read in: 21 min
Ebony S. Muhammad (EM): You recently released a new single, “Evil Knievil”. It’s very refreshing to hear straight forward, unapologetic and fearless lyrics in Hip Hop. We really don’t hear enough of that.
David Banner (DB): I put out a tweet a couple days ago so that people would be clear. Some people would want to believe that I’m doing what I’m doing for shock-value, but what I challenge people to do is debate or deny anything that I write. I don’t write anything from emotions anymore. I’m done with emotions; that’s my old career. I based everything that I do on facts. If it fits you then I’m talking about you, whoever you are. Good, bad, Black, White…whatever it may end up being. All I deal in is the truth. There’s something going on right now from a vibrations standpoint and from a spiritual standpoint. There’s a shift that I can’t quite explain. If we don’t do something right now, it may be another 50 or 100 years before Black people will be in a position to make the type of change that I feel right now. It’s not like I have a choice to do what I’m doing right now, it’s a must.
EM: Yes sir, and the urgency of it is definitely necessary.
The type of Hip Hop that we’re hearing today, in mainstream, is void of the edu-tainment aspect; meaning music with a message – the consciousness, the empowerment, the pride, the intellectual stimulation. The subject matter is so degrading and counterproductive to changing the condition that we are in. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan tweeted, “One song can wake up nations. So the cultural community must rise and be infused with ideas that can lead to liberation”.
Your track “Evil Knievil”, in my opinion, is a great wake up message. Can you expound on the idea, your goal with this song and what inspired it?
DB: When I went to Ferguson and I saw the fire in these children’s eyes, I saw the willingness of them to lay down their lives for what they believe is right. Evil White people made a n*gger. N*ggers were made. We were never n*ggers, and we were never meant to be n*ggers. We were bred to be that way. However, what they never ever calculated were those n*ggers turning on them. Now what’s amazing is that the inbred hate that they tried to create for us has now turned on them.
These kids want more, and the reason why they are the way they are is our fault. Our kids are a reflection of what we did or did not do. I refuse to point fingers at these children because they are children. Therefore, instead of criticizing them, show them how to be successful at this.
Part of the reason why entertainment is this way is because Black folks don’t buy Black music. The reason why I’m able to do what I do is because I run a multi-media company, and I do it very well. For me this is a personal journey. I just want to feel that I did all that I could do, regardless of how people react. There was a time where I couldn’t sleep. When I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to do, when I wasn’t on a mission and doing what I was called to do, I couldn’t sleep at night. I sleep like a baby now.
EM: That’s a very strong message to send regarding your purpose and utilizing your talent to fulfill the assignment that you were given by Allah (God). I think that in terms of having peace of mind, that’s how you know you’re on the right path.
I want to talk to you about the responsibility that you are assuming with your talent and other artists such as Jasiri X, Jay Electronica and even T.I. who are taking a very proactive and objective approach. Other artists want to talk about money, sex, violence and drugs, because ‘it’s what’s going on in the community’. Yet, that’s very subjective, and it doesn’t have a base or reference point. It doesn’t have a solution to it, and it’s on a very low frequency. Yet, when you and the other artists I mentioned take this approach such as in your track “Evil Knievil”, you’re pointing out the source of these issues by name. You talked about police brutality, crack in the community as well as past events such as the bombing of “Black Wall Street”.
DB: I’m basically talking about the most violence man on this Earth. White men are the most violent men. Again, I’m not speaking from an emotional standpoint. Historically speaking, and let’s be more specific; old White men. Anywhere that old White men have gone people have died. That is the truth. They try to paint us as savages. The truth is Black folks didn’t act the way they’ve acted until a year after integration. People don’t talk about those studies. We didn’t know the word n*gger until we got here (America). We saw them (Whites) call us n*ggers. We didn’t beat ourselves. The way that Black men beat other Black men is near savage. We don’t beat anyone else like that. I’m not saying that it’s anyone else’s fault, we still have a responsibility. However, until we know the truth and the history behind the reason we act the way the we act, we will never be able to solve the problem.
