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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Gucci Mane, XXXTentacion, & More Friday Releases You Need To Hear

Another week, another list of Friday music releases. The week's of 2018 are dwindling, but there is a little more time left for some last-minute music releases. From Gucci Mane, to XXXTentacion, and Ice Cube, here are the albums and singles that you need to hear.

Gucci Mane – Evil Genius

Gucci Mane's 13th studio album is here. The rapper dropped his new project, Evil Genius, featuring an all-star list of talent, including, Quavo, Kevin Gates, Lil Skies and 21 Savage. The LP also features production by Metro Boomin, Murda Beatz and Southside.

The latest music drop marks the perfect finish to an eventful year for Guwop. He previously dropped DropTopWop, Mr. Davis, and El Gato The Human Glacier this year. Even so, the rapper suggested that he wants to make a bang with Evil Genius.

"I think this time, this album was like the first time I kind of had more fun making the records," he said during an interview with Beats 1. "With the intentions of just going in the studio and just had fun and this is what came out. But before, I was kind of going and expressing myself, talking through the mic, like I had a lot of my chest. This album was like, let's find the best beat, make the best song and put it out."

XXXTentacion – Skins

In celebration of XXXTentacion's posthumous album, Skins, his estate and friends through a livestreamed event at 9p.m. EST, featuring Trippie Redd, PnB Rock, Ski Mask the Slump God, Matt Ox and more.

There has been quite a bit of buzz surrounding the late rapper's new release. It's his first since his death in June 2018. The album features only one guest appearance from Kanye West. On the track, which is entitled "On Minute," Ye reportedly addressed abuse allegations brought against X. In support of the album, Kanye also released a Yeezy capsule collection, commemorating their single.

Since X's death he has been regarded as a young legend, gone too soon. His sophomore album ?  peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. Listen to Skins below.

Ice Cube – Everythang's Corrupt

Ice Cube is make with Everythang's Corrupt. The album's only feature is OG rapper Too $hort.

Cube already got fan excited after released the one of the LP's single "Arrest the President." The track takes aim at President Trump's corruption and racist policies. The album's cover art features Cube holding a 100-dollar bill in his bloodied hands.

Everythang's Corrupt is Cube's tenth studio album and his first in eight years. It's a follow-up to 2010's I Am the West.

Sneakk Ft. YG & Tyga – "Spray"

New artist Sneak has joind forces with YG and Tyga to bring their new banger "Spray." It's Sneakk's first track released through Def Jam. The single definitely sounds like the new stripper anthem or the perfect track to ride down the block to.

Ahead of the single's release, the rapper's shared a teaser on social media featuring a behind the scenes look at their music video.

Michelle Williams – "Fearless"

Michelle Williams is back. The songstress – best known as a member of the popular girls group Destiny's Child – recently dropped a new solo record entitled "Fearless."

The pop record is an inspirational anthem, encouraging fans to face their fears and chase their dreams. This is a huge moment for Williams, as it is her first single in nearly four years. It also follows an overwhelming year for the singer, who got engaged in Apr. 2018, as well as publicly revealed her battle with depression and mental illness.

Listen to the new track below.

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Premiere: Fuego And A. Chal Take Over The Strip Club In "Dancin" Music Video

Dominican trap artist Fuego has created an ode to the art of stripping with his new single “Dancin,” featuring producer and R&B extraordinaire A. Chal. The visuals for the track are laced with bright blue club lights and brief salacious interludes of voluptuous young ladies dancing provocatively.

The two are seemingly in a never-ending party in efforts to promote strip club etiquette through their tantalizing lyrics. There's no denying that Fuego's sound is reminiscent of today's prominent trap artists like Migos and Future, but he packs in a Latino flair, like his contemporaries Bad Bunny and El Alfa. The Washington D.C. native's sound is similar, but it's worth noting he's been on the scene for a while, steadily etching his mark as his musical prowess rises within hip-hop and Latin audiences.

“For some reason, I've always wanted to do a sound that American hip-hop has, and then break that my way,” he tells VIBE. “When it comes to putting stuff together and making fusions of music, I've done it all my life. When I first started out, I did reggae beats, but I was rapping over them. There’s a little more urban, hip-hop sound in the Latin community. Before, it was mad reggae. It either had to be a tropical type song or reggaeton song. I've always wanted to come out with hip-hop music."

Watch the video for "Dancin" below.

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Noname Tells A Tale Of Black Boy Plight In 'Blaxploitation' Visual

Noname's first music video is better than expected as the artist takes on the topics of dangerous implicit biases toward young men of color.

On Tuesday (Dec. 4), the Chicago rapper/poet released "Blaxploitation," a standout from her critically acclaimed album, Room 25. Directed by Alex Lill (Sampha, Joey Bada$$,  Lil Yachty) and written by Noname, the short film includes homages to Blaxploitation films of the 70s through its the style of multiple frames at once as a toddler wrecks havoc on a small-scale version of Chicago.

The music video gives the metaphorical message of how the black boy is criminalized from the beginning of his life. Even in the joy of imagination, his existence is subjected to a criminal or as the townspeople deem him: a monster baby.

The 27-year-old singer will continue riding high off the critically and streaming success of her debut album Room 25 as she will embark on a 37-city trek across the country and Canada.

The Room 25 tour kicks off in Detriot on Jan. 2nd. Dates can be found here.

READ MORE: Noname To Replace ‘Room 25’ Album Art After Designer Abuse Accusations

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