Like A Prophet: David Banner’s Redemption

“Real thugs get down on the floor, Real girls get down on the floor; Like a PIMP” – David Banner

You’d be hard pressed to find anybody 25 or older, affluent in this thing of ours called Hip-Hop, who head won’t immediately start to bop the second the “Like a pimp” beat drops. Anywhere. At any time. There’s a common phrase that has been used for decades around our parts to recognize when somebody had a hit, “He got one”. Nobody would debate 28-year-old David Banner “had one” when “Like A Pimp” dropped in 2003. 15 years later, I wonder how 43-year-old, completely evolved Banner feels about that record. The man has grown. The message has changed. The mission clearer now more than ever. David Banner is who Malcolm X would be in 2018.

High praise, I know, but let me paint the picture for you. The story of Malcolm Little includes a period before he found the Nation of Islam where he was “pimping”. Upon being incarcerated, he became a reformed man who changed his lifestyle and presentation to the people. Growing to becoming one of the most prominent members of the Nation and one of the most powerful and influential forces in the country by teaching black man against the very things he one did. In a nutshell, that’s David Banner’s rap career. Coming into the game as “gangsta” rapper who spoke about violence and promiscuity and exploitation of women over the hardest beats, consistent with dominant subject matter of the music and window into tough neighborhoods, he came full circle with his latest and greatest (In My Opinion) project to date, The God Box.

See they raped my Grandmammy… called it God’s Will. When Malcolm Little became Malcolm X he said he changed his name because “Little was the name that the white slavemaster … had imposed upon [his] paternal forebears”. Conviction will change your perception. That’s the best way for me to summarize Banner’s 180 degree turn. In a party heavy culture, he could’ve continued to make hard beats with the perfect ass shaking drum patterns and ignorant choruses designed for that atmosphere but in his music, his interviews, and his public speaking appearances, Banner has spoken with the same conviction Malcolm did. The interviews and the public speaking clips is what turned me back on to his music. I was never not a fan but I wasn’t a fan, if that makes sense. I was a fan of specific records. Never really indulged in full projects after the first album. Before it became normal in the mainstream as it is now, Banner was speaking on the importance of a renewed focus on black unity, black empowerment, black financial literacy and rebuilding our communities. The same militant passion he had in his earlier days still there, just channeled towards a different goal. And not for nothing, the bars are better. It’s not just subject matter. He RAPS better now also. He walked amongst the people then embraced the God in himself. Powerful. Do yourself a favor, get familiar, again!

The God Box: Available everywhere albums are sold or streamed

-Travis Cochran

Leave a Reply