David Banner: Music Industry Vet Speaks The Truth About Its Deception

Imagine walking into the game, fresh. You know you have what it takes to make it and be successful. You have the lyrical flow, image, fanbase, and management — the buzz. However, it’s getting noticed by higher-ups and labelheads. One day, you’re presented with a deal for full support and backing. But do you take it? What will it cost you in the long run?

This is where you need to speak with someone who has insider knowledge and won’t give you the glamour without the dirt. Luckily, David Banner, a rapper with years of good and bad experiences, is now warning newbies not to get caught up in the hype. Banner’s known for his in-your-face music and unfiltered concepts. Over recent years, this musical vet has become more philosophical and philanthropic. Likewise, he’s gone from being a rapper or artist to being a businessman.

During a recent interview with DJ Smallz, David mentioned that he no longer wants to be seen or referred to as just a musical artist. He mentioned that he’s on the pursuit of bigger things and wants to be similar to Akon in his philanthropy efforts.

“What I will tell you, Smallz, is that I’ll never be an ‘artist’ again. You know, me and labels, we can strike a deal. I run a corporation, a very successful corporation…I run a business that may be more successful than some of these labels. So, I’m even learning, with contracts…they can you a contract, but you can give them a contract also. You can make it to where they sign to you.

“So, for me — unless somebody gives me a ‘Rock’ contract…shoot me 80… 90… 100 million, where I can go start another company… dude, we good.”

Yet, while David Banner‘s path is continually enlightening for the better, he gives free insider knowledge from his own experiences about the music industry during the aforementioned interview. Apparently, an artist’s buzz is everything. He says that when the musician has it, he or she has a certain amount of power at his or her disposal. However, when record labels catch a breeze from the artist’s wind, they want to own it. And while you would, ideally, have the label’s backing and support, David Banner says that your actual profit would be less than what you could’ve done on your own.

“And I’m starting to learn, Bro, that they give us these numbers that were lies. Like, back in the day, yeah I got a $10 million deal, but they make people think that $10 million is in your pocket. That’s a lie. Basically, the money that I make off hip hop… the lil’ budgets that we do get… I can make that without a label.”

David Banner also states that the sources that used to be known for musical promotion and plays, like MTV, BET, and VH1, are no longer focused on music. Yet, those are still pitches that major labels use to get you caught up. And you have to wonder, when’s the last time you really noticed music segments on those channels as it used to be in the ’90s and early 2000s? Even now, if you go to MTV’s home page, there’s only one section about “featured” music, and it’s relatively small in comparison to all the promotions for reality television shows. In order to get news about music, you have to go to the sidebar and choose to go to that section.

Though Banner is bringing awareness to this information, at the same time, he’s not knocking a musician’s dream. However, one of his focuses in that particular part of the interview was that once a musician gains that level of support, he or she gives up everything else that has been worked for — as far as musical freedom is concerned. During his career with major labels, he said it got to the point that he no longer had any say over the way he looked. His image was no longer his own. To add to recent news about the musical vet, Banner even mentioned that he was trying to shoot a video for his newest project.

Unfortunately, the company he was trying to go through said it would cost him $75,000. As to point out deceptive practices, David notes that no one is paying that much for videos any longer — with the advent of newer technologies and freelance creators who’ll do the same job for a fraction of the cost. He notes that he’s shot various, high-quality videos for under $10,000.

All in all, David makes some valid points during his interview with DJ Smallz. However, he’s not forcing them on future artists. This is simply a call to awareness.

What are your thoughts about the advice? Feel free to share your comments in the section below.

[Image Courtesy of Bennett Raglin/Getty Images Entertainment]