David Banner Speaks About The Lack Of Fear And Respect In Response To Trayvon Martin's Murder And His "2M1 Movement"

Exclusive: David Banner discusses his new donation-driven business model and how themes he first spoke about in "Swag" tie into the current commentary on the murder of Trayvon Martin.

David Banner’s been in love with “A Girl Named Cim” since he first surfaced on the national radar over a dozen years ago as one-half of Crooked Lettaz for the duo’s critically-acclaimed (and sadly sole) album, Grey Skies.

But the love for his microphone and music Banner creatively detailed on that conceptual gem hasn’t always been reciprocated by the Rap game to the first spitter to put Mississippi on the map. In the years since he scored solo hits with the time-tested party starter “Like A Pimp” and the salacious whisper-rapped “Play” the rapper/producer has seen fans flock to new Southern stars and his industry homes shift from major (Universal Records) to independent (E1 Entertainment) to none.

And so now Banner is going back to the future and re-employing the same hustle and grind he first put to work a year after Grey Skies failed to connect commercially for his self-distributed solo debut, Them Firewater Boyz, and applying it to the digital era for his latest long-player, Sex, Drugs & Video Games (due May 22nd). The revolutionary project is the first offering in what DB has declared to be the “2M1 Movement” to have $1 donations from two million supporters pour the foundation for him, and hopefully other artists as well, to build self-controlled careers upon.  
Banner is banking on fans who have become accustomed to being able to obtain their music for free finding at least one song on Sex, Drugs & Video Games that they feel is worth a dollar donation to his cause, whether it be the club banger “Yao Ming” , the thumping social-commentary stab “Swag” , the Big K.R.I.T. bolstered love song to the ‘Sip “Believe” or one of the other 13 tracks slated to appear with appearances from Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, A$AP Rocky, Game, Snoop Dogg, Bun B and several other notable names.  

Yesterday (March 26th), Banner broke down his new business model to HipHopDX and explained how two million (“That was the number God gave to me,” he noted) dollar donations is “not about money” but about amassing email addresses and attaining artistic freedom through them. The always aware artist concluded his powerful discussion with DX by connecting the dots between one of the racially-rooted subjects addressed in “Swag” to the recent shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin that has sparked discussion, debates, diatribes, and per David Banner, a lack of respect for Black folks and a lack of fear of what will happen to those who display that lack of respect.

HipHopDX: We have to begin this quick Q&A by talking about hands-down one of the best songs to be unleashed thus far in 2012, “Believe.” What I wanna know is when are you gonna take this track to a whole ‘nother level by reuniting Jodeci for the song’s remix?   

David Banner: Well, honestly brother, the thing is that what I’m trying to do with this movement is I’m trying to show people that it’s not about a single.

Singles [for this movement will] go in two week cycles: the first Wednesday we drop the MP3, then the next Wednesday we drop the video. Then the Wednesday after that we keep it moving; we move to the next song. What I’m trying to show people is that this is not about a single, this is not about an album, this is about a movement. And if “Believe” is that song it will move like it’s supposed to move on its own. But, this Wednesday we dropping “Californication” with me, Snoop [Dogg], Game, Nipsey Hussle, Ras Kass and Kree. This was a song that was supposed to have been a movie that I ended up just writing it into a song. But [again], this is not about a single, this is not about one person, this is not about one album, this is about a movement and we’re gonna continue moving. I’m gonna prove to people that Urban music is still a viable entity and it’s not a single-driven, downloadable thing that’s to be given away.

All I’m asking [for] is a minimum donation of a dollar at DavidBanner.com. I’m asking for two million people to give me at least a dollar. I’ve gotten pledges for $1,000. I’ve gotten $100 donations, $50 donations. Whatever you wanna give is cool, but we gotta show people that – And that’s why I’m calling it an album and not a mixtape, [because] we don’t do mixtapes! This shit ain’t free. We paying for it!

