In order to show that urban music is still alive and invaluable, David Banner will be releasing the free album, “Sex, Drugs & Video Games.” Banner hopes sales will help him raise over 2 million dollars in order to support an independent project to come after. The 2M1 Movement, as it is called, is a means to spark awareness and ownership as a collective people in terms of the music, movies, and content which bear influence from the urban community.
Anyone can support the movement by donating from as little as a dollar to the cause, and on May 22, the complete album will be available for download. In the meantime, CLE had the honor of catching up with the Mississippi rapper and activist to find out more on “Sex, Drugs & Video Games,” upcoming appearances, and of course to touch on some of the sensitive social issues of today.
CLE : Can you tell us more about the idea or premise behind Sex, Drugs & Video Games?
David Banner: The idea is to ask people, “why do we love the things we love?” But in a fun way. I’ve learned not to make things too heavy. It is to ask, “why are these things such a coveted part of our culture?” Is this all that we want?
CLE : With that being said, what specifically influenced you to start this 2M1 Movement?
David Banner: Hip-Hop is not doing well right now. Urban society is buying all the products, but not fueling their own. We’re giving away our product for free and that begins to bring down the value. I want to go to different hoods and talk to the people. We need to come together and demand what we want. I want to show people what we can achieve on our own and that our music is still valuable.
CLE : Next year, you plan to produce an independent movie based off the support and donations received from this project. Can you say what the movie will be about?
David Banner: I don’t like to talk too much about the movie. I think it distracts people from the matter at hand. I want to keep people focused and create this base. It’s important that we are able to control urban culture. Everyone has a say so, except us. We need to take ownership of our culture and its content whether it is good or bad. I want to keep a sense of urgency.
CLE : You worked with a slew of big-named artists on this project – A$AP Rocky, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, 2 Chains – to name a few. What was it like getting together with all these artists for this project?
David Banner: Wonderful! I’ve worked with these artists before and have produced for many of them. A$AP Rocky, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, I’ve produced for them (to name a few). So, it was a great experience working with them.
CLE : What can we expect from the next single?
David Banner: There’s a new single every two weeks, followed by the video a week later. This is not a “single” based album, but it gives people a chance to see what they’re getting before they even invest any money. Still, it’s way bigger than the money. It’s about the politics, the kids, and the images we see. It’s about taking it all back.
The next single is with Maino, and it’s called “Castles in Brooklyn.” It’s meant to show a connection between different cities and hometowns. You can’t do anything until you start at home and that’s why the single “Believe” came first (and then came “Californication” with Snoop). The idea is to question the stereotypes (based around your city vs. my city) and bring forth some type of solidarity.
CLE : On April 27 and 28, Harvard will be hosting a conference on the subject of “The LA Riots: Twenty Years Later,” and you’ve been chosen to speak on one of their panels. Can you tell us more about your involvement?
David Banner: The conference is to talk about where we are, as a people, twenty years after the Rodney King incident. We’re going to talk about where we are as a race and what has changed. It’s a blessing to have been asked to join in and that people are interested. These are very important issues that affect everyone, including our children. The goal is not just to talk about it, but to come up with a solution. This is something bigger than just one situation. It affects our social and political spirit. With this we can begin to open a dialogue that will bring about a solution.
CLE : On that note, what is your take on racial profiling and cases like that of Trayvon Martin?
David Banner: Until we get some legislation, it is going to continue to happen. Then, there are some people who fail to see the issue because it is not happening to their children. We need to take the emotion out of it if we are to bring about real change. The only way is through legislation, through something tangible. If we as a people don’t care about it, why would anyone stop?
CLE : In line with what you just said, Washington recently held a hearing on racial profiling through The Senate Judiciary Committee. The focus of the debate was to propose legislation that would make it illegal for law enforcement to target individuals solely on religion or race. In opposition one speaker had this to say:
“I think we have to recognize that it’s going to be tempting for the police and individuals to profile so long as a disproportionate amount of street crime is committed by African Americans… there will be a disproportionate amount of street crime committed by African Americans so long as more than seven out of 10 African Americans are being born out of wedlock… ultimately, people in society who don’t like racial profiling are going to have to face up to this problem.”
CLE : What are your thoughts on such a statement?
David Banner: Its funny how people like to use statistics. There is no direct correlation between that (being born out of wedlock) and street crime. That is something that can affect anyone. That statistic is not based off of fact. There are more black people charged with crimes because there are more black people who get pulled over or stopped (for being black). That statement is more about how people honestly feel about us. It is also about how we feel about ourselves and each other. It has nothing to do with being born out of wedlock. But, if we don’t have any power what can we do?
CLE : There’s one last question. Being a college grad yourself, do you have any advice for young people or college students who are getting ready to get out into the real world and follow their dreams?
David Banner: Expose yourself more to the world. Open yourself up and figure exactly what it is you want out of life. For me, college just happened and I wasn’t really prepared for it. Fortunately, I have been influenced by so many things. Find what you want out of life and research it. If you come from an environment where the only real occupations were firefighter and lawyer, you might think those are the only options, and not know what to pick. I didn’t know things like oceanographers or chemical engineers existed (for example). You have to expose yourself to more.
Download David Banner’s Sex, Drugs & Video Games on May 22. It does not take much to support the 2M1 Movement.
by: Joshua Taylor