EM: Yes sir, you went right into my next question regarding the importance of being able to look back at those points in our history that’s in the lyrics in your song.
We’re living in a time where a lot of these children don’t know about those events and are not being taught what happened. Like you said, our responsibility is passing that information on and we have not been doing a good job of that.
With that being said, Minister Farrakhan said in the recent lecture, “The Troubled World: What Should We Be Doing?” as it relates to Ferguson, “Ferguson is the microcosm of the macrocosm.” He stated that it will eventually make its way into cities like Chicago and that there is a conspiracy to destroy the Black youth. What are your thoughts about what is taking place in Ferguson, the Minister’s warning for other cities and the conspiracy to destroy the Black youth?
DB: It goes back to slavery. My personal opinion is that Black on Black crime stems from White supremacy. When we were slaves, the person that we looked up to the most was the slave master because he had the money, the power and all of those things. Therefore, what ended up happening is what’s called Stockholm syndrome [hostages express sympathy and positive feelings toward their captors sometimes to the point of defending them]. It’s a similar syndrome that Black people have. A lot of people got mad at me for saying this on CNN; the reason why a lot of Black kids kill each other is the same reason why White cops kill Black men. We don’t have any respect for our lives the same way they don’t. They don’t love our lives and we don’t love our lives. The truth is there’s a reason why we don’t love our lives. The reason they hate us …I don’t know. We didn’t do anything but build this country for free and take care of their kids. I do know why [they hate us], but from a practical standpoint there is no reason for White men to hate Black men.
To answer your question about Ferguson: I was telling someone the only reason why we know what’s going on in America now is because of these cell phones. They’ve been killing us since we’ve reached these shores. Before integration it was legal. They had to find a way to continue doing what they wanted to do. They started doing it within the system. The scary thing is usually when they’re wrong and they’re caught on tape, they chill for a while. However, every week since Mike Brown was killed, a cop has killed somebody. This has been the case since slavery, after slavery and it has continued. I believe to a certain degree that it is the elite White man’s sport to kill Black males. We have always been a sport to them.
EM: You just sparked some words of one of our Student Ministers, Brother Abdul Muhammad, who talked about these occurrences as ‘labor contractions’. The closer they are in time and intensity means you’re getting closer to a delivery. When we look at Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin, there was a little bit of time between the two. Yet, like you just said, since the murder of Mike Brown every week the police are beating and killing Black men and women.
Therefore, when Minister Farrakhan says that one song can wake up nations, do you think that it’s one of those elements to resurrect our people and their thinking? These young brothers and sisters are fearless, they’ll put their life on the line. Yet, there’s another population that’s still being lulled to sleep. The intensity and frequency of these incidences are getting closer and stronger to where people are starting to wake up. Where do you see your part as a leader in the Hip Hop community to aid that resurrection with your lyrics?
DB: The younger generation don’t care one way or another. They’re either all the way for it or they just don’t know. My personal opinion is there are rich Black folks who don’t want the system to change. I don’t try to get mythological, I don’t try to get super smart on people. Stuff is very simple. Why would rich Black people – and there are exceptions to the rule – why would they want to change the system when they’ve made millions and billions on it being exactly the way that it is right now? That’s the same thing about some of our leaders. A lot of our leaders don’t want Black people to be free. How are they going to get the money that they’ve gotten by shaking us down? They get money for shaking our community down. I don’t think that they’re asleep. I think that they’re wide awake and they just want us to calm down. They want things to go back to normal, as long as it doesn’t affect them personally and their money.
There’s a line in my song, “I was on my way to Heaven, but I stopped and turned around for my people”. Do you know how many people come to me and say, “Dude, do you see how much money you’re making with this multi-media company? This is the most money you’ve ever made in rap. Why are you so political now? Dude, you’re on your way to Heaven”. My response is, it ain’t Heaven without my people.
EM: Yes sir! Beautifully stated. Thank you very much for the work you are doing and the stance you are taking to make and be that change.
DB: Thank you sis.
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Click the image to listen to Evil Knievil