We have allowed our culture to be degraded to a download! Everything about the Urban culture has been emasculated. Our children are being murdered, and folks in America are acting like it’s nothing and are calling it self-defense. We giving our music away for free. People calling us niggas now without even flinching. Like, at what point does it stop, homie? This shit is way bigger than an album for me. I am not playing, dude. … There’s no respect for our culture. There is no more respect for our music!     

David Banner Explains Why He Feels Fans Should Donate To Artists

DX: Let me tag on to what you’re saying here about the respect for the music. I asked Chamillionaire about your 2M1 Movement, and he’s very supportive of what you’re doing but he’s also very adamant that he’s worth having his supporters spend regular retail amounts on him. So my question to you is not a patronizing or disrespectful one, but don’t donations equate to desperation in the minds of most fans?
David Banner: No, it doesn’t, and I’m gonna tell you why. What you gotta understand is this movement isn’t about money for me. See, that’s where people get it wrong. It’s not about money, what it’s about is getting two million emails …. It’s about getting a database. It’s about creating a movement.

If the folks wanna get your record for free they’ll get it for free. And speaking on retail prices, we was getting less than a dollar a record back when we were with the labels anyway! So as much as we stick our chest out, we wasn’t getting what, 17, 18 cents? So if you really think about it, it’s not about that, it’s about serving your fans.

The minimum donation is a dollar, but I just told you I’m getting $100 [donations], I’m getting $50. I had somebody pledge $1,000. But it’s not about that. It’s about creating a database of two million people who will move wherever you move, whether it’s politics, whether it’s charity … whether it’s a movie. ‘Cause we’re moving from this, [and] then after we get this $2 million, I’m taking a million and we’re shooting a movie. I’m not worried about putting it in the [theatres], we ain’t gotta do that. We’ll already have two million people that showed you they’ll follow you.

DX: Why two million, where’d that number come from?

David Banner: Meditation. I’m serious, meditation and praying. That was the number God gave to me. I can’t explain to you why.

DX: Now, I was going back today and re-reading your most recent interview with HipHopDX, and I got the sense that the commercial response to your album with 9th Wonder, Death Of A Pop Star, is what really set off this movement. What contribution did the response to that album make to your current mindstate?

David Banner: None at all. I didn’t do Death Of A Pop Star for that reason … because of the type of album that it was.

What really sparked this movement was me auditioning for movies. I was auditioning for all of these movies and when I was looking at the parts that they were offering me it wasn’t even parts that I wanted to play. [But] I was auditioning, giving my all, sacrificing my music career because I wanted to be an actor so bad. And I was like, “Damn, I don’t even want these parts.” I’m more than an ex-convict that’s just getting out of jail or a dope dealer. Like, is this all that they see us as?

That’s really how people see us. And all of it ain’t just because people are mean. That’s really what people think. And what’s crazy, a lot of us, that’s what we think! ‘Cause you look at the movies that we make [and] it supports that [way of thinking].

So I’m thinking like, when I started [my music career] I didn’t send no demo to no record label. That ain’t how I got on. I got on from getting out off my ass and selling my own CDs on the corner. I bought a hundred CDs, sold them at $10 a piece, made a $1,000. After I got a $1,000, bought a thousand CDs, sold them at $10 a piece, made $10,000, and kept moving and kept moving and kept moving. Like, didn’t nobody give a damn about where I was from, about the pain that was going on in the places that I was from. That wasn’t what it was; I had to make it hot. I had to make my people hot. I had to make the shit that they said about the country hot. I had to do that. I couldn’t depend on nobody else to care about Mississippi the way that I cared about Mississippi.  

David Banner Explains Meaning Of Sex, Drugs & Video Games

DX: So are you saying that this donation-driven business model is the new out-the-trunk?

David Banner: Um … what I’ll say is that it’s an option. It is definitely a new business model. And it’s a powerful business model. And what it will do is it will perpetually do two things: it will either make other people treat us right, because they know that we don’t need ‘em, or it will just show us that we can do it on our own. And we are businessmen. And we are smart enough. If you’re smart enough to create the song, you’re smart enough to sell it, damn’t.  

