Beats, rhymes and life are three of the corners where hip hop intersects. Few other TV shows have been able to cover all of these angles in-depth and authentically quite like REVOLT TV's "Drink Champs," which thrives on its candid conversations with the biggest and most influential figures in the game. In honor of such a one-of-a-kind show, REVOLT will be recapping each weekly "Drink Champs" episode, so you can always catch the gems that are dropped in each lit interview.
Last night, the latest episode of "Drink Champs" aired on REVOLT TV with southern rap vet David Banner making his return to the show to converse with Noreaga and DJ EFN. Originally part of the duo Crooked Lettaz, alongside Kamikaze, after the release of the group's 1999 debut, Grey Skies, Banner branched off to pursue a solo career. He began his new venture with Them Firewater Boyz, Vol. 1, which dropped the following year. The album piqued the interest of Steve Rifkind and SRC Records, which inked the Mississippi native to a seven-figure deal in 2003. That same year, Banner released his sophomore album, Mississippi: The Album, which turned the relatively unknown rapper into a household name. Featuring the single "Like A Pimp," Mississippi: The Album was followed up with a succession of albums with the most recent being The God Box, which was released in 2017. He has also been consistent on the production tip as well with credits on projects by T.I., Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, Snoop Dogg, Trick Daddy and a host of others. However, in recent years, Banner has become as renowned for his outspoken views on politics and injustices against African-Americans, as he has for his music. During his sit-down with "Drink Champs," Banner touches on a myriad of topics including music, politics, race relations, and economics. This makes his interview an insightful and cerebral one.
To help give fans a recap of the conversation, REVOLT compiled a list of nine things we learned from the David Banner episode of "Drink Champs." Take a look at them below.
1. David Banner Built A Studio In His Van When He Was Homeless
Prior to reaching the big time, Banner made music from the comfort of his mobile home. "People don't even know this, I built a studio when I was homeless, in my van," he recalls. "I used to do drops for DJs and verses for MCs. DJs would be like, 'I need a drop.' I'd do it in my van. I got one of those electrical regulators that you hook into the cigarette lighter. Since none of my homies wanted to go on the road with me, I built a studio and if you go back and listen to Mississippi: The Album, the interludes, you can hear the cars pass. That's why I tell these kids, it's no excuse. Like for me, I tell a person, 'If I wanna do a deal with you, don't tell me no, tell me what it's gonna take.' Even if it's a fucking billion dollars. But, if I bring a billion and slap it on this table, let's do business."
2. David Banner's Issue With "Niggas In Paris"
"Niggas In Paris" by Kanye West and JAY-Z was one of the biggest hits of 2012. However, Banner took issue with the song. So, the rapper explained why during his visit. "The most disappointing moment for me was 'Niggas in Paris' because to me, that was the international OK for Europeans to say nigga," Banner says. "I traveled internationally... N.O.R.E., you know when I was out there? Bad. But, when I toured internationally, I didn't say the word nigga. And you know, every word [in my songs] was nigga, nigga, nigga, nigga, nigga, nigga. It felt awkward and if you notice -- and this is no attack at neither of those great MCs. But, I noticed in Africa, Pac and my generation was the ones that taught Africans the word nigga. Africans didn't know the word nigga. We taught them that. And if we are gonna take the responsibility for hip hop like you say we should, we gotta take responsibility for the fuck ups. I fucked up bad. So, a lot of people, they applaud me for what I do socially. But, a lot of that shit, I'm trying to pay back my debts to my people, dog."
3. Coming Out With His Own Shoe
With rappers enterprising in this day and age, Banner has jumped into the fray with his own line of designer shoes. "Bryan Samuel is a black owned, high-end shoe designer. I'm talking 'bout on the level of Christian Louboutin and I'm inking a deal with them right now," Banner reveals. "So, let me tell y'all what I'm doing, so you will know. I am trying to own everything... everybody talks about white supremacy. I don't look at white supremacy no more, you know? What white supremacy is to me -- that shows me that's something else that I need to own. If you won't let me be Superman, I'll make my own super heroes. Christian Louboutin, you don't want black folks in your motherfuckers shoes. Gucci, y'all act funny when black motherfuckers come in your store. Then, I'm on it. And when my shoes come out, I don't wanna hear one motherfucker complain about the price of my shoes 'cause you will spend $3,000 on a motherfucker that hate you. So, it's like everything on this planet that I see. Like, I was talking to a motherfucker today. I wanna own water. One of the reasons they'll never stop killing our people is 'cause we need their water and their motherfucking electricity. That's what I want."
4. David Banner Likes Guns
During Banner's interview, the rapper confirmed that he is using his right to bear arms, as evidenced by his collection of firepower. "Oh yeah, I hold 30 or 40," Banner reveals when asked about his love for firearms. "Well see, I don't know whether it's 30 or 40 'cause somebody broke into one of my cars. So, I'm still trying to figure out. But, I'ma tell you, Xzibit and Cee-Lo, them two motherfuckers; them the only two people that had a more thorough [arsenal] than I. My favorite gun, I have a Navy issue AR-15. It's a short one with the 100-round Mickey Mouse clip on it. Big K.R.I.T. saw that shit."
