Feed on Posts or Comments 30 July 2021

Miscellaneous Travis Hite on 04 Oct 2007 10:55 pm

David Banner on being fake


You may remember the article, I got 99 problems, but the elected officials presiding over the House Energy and Commerce Committee ain’t one that I published last week. In it one of the main quotes is provided by David Banner, who along with Master P spoke in defense of their medium. Rolling Stone did a follow-up interview with David, and found him to be in a rather chatty mood. He had five major complaints he wished to air, which are listed in this article. I’m not here to copy/paste the material of the interview, but I do want to focus in on a few of the more interesting points he made.

“One of my top three groups in the world is the Police. I love the old Police with Sting and the drummer holding the drum sticks the old-school drumline way … I happen to fall upon ‘Murder By Numbers.’ [Sings] ‘Murder by numbers, one, two, three … easy to learn as your A, B, Cs.’ He said in the song the best way to kill a man is put poison in his coffee. You look at ‘Wrapped Around Your Finger,’ that was a stalker song. Johnny Cash said he wanted to kill a man just for the sake of killing him. But that’s ‘art.’ So basically what you’re telling me is that [rap is] not art because we’re black.”

The statement starts out as being rather brilliant. He makes several juxtapositions to songs outside of his genre, showing he has respect for a wide variety of musical stylings. Then he goes in for the race card, and you can hear the collective intake from the audience. Granted, being from a certain demographic makes you filter information differently. However, this is not necessarily a racial issue. People take up arms against what they consider to be a loss of morals in entertainment regardless of race. Perhaps he’s forgetting the controversies over such artists as Elvis, The Beatles, Twisted Sister…the list can go on and on, and these artists conveyed their message to a predominantly white audience.

What is at the heart of this case is not the message, but the culture associated with it. I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but this is an issue of whether art influences society, or whether society influences art. It is important for rappers and hip-hop artists to be true to themselves in order to sell to their audience. Fans can pick up on a fake in a second I can’t help but agree with him wholeheartedly on the issue of language in music when he says

“Why is it that if we talk about ‘Fuck tha Police,’ people concentrate on the ‘fuck’ and don’t concentrate on police brutality against young back men? […] That’s how we fucking talk. ‘Shit, man, fuck, man, fuck the police, man. Yo, what up, what’s going down in the ‘hood today, shit is fucked up where I’m from.’ “

What is important is not the words and imagery that constitute the song. What is important is the social value of the message. If we’re talking about an angry young man and a response to police brutality, statements like “I really don’t like what the police are doing and I think there should be a reform.” just aren’t socially relevant. Any artist worth his salt will tell you that you have to be authentic to deliver a message with real impact. What I’m trying to say here is, fuck that uppity bullshit. Keep it real.

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