And this is what I’m trying to get people to see. [But] you gotta understand the place where we are. And that segues into the meaning of the album. And I really wanna explain the meaning of the album ‘cause I had a friend of mine tell me last night and I promised him that I would, that I would explain the title of the album. Most of the time I have a message in my music and people just never get it, so I wanna explain it this time. Sex, Drugs & Video Games stands for the mindstate that we’re in right now, all of us culturally. If you’re an American, and if you’re listening to Hip Hop, I’m talking about the state of most of us mentally. Sex, drugs and violence in most cases are the things that we seem to be drawn to the most on television and in music. And as much as we think it’s our natural choice, if that’s the only stimuli that we have then that’s what we’re gonna be attracted to mentally. So I’m asking people like, “Are you really controlling what you think?”

You think you have a choice, but if you are only given two different things and they are both really on the same level then you really don’t have a choice as much as you think you do. So Sex, Drugs & Video Games is like, yeah, I’m giving you these songs that I normally wouldn’t be comfortable with giving you in the mindstate that I’m in now but I can give it to you while asking you the question, “Why is this what you want from me? Why is this the only thing that you’re allowing me to be? Is that the only thing that you see yourself as?”

If life is really a video game, who has the controller?

David Banner Explains What Trayvon Martin Murder Says About America

DX: I wanna wrap up this quick Q&A with actually an even heavier question. You recently told VIBE that the lack of respect for Black life that was shown in the Trayvon Martin case actually kinda ties back to what you were speaking on in “Swag” about the use of the n-word. Before I let you go, can you elaborate for me a bit on how the indifference to using that word you spoke on in “Swag” ties into the indifference shown to Trayvon?

David Banner: Well, it’s like this … when you were younger wasn’t there a certain anxiety that came about with [a White person using] the word "nigga"? And that anxiety was transferred through respect or through fear. So that meant that whether good or bad, whether it was the influence through good or bad [means], you had a certain level of respect for the people so you wouldn’t use that word around them. So that means now if it’s used freely there is either one of two things [happening]: that people either don’t have respect for themselves, or you just flat out don’t respect them anymore.

Listen to even the things that people are saying about this Trayvon Martin situation, some of the things that the people on the other side are saying. Could you have imagined ten years ago them saying that about a Black child? You’re talking about a child. You’re not talking about a grown Black man, you’re talking about a Black child. That means they don’t have any respect! That means that they don’t have any fear! Because they believe that either we’re not going to do anything or that we can’t do anything.

DX: So how do you change that? If David Banner could wave a magic wand, how do you change that?

David Banner: You can only make America respect you through fear or finance. Those are the only two things that America respects. You either gotta hurt ‘em physically or hurt ‘em financially. Either way, you make the choice.

Donate To 2M1 At DavidBanner.com

Purchase Music by David Banner


  • Mario The Revolutionary

    @Sistah Girl. You speaking the truth. We need more educated black brothers and sisters like you to make our generation a better one.

  • True2HipHop

    David Banner is the truth. This man is an artist not a sell out like so many. I agree on his take on America & respect: either through violence (fear) or Finances ($$) cause america does understand that. Its terrible what some of these media folks are saying about the whole situation trying to deface the boys image with things that are irrelevant to the situation itself. #WasteZimmerman #Justice #Unite4Change







  • Anonymous

    Banner needs to be careful, this could be misinterpretted - the end of the interview seems to be a call to arms for black people to start attacking white people. Violence only begets more violence.

    • Change isn't coming it is Made

      @ Anonymous F*CK YOU! If you're black you are a coward and if you're white you're a racist pig that has no problem when blacks are being brutalized but will cry foul when the same brutality happens to someone white. Was it bad to shoot a cop when they were lynching black males decades ago? In your mind, yes! Was it bad to shoot a cop when they were members of the KKK compliant in the death of thousands of blacks? In your mind, yes. Your day will come.