5. His Take On Race Relations In Mississippi.
"Let me tell you something about white folks in Mississippi, if I had to pick a white person on this planet, it would be a white person from Mississippi," Banner explains. "If a white person in Mississippi love you, they'll die for you; if they hate you, they'll kill you. That's all I want. I wanna know where you stand. If you see a white person pass a certain street in Mississippi, you know he or she really fuck with us, real live. And all I want is the truth. Don't do like they did in New York, where they hang around you for eighty years and then, they stealing ya pension. And then, you 'bout to retire and you figure out that motherfucker that been smiling in your face, giving you coffee everyday. You going to they child's bar mitzvah or whatever, this motherfucker done stole your whole fucking pension. Nah, the white people in Mississippi. If they fuck with you, they fuck with you. If they don't, they don't, and that's all I fucking want."
The thing is, don't you really wanna know what's going on in your state, so you can fix it? Don't you really wanna know how America feels about you? Why do you wanna live a lie? In The Matrix, the white dude said, 'I know the steak doesn't exist. But, it tastes so good.' Motherfuckers know we living a lie. I wanna see all y'all racism."
6. David Banner Turned Down A TV Show
A guest spot or cameo on a TV show is a great way to gain exposure. But, Banner passed up on that chance once. "I had an opportunity about two years ago to do a very big TV show, right when The God Box dropped," Banner shares. "They wanted me to do this big TV show and they wanted me to be this wild ass motherfucker, and they was paying me so much money. And not only did they say that, they said, 'Listen, David Banner, this is a major TV show. But, we'll shoot around your schedule 'cause we want somebody that has lived this lifestyle. But, what this young Asian kid from Buffalo, New York told me is that they use your 6'2 non-comedic black frame to perpetuate black fear. So, they paid me all of this money. Notice, there's only certain type of black person that they let get certain type of roles. I'm a semester and a thesis away from a Masters, dog. I got a 3.998 from one of the top universities in this world, in an accelerated Masters program. Why the fuck can't I play a doctor?"
7. His Relationship with Noreaga
Noreaga's status as one of hip hop's most beloved and respected figures has been stamped. But, Banner points to his own experiences with the Lefrak City native as a testament to his character. "We were trying to shoot a video. N.O.R.E. was one of the first New York cats I had ever saw that really liked southern music. It wasn't fake. Like, he had known about Master P from D.C. way before Master P had blown and he was in New York -- on the tables -- like, 'This southern shit is crazy. He loved this song that we had called 'Fire Water.'' He ended up getting on the record. N.O.R.E. told me, 'You gotta go in there and scare the white people.' He said, 'You can throw something through the glass, you can turn over the desk, just don't touch them [laughs].'" He later recalls an encounter with Noreaga during the shooting of his music video for "Oh No," a moment Banner remembers. "So, Noreaga told Neil Levine that this 'Fire Water' shit, this is actually the shit right here," Banner says. "He was like, 'You're shooting a million dollar video. Give these boys $70,000 and let them shoot a video out of my budget. You won't be able to tell the difference.' And Neil Levine still said no."
8. Noreaga Bought A Beat From David Banner At The Beginning Of His Career
Prior to his breakout success, Banner was struggling to find a record deal for himself and Crooked Lettaz. But, Noreaga provided a lifeline by purchasing tracks from the unknown producer during a rough patch. "I'm sleeping on Wendy Day's floor. I was homeless, bro," Banner remembers. "I just want you to know how much you did for me. Like, look at me, bro. I'm serious. You were the motherfucker that gave me money to go home when you bought those beats for your brothers, bro, for that Militainment shit. You were the first person that paid significant money for a David Banner beat, bro. I'll never forget that, bro. I was on Wendy Day's floor drinking beer and [eating] pound cake."
9. His First Encounter With The Ruff Ryders
"Dee and Waah was two motherfuckers that fucked with me. They were like two motherfuckers just like you, bro," Banner says of the Ruff Ryders CEOs. "They had signed Fiend to Ruff Ryders and Fiend was my homie, and he was one of the people that helped me, and believed in me when I ain't have no money. And Dee and Waah, I remember. I was there. Icepick was there. Everybody was there. I was doing a beat for Fiend and we was listening to some Ruff Ryders shit, and everybody was rocking, like, bumping their head. And I was like, 'Bruh, that shit ain't jamming' and I said it. And all the motherfuckers in the room was like, 'Ah man, he from the south,' and Dee and Waah was like,' Shut up. Mississippi, what you got to say?' And I told 'em, like, 'That shit cool. But, you can do this, this, that and the other.' And Dee and Waah both was like, 'Bruh, do that shit.' And I remember that shit came out."
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