Since the release of his latest album, The Greatest Story Ever Told, David Banner has been spotted with a leaner physique and a style of dress that shows off his new self-sculpted assets. He’s proud to be considered fashion savoir-faire, but the country boy hasn’t forgotten his crunk-tified roots; he places spirituality and political issues at the top of his priority list. While the rapper (and occasional actor) can leave his listeners with an earful of his sensibilities on life, these days he makes sure he does it in style. Yet, underneath the fitted cap lies a brain filled with opinions that both younger and older generations can identify with.
Rap-Up.com caught up with Banner to discuss the pounds he’s shed and delve into his politically boisterous side that the industry’s consumers try (and fail) to ignore.
What inspired you to get in shape?
There were two separates reasons that had two separate effects. I fell off a motorcycle and was rushed to the emergency room and I found out that my blood pressure was so high that I was going to die if I didn’t do something immediately. Then come to find out, I had sleep apnea and I was a few points from diabetes. I chose to live instead of die.
Your style has changed a lot. Is that because you feel different?
I’m a little bit more blessed than I was before. Every year it’s been getting better. I’m more exposed to the world and my finances are better. I’m not only in Mississippi or Atlanta, I’m all over the world. When you have more resources, you’re able to pick from a wider range of things and I think I’m doing a damn good job. [Laughs] Come on, have you seen me lately?
You look great. How are the ladies responding to your new look?
I’ll have to sit you down and tell you that one. But it’s amazing. My whole fan base has changed. When you used to go to my shows, it was people throwing bottles but now 85% of all my fans are ladies. I did a show in San Francisco a week ago and it was all women.
Are you still pursuing your acting career?
Yeah! My next project is Days of Wrath with Laurence Fishburne.
How was it teaming up with Lil Wayne for the making of the song and video for “Shawty Say”Â?
Wayne is definitely a very creative person and somebody that I really enjoy working with. The most amazing thing is that he’s a really big fan of me, so it’s easy to work with somebody when they want to be a part of your vision.
What do you think of Barack Obama condemning Ludacris’ lyrics?
I believe in my heart that Ludacris should have the ability to say what he wants to say, but why should Obama connect himself to any negativity right now? We need to get Obama in office and Obama has to play the middle role. I think we’re too close to winning this thing to get off on frivolous stuff and to give people a reason to spit fire.
What do you think of rappers encouraging others to vote when they themselves can’t?
Well, that’s what you’re supposed to do. When you make mistakes in your life, it doesn’t mean that you can’t continue to push people in the right direction.
Why do you think there are no Republican rappers?
Most rappers come from disadvantaged situations. The have-nots know what it is to suffer and to be abused by America and that usually stems from the Democratic side.
Would you ever support a Republican president?
I don’t believe in Republicans or Democrats. I believe it’s about good people. I don’t think if God was on the earth right now he’d support Republicans or Democrats. I can’t speak for God, but I think God would pick who’s right and who’s wrong.
Why is your album literally The Greatest Story Ever Told?
There’s politics, pain, joy, church, strip club, and all that. No story has a consistent path; there’s ups, downs, there’s highs, there’s lows, and you can get ’em all on The Greatest Story Ever Told. Wow, that rhymes! [Starts rapping] There’s downs… there’s lows… on The Greatest Story Ever Told!
Do you think political music is not appealing to young African-Americans?
I think it just started appealing. With the financial situation most people are in now due to the recession and the war, people are starting to notice. This economy is affecting everyone from the streets to Wall Street.