What is conscious rap? Who’s to judge if a rapper is deemed “conscious” enough for such a title? An excellent definition is provided by About.com‘s Rap and Hip Hop section. Essentially, it defines conscious rap as an aware sub-genre of the hip hop culture. It’s a variety on its own and one that focuses on knowledge, wisdom, and pursuits that mainstream does not perpetuate. Specifically, the medium quotes as follows.
“Conscious rappers traditionally decry violence, discrimination, and other societal ailments. It’s propelled by the conviction that radical social change comes through knowledge of self and personal discovery. Most conscious rap songs contain positive, uplifting messages, often delivered over smooth, ear-grabbing beats.”
As rumor has it, David Banner and “conscious rap”? Is that what’s really happening with the Mississippi native? In a recent interview with DJ Smallz, Banner says that this has to be his most lyrically prolific album. As the session progressed, questions arose about whether The God Box would be such an album and if he’s labeling himself that specific type of rapper now.
— ♍️Sour_Patch_Sweet♍️ (@Juicy_Trigger) October 7, 2015
To this, David says that he doesn’t want to place this project into a box or give it a certain type of category — nor himself. He was asked if he describes it as a “jamming, conscious album.” He quotes as follows.
“I’m proud of The God Box. I really am…[but] aaah. I wouldn’t describe it as s**t. I wouldn’t say it’s anything, Bro. It’s The God Box. You know…I’m a conscious person. But I don’t want to put it in a box, because you know what happens when you say it’s a ‘conscious’ album. Then, people have their stereotypes. That’s what people [are] always trying to do…put you in a box. You can’t put me in a box.
I used to be really ashamed of my earlier career, because I hurt a lot of people. I said a lot of wild s**t…even though that was my life, I pushed it over the board…I would say such mean stuff. But what I realized is that’s the balance in life…those songs were sort of like the conduit to these kids even listening to me. They know about the guns…fights…music…me jumping off stage…
…[but] I go into schools now talking about meditation. I go into school teaching kids about spirituality. Bro, they bring me in Baptist churches to speak about spirituality…meetings with Farrakhan…Dr. Omar Johnson…I’m in Tanzania and meeting presidents…rulers of countries, Bro…This music s**t, it’s cool. But when you have the ability to shape and change people’s lifes…”
David Banner, after reflecting over his life, notes that he’s changed from who he once was in his career. That’s what’s supposed to happen over time. Change and progression, learning and experiences. If you’re in the same place you were a decade ago — whether mentally, emotionally, spiritually or physically — what are you doing? It’s apparent that David is at his “awakening.” That isn’t said due to any “conscious” talk. However, it’s as noted from a letter called “The Awakening” on the University of Notre Dame’s website.
There comes a time in your life when you’re tired of looking at the world as is presented, and you see it for what it really is — as well as your position in it. The text states, verbatim, as follows.
“This is your awakening. You realize that it’s time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change or for happiness, safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon.”
From David Banner’s interview, it’s safe to say that he has reached this particular pinnacle in his career and life span. Even in 2013, as reports Atlanta Black Star, Banner created his own film in which he discussed the realms and perspective topics of African mythology from the standpoint of Aket. The film is called Walking With Gods.
So, whether or not people want to accept that the Southern rapper just isn’t who he used to be, mentally, is beside the point. Change happens. For instance, he talks about his 2003 hit with T.I., “Rubberband Man.” Think back to where you were 12 years ago. You probably aren’t the same person you were when that track came out, right?
People have to realize that conscious rappers weren’t always “awake.” At some point in time, they were sound asleep and rapping about anything — not really caring who they were affecting with their words, just so long as the check kept coming.
However, as he states in the interview, Banner also realizes that hip hop and rap just isn’t what it used to be in the black community. He said that other ethnicities are embodying the spirit and essence of what it used to be “hip hop,” while those from the ethnicity that started it are now mumbling over a hot instrumentals.
There will be no name calling. However, if you think of modern-day rap trends, surely there are some artists that come to mind, yes? What are your thoughts about the things David Banner has said? Like him, have you transformed into a different people over the years? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
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