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David Banner Talks Upcoming 'Make Believe Album' and How Heavy D Helped Him

David Banner is taking his time with his upcoming The Make Believe Album. Forget what you may think you know about the project, except that he's focused on doing only what he wants. Fans also know Banner can showcase his aggressive and raspy flow without hesitation. On this album, Banner returns to many staples that have created the Mississippi native’s reputation: club, street and introspective tracks with a Southern twist. Banner's latest single “Do Work” featuring Don Trip is his transformation back into brute mode, letting loose an in-your-face account of his daily hustle.

Banner’s music ventures are just one side of the multi-faceted artist. He’s also known to be outspoken about the current social issues in hip-hop and political news. Banner’s vehement criticisms have stirred conversations about his beliefs in the past but have never caused him to apologize. The 38-year-old spoke to VIBE on his upcoming projects, his track "Malcolm," Heavy D and more. --Eric Diep

VIBE: Which album, MTA3: The Trinity Movement or The Make Believe Album, are you working on right now?
Banner: I am working on The Make Believe Album.  This is the one I’m working on first. That’s like my main focus. Nobody knows this--you’re the first person I told. The Don Trip … that record is not actually on the Make Believe Album. This is just a record me and Don Trip did that I really like. And I just wanted to give it to the fans.

Are you working with anybody on The Make Believe Album? Or did you want to take the production and raps into your own hands?
I’m taking the production totally in my hands. Honestly, and you can tell people, I’m about to take it on the production side. What I’m on right now, I think people will go back to school to learn how to play something to really understand what I’m about to do.

Do you plan on making this album with a socially conscious message like Death Of A Popstar while still supplying fans with club-bangers and street hits?
I don’t have a plan, I’m just being me. Think about who I am as an artist. I am probably the biggest example of a walking oxymoron. I just am. I want to do me. I am political. I am spiritual. I do love to fight. I do love to make peace. I am all of that. And anybody who says they are 100 percent of anything is a liar. I don’t have a plan. I’m just doing what I feel. And right now I feel like there is no consciousness in music. So I’m going to give a little extra. When music is conscious again, then I’m back on gangsta shit. I am whatever you not.

The first possible single “Malcolm" sounds inspired by Public Enemy. Why did you look at such a politically-driven hip-hop group for inspiration?
“Malcolm” wasn’t inspired by Public Enemy. Malcolm was more or less inspired by where we are as Americans. America has turned into a nation of talk. We just talk. I’m looking at TV shows and people who are making the most money are the people with no talent. How can you grow so much money? You can’t sing, you can’t shoot a basketball, you can’t rap. But you are making all this money because of who you are having sex with? Is that what America is really built on right now? I just got tired. As much as people say it is political, it’s not. It’s just the truth. The hook on Malcolm was: “All my favorite rappers are either dead or in jail.” And that’s a problem.

On a more personal note, Hip-Hop lost one of the most popular figures, Heavy D. Were you close to him?
Yeah, I knew Heavy. That’s real touchy topic. Heavy was a really good dude. Heavy was so much more than a rapper. He was one of the few cats that were actually really good people.

What did he do to impact hip-hop?
I don’t want to talk about Heavy D, the rapper. It was Heavy D, the man that was amazing to me. When I first moved out to LA, and Heavy saw that I was acting, Heavy came to me and was like, “Dude, anything that you need …” Because he had moved out there four, five years before I did. And he already got into the acting game and knew the loopholes and tricks and all the stuff. And he said, “If you ever need me brother, I’m here for you. I’ll help you figure it all out.” That’s the type of thing that I’m talking about. Just good people. Nowadays, any kid can rap. For me, if you get a chance to ask somebody, don’t ask about the rapper, ask about the man. Because Heavy, the man is what I want people to know about.
So how did Heavy help David Banner, the man?
Just showed me that you can be yourself. You don’t have to walk around with the rapper façade. Just be you. Just be you, whoever that is. It’s ok to smile. One thing I remember about Heavy the most is his ability to smile. Regardless of what, just smile dude. Just the ability to smile; it’s ok.

 

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DaBaby Takes His "Bop On Broadway" In New Video

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Directed by Reel Goats, the video is billed as a hip-hop musical and features lots of gleeful dancing. In fact, at one point the Jabbawockeez take over the video.