    • Anonymous

      ^^^^^^^^^^^^^ turning guns on cops huh?? SMH, that would be the stupidest advice ever given on the internet, congrats

    • Sistah Girl

      Black men need to step up. Instead of turning guns on each other they need to turn it on those who have oppressed, murdered, enslaved and raped their people for hundreds of years. Violence does beget violence, violence also begets results. How do you think this country came into the possession of Europeans and their descendants? Peacefully? No, through organized violence. Blacks and Whites do not need to fight one another because not everyone is guilty or responsible for what is going on. However, when a racist cop pulls over a Black man without cause, harasses and threatens him with physical violence I think Black men should put bullets in their asses. Simple as that. Man the f*ck up! How long can Black men actually live their lives being dictated to by other men? I thought men were competitive, I thought all men wanted to be on top, to rule. Seems that a lot of brothers are content being told what to do by White men, following their orders. Damn, what happen to Malcolm, Huey and them? They were real men. A lot, not all, of these brothers today are cowards, complain about what another man does to them but want move a finger, like little girls. Value life too much and you'll live in any condition.

  • Anonymous

    It's time to build and respect ourselves.

  • double vee

    i remember david banner mainly thru "pump it up"...as a white guy from europe though: he is totally right in what he says! i love hiphop, i have a good jb, but when i be telling that i'm writing lyrics people are like "c'mon, that's so your puberty'. urban culture needs to get a stronghold in people's perception. Cuz no matter what color you might be or where you from-there's different struggles in people's live all over the world. much respect for this effort! it will be appreciated all over the world-or maybe even more in countries outside of the usa-cuz there's much less video games and fox-tv that manipulate people's mind's. roll on!

  • Fresh Boirdee

    David Banner is one of the few rappers I have genuine respect for. The only people who can change the perception of black is us. hopefully Trayvon's death wasn't in vein. I hope this is the straw that breaks the camel's back and we start taking life seriously.

  • Anonymous

    Yo anybody watch that hunger games movie yet???????



    • Now

      Why call for the president, why just dont we call on ourself to get right and stuff like this wouldnt happen, black life remain cheap, because Black people dont even value one another own life, we kill each other all day everyday so it not a big thing for someone else to kill us, ask the police, ask the white man, ask any other race, we dont value ourself why should they

  • TM

    Trayvon "Martyr" Martin, R.I.P. homeboy, we loved you a lot but God loved you even more. See you when I get there...

  • chuck

    this wouldnt have been a story if a black man had shot trayvon martin. so the media jumps on this ebcause a "white hispanic" did. The media is the one making this into a race issue. Why doesnt the media jump on black on black violence? Why isnt that as much of a tragedy? Its a shame really. The people are focusing on this race issue when the legal issues are going to protect Zimmerman. Yall dont see the big picture. yall are stuck in teh 1950s. even if zimmerman was fueled by race, he is never going to admit that, and he wont spend any time in jail. making thsi out to be a race issue doesnt get anythign accomplished. And the media are the biggest racists of all in this issue.

    • Anonymous

      You do realize Zimmerman CLEARLY said "fucking coons" on the 911 recording? How in the hell is this not a race issue? This is the problem with America. We wanna pretend like racism no longer exists, are you kidding me? it's the elephant in the room that no one wants to address. It's the same thing we an addict - until they admit they have a problem, there's no way they'll ever be able to start the recovery process. Until America and it's people admits racism is still an issue, people will always stay divided.

    • Anonymous

      I know I was fucking while writing that last paragraph but damn I couldnt not believe what I read...Im pissed at your stupidity....smh.

