Q&A: David Banner Talks Sex, Drugs And Video Games In Hip-Hop


Sex! Drugs! Video games! Nope, that isn’t the hedonist’s new trifecta—it’s the title of Mississippi rapper David Banner’s new free album, which you can cop now. The project in question might not go all-out on the salacious tip; Banner says, “The title is used to draw people in to think that it’s about sex, drugs and video games, but it’s about why people shouldn’t regurgitate those things and if life was a video game who would control it?” Which is a virtuous stance, but one that didn’t stop us from pestering Banner to take a quick trip through his own hip-hop-related sex, drug and video game annals.

Can you remember the first time you heard a sex rap?

I’ve been listening to hip-hop for so long—I started listening to hip-hop when I was six years old—so I’m not quite sure if this is the right answer, but I’d say it would probably be Uncle Luke and the 2 Live Crew and their first album [2 Live Crew Is What We Are]. The whole of that first album, ha ha, that whole album you can pick any song off there it don’t matter ’cause it’s about sex!

What was your first impression of the 2 Live Crew when you heard the album?

I hope my moms don’t hear me listening to this! I was just really really concerned about my mom and what she’d think if she heard me listening to that. To this day, I still do. As vocal as I can be at at times when I make songs, I still think about what would my mom think about this. I mean, she didn’t love me listening to the 2 Live Crew, but I didn’t get in trouble.

When you heard Luke’s sex raps, did you find them humorous?

I would say there was humor but some of them were just sounding smooth to me. I mean, my parents just laid the foundation for everything to be seen as entertainment—if kids are influenced by music or television it’s because of a lack of discipline or education at home. So I definitely listened to them but took them for what they were.

If you had to compile a sex playlist yourself, what would be on it?

You can pick any of the songs off of Keith Sweat’s first album! That would do it!

What would a Keith Sweat and David Banner collaboration sound like today?

It would be amazing—lots of 808s! I’d keep his music high-tempo and go in on the 808s!

The second part of your new album title is “drugs.” What was the first rap record you heard about drugs that you thought was really creatively written?

I think when Dr. Dre came out with The Chronic. That changed the whole culture of music. It gave people the confidence to really talk about weed. I remember when I first heard it I was amazed at how the production was and how big it all sounded together: It was a Dre album, but with Snoop and Daz and Kurrupt and Nate Dogg and they was going to be a part of that, so you know that it was going to mean all of them. So just the production and the packaging and how it was presented made it work.

Do you think The Chronic is hip-hop’s most important weed album?

By far. I think it’s one of the most important albums period, whether weed or not. It’s important in hip-hop history.

Talking about video games, have you ever sampled one in your own music?

Oh yeah, I’ve sampled a lot of video games. I actually just sampled The Legend of Zelda 2 a couple of days ago.

Which part of Legend of Zelda 2 did you sample?

It was the opening title music, the music that plays when you first start the game.

Were you a fan of Mannie Fresh when he was first sampling video game sound effects?

I was always a big fan of what Mannie Fresh was doing, but I didn’t realize that he was taking from games at the time.

You wrote the title song to the video game Saints Row. What sort of brief were you given for that?

I remember that was right after [Hurricane] Katrina happened. People never noticed it, but that song is about Katrina—I flipped that whole concept, it was about the saints and New Orleans, it was a really political song. People should go back and listen to the song. That was really important to me and I really appreciate the way the people from the video game world supported it. I also did the commercial for the new Marvel vs. Capcom game.

What would a David Banner video game be like?

It would be a mix between sci-fi and history. I’d find a way to combine African culture and space and time and the future, you know? And black people! You don’t get to see a lot [of them] in video games!

Finally, if you had to pick just one of sex, drugs and video games to enjoy for the rest of your life, which would it be?

Oh, it would be definitely sex!