In other DaBaby news, the"Baby on Baby" rapper has been running the Billboard's Hot 100 chart for six consecutive sixth weeks, as a result of having eight songs on the latest weekly Billboard Hot 100 charts.

Of DaBaby's eight songs on Billboard, four are from his Kirk LP. The other entries are collaborations with Lil Baby, Chance the Rapper, Megan Thee Stallion, Post Malone, and Lil Baby.

Watch the video above.

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Solange Uses Her Divine Spirit To Calm The Mind And Body For "Bridge-s" Performance Piece

There's a serene feeling over the bodies standing in the iconic architecture at the Getty Center Museum. Jazzy horns, peaceful keys, and crisp guitar riffs gently interrupt the soothing silence as dancers dripped in marigold threads swayed to "Counting," a composition created by Solange. A series of odd numbers like "5", "7" and "9" are recited on a loop by half of her dancers while the others chant "6", "4" and "2." It's just a preview of her latest creation Bridge-s but felt like a dynamic meditation.

Bridge-s brings yet another magnetic piece into her series of interdisciplinary works that spawned after the release of her magnum opus, A Seat At The Table. The world was introduced to Solange's artistic side thanks to performance art pieces at the Guggenheim in New York and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.

Composed by Solange and choreographed by Gerard & Kelly, Bridge-s was created with the pillars, beams, and columns around the museum in mind. Dancers and the orchestra used the space to their advantage, with tuba players catching the peripheral of attendees from afar.

Four rollouts will take place November 16-17, curated with a selection of films that include Black to Techno by Jenn Nkiru, AFRONAUTS and Boneshaker by Nuotama Bodomo, The State of Things by singer-songwriter Kish Robinson (Kilo Kish) and more. In its entirety, Bridge-s was designed to explore "transitions through time."

This was felt throughout the performance piece as dancers move with the intent of love, internal struggle, and unity. In a stunning zine designed by Sablā Stays, Gerard & Kelly shared the emphasis behind their modernist and inclusive approach.

"Our work, like hers, is part of an interdisciplinary effort throughout the arts and humanities to redefine modernism by critically engaging its prevailing narratives. By accounting for differences of gender, sexuality, and race. By focusing on intimate and collective histories. By centering our work around the body, dance and movement," they said.

Solange also opened up about the importance the museum and the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg played in the performance piece. "Both Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and the Getty Museum have sure strong distinctive voices spatially, and so the intention is that all of the work, the movement, the language, the songs all align with those principles," she said. "Working with Gerard and Kelly, who share many of the same philosophies on their approach to interpreting time and space through performance has really built the foundation [for] the spirit of this collaboration."

Like the rest of us, the artist watched closely the dancers glide across the floor, while bandmembers release enchanting sonnets with vocalists dropping a few high notes in between. Guests like Thundercat (and his Pikachu backpack), Kilo Kish, Dev Hynes of Blood Orange and Tyler, The Creator were also left speechless after the performance.

“I just want to thank you guys for allowing me the space to evolve, experiment and express new frontiers,” Solange said to the crowd after the assembly provided endless cheers.

Learn more about Bridge-s and get free tickets here.

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Premiere: Akevius Dotes On His Girl On "1+1" Feat. DaBaby

Rookie crooner Akevius not only has a strong voice and promising career in his future, but the North Carolina native has a strong pen game which is evident on his new single.

Today (Nov. 15), Akevius linked with VIBE.com to premiere his boy crazy record dubbed, "1+1" featuring DaBaby. Over an aphrodisiac-like instrumental, Akevius effortlessly dotes over his girl before letting DaBaby adds his two cents about how much he cares about his PYT, making for an addictive radio-friendly record.

“DaBaby was always supportive of my music and we mutually wanted to work on a song together, that’s how '1+1' came about,” Akevius said via email.

"She my cutie, stupid booty/Girl I love it when you shake it/She the realest, she the illest, no one got nothing on my baby/That's lady/To keep it G, she gon' take it just for me," sings Akevius.

The budding singer also worked with Plies on the Polow Da Don and Krazy Figz-produced "Dumb Love."

Stream "1+1" below.

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