay back for a minute and make sure when it’s my time, it’s my time!", he explained to The Flow.
D. Banner was slapping the world in the mouth, and the world loved him for it.
Enter: David Banner circa 2008.
His 2008 release, The Greatest Story Ever Told (Universal/SRC) is a new beginning for the platinum MC/producer because the last year and a half has been nothing short of a personal nightmare for the 35-year-old Banner.
Starting in '06...he faced depression, the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, high blood pressure that nearly killed him, the lost of his father, the lost of friend and mentor UGK's Pimp C, and the break-up of a personal relationship.
With heat rock singles like “Speaker” feat. Snoop Dogg, Lil' Wayne and Akon and “Get Like Me” feat. Chris Brown & Yung Joc, "The Greatest Story Ever Told" was therapy for him and the “caterpillar turned into a monarch butterfly”.
Then, he got busy and got political.
From beginning to end, his foundation and concert, ”Heal the Hood” raised more than $500,000 to support and aid Katrina victims.
In September 2007, Banner testified at the House Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection Subcommittee hearing about African American Media Stereotypes which he defended hip-hop and its lyrics.
This year, he took it even further by cutting off his trademark goatee, hitting the gym and getting his acting and modeling on.
What happened to the destructive, tenacious and menacing David Banner?
Who is THIS clean-shaven cat? Is the edge gone for good?
Banner answers me directly about his NEW look.
“What made me cut off the goatee is that I’m acting now and you can’t allow yourself to be pigeon-holed in a certain kind of look. You know what I’m saying? You have to leave it open. So that was the reason I did that.”
How about the weight loss?
“I was sick, I had high blood pressure. I was 21 points from diabetes…I was gonna die. I did it for myself,” he informs me.
For true D. Banner fans, don’t fret. The look may have changed but the image remains the same.
Is he still ridin’ on 22’s?
“ Naw man, I’m on 26’s, 28’s and honestly on my high priced cars, I’m grown enough to know when not to put rims on shit!”
((( Audio Interview Below )))