    • Anonymous

      Oh Chuck you need to shut the fuck up...this is the reason why its a outrage you dumbass because its obvious thats ita a cover up...lol. Dont you know who zimmerman parents are not to mention his documents are sealed he has three domestic violence cases and also attack on law inforcement but all we here is something about trayvon. You cant get in a fight with someone and you were the agressor and you when you get your ass kick. you pull out your gun and kill thats not self defense thats manslaugther. So you tell me if I see you walking down the street and I follow you for a few blocks and Im riding slow and then you get out and I ask you what the fuck are you following me for and then a fight breaks but you start beating me up and I say fuck this the licks hurt and then I pull out the gun and shoot you what the fuck do you think will happen to my black ass for killing your white ass. we all know what would happen and if your silly naive ass cant see that then youo lost homie

    • Anonymous

      The police investigated the crime and were satisfied enough with the answers and evidence to let him go. Do you really think the police just neglected to do their job? ========================== Orlando Watch Shooting Probe Reveals Questionable Police Conduct-ABC News LOL @ CHUCK

    • Anonymous

      The teenager was RACIALLY PROFILED in a "gated community" because of his APPAREL, THAT ALONE makes it RACIAL. THAT, went over YOUR head.

    • Anonymous

      Chuck, keep speaking your mind brother. Don't let the sheep trick you into walking their way. WAKE UP AMERICA, ESPECIALLY OUR YOUTH! WE NEED TO SEE THAT IF WE ARE AFRICAN, CAUCASIAN , ASIAN, OR ANY OTHER RACE, IT DOESN'T MATTER, IT WILL ALWAYS BE US (Low-Middle-High Class) vs. THEM (The tyrannical greedy money controling RULERS)

    • chuck

      this stuff goes over yall heads. what a damn shame. This shouldnt even be a race issue. This should be a self defense issue. which is the exact reason zimmerman wont be arrested. how could he be? The police investigated the crime and were satisfied enough with the answers and evidence to let him go. Do you really think the police just neglected to do their job? You dont think they knew that letting a man be free, that just shot and killed a 17yr old teen would cause some outcry and publicity? the fact that people even see it as a race issue is the racist part. This wont bring people together over race, if anything this will divide it even further. The media labels zimmerman as "white hispanic" they have to throw the white in there when that term is rarely if ever used. why dont they refer to obama as a white african american? Its the same fucking shit. its just sickening that race even needs to be an issue with situations like this. a young teen dying is a tragedy regardless. its a shame it cant be reported that way.

    • Anonymous

      hunger games and racism consider the character RUE go read on that and tell me what people think about black people and there lives...that is all

    • Anonymous

      you missing the point is the fact people dont care about black lives so thats the reason why everyone is bringing attention to this. Because we get killed every day in large numbers and nobody cares so we are like look we not taking anymore. Police kill a black man nobody cares black kills another black man nobody cares. A lot of white people could care less about Trayvon so this is the time to say hey we are not taking anymore and not only are black people outraged but also white and latino. Thats the only way race relations will get better so really this is bigger than just Trayvon you should be behind this.

    • ThatKidWithTheCrown

      If this was the story of a black man shooting a white teenager, he would be in prison. The problem is that even if he wasn't fueled by race, there should have still been legal repercussions. It's more about the racism of the police department that is a problem; the fact that they aren't doing shit to Zimmerman, and even refusing witnesses and changing what the witnesses are saying and with holding information to protect Zimmerman. The fact that Z-man IS racist just adds to it.

  • UltimateMegadon

    David Banner: You can only make America respect you through fear or finance. Those are the only two things that America respects. You either gotta hurt em physically or hurt em financially. Either way, you make the choice. The realest truth people don't respect you unless you put fear in they heart or you got alot of money

    • Anonymous

      To a certain point I agree, but not about money. I would die with pride before I respected someone just because of their wealth

  • What

    Here is the true, you got us killling us, you got the white people killing us, you got the police killing us, and that is never going to change until niggaz learn the true value of being BLACK, until that happen black's life is cheap, it time to stop all the pimping, gang banging, and niggas and hoe we better wakeup.

    • mississippi

      and also start snitching. if we can't give justice to ourselves and regulate our hoods, how can we expect other people to give us justice. it aint snitching if u aint part of the game, imho.

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