So what does it say if an album like Death Of A Pop Star does not perform commercially?
Here’s the thing. I don’t want to hear no bullshit about how there’s not any good music out. That’s not the problem. The problem is people just talk about good music and buy bullshit. I’m going to put this Death Of A Pop Star album out with my money. This is not a huge label funding this…every single video you see I paid for it. When you download without paying for my music, you ain’t stealing from Universal or any other label. You are stealing from me. So I don’t want to hear all these bloggers saying southern rappers are bullshit or that the big artists are not putting out music for the community. I don’t won’t to hear that shit. If you are not going to buy this, I’m back to doing what I do.
But you have been able to enjoy commercial success on your own terms both as an artist and a producer. What was the career impact of producing T.I.’s “Rubber Band Man,” which was your first across-the-board national hit?
When T.I. allowed me to tag my name on the “Rubber Man Band” that allowed me to brand myself. It allowed other producers to brand their music the same way. It was a huge look.
What are your thoughts on T.I.’s impending incarceration?
My biggest concern is not really so much about Tip. It’s about what his kids are going through. The one thing I know about Tip is that he is strong. When I first met him he was the shortest dude in the room [laughs]. But he was the toughest dude. He has always been grown. I just want his kids to be alright because no one ever talks about that aspect. That’s where my heart is.
What do you make of your recent success as a television commercial composer with your omnipresent Gatorade Evolve campaign?
A writer asked me, ‘How does it feel with all the revolutionary stuff you put out in your music that a Gatorade commercial will be the most revolutionary thing you will be remembered for?’ I just told him it doesn’t matter how God works. I am a better businessman and a better person from my career in commercials. I’m doing movie trailers; I have a production company that scores movies. I just finished doing the lead dance sequence for the upcoming Footloose remake. My partner and I are about to start a TV mini-series for black men. I have a lifestyle situation that’s designed to help black men grow. Advertisement Weekly said that David Banner is one of the new faces that’s changes the face of advertising.
Hearing that, does that make you proud?
Well, I don’t feel any way until the check is cut [laughs]. I’m not emotional, homie. All that emotional shit died with Crooked Lettaz. Until I start seeing community centers for kids going up and movies coming out that has a Banner Vision under it, I won’t be getting emotional.
You have become just as known for your political activism as you have for your music. With the national midterm elections set to kick off, what is your take on the rising influence of the controversial Tea Party?
Well, the thing that I like about America now, which has changed from when George W. Bush was President, is America now is very honest about how it feels about its people, whether it’s poor whites, blacks or Latinos. You see what Arizona is doing? You see what the Tea Party is doing? If nothing else, I would rather people be honest with me. I hate people smiling in my face and then when I’m 70-years-old my pension plan is gone.
So you are not alarmed by Sharon Angle coming out with an overtly racist commercial targeting Mexicans or Christine O’Donnell laughably assuring voters that she is not a witch?
This is all that matters: If we don’t get off our asses and vote we get what we deserve. As least we as young people know what we are dealing with. And that’s all I can ask from anybody. People can even say that some of my views can be looked at from the opposite spectrum of the Tea Party. But that’s not going to stop me from speaking. Everything that’s happening now just shows us how important it is to vote as young people.