David Banner has teamed with the Boys & Girls Club of central Mississippi to ensure that future generations of young music lovers are provided opportunities to study and master various facets of the industry by way of a state-of-the-art music studio.
The rapper, born Lavell William Crump, is donating a recording studio to the kids in his hometown as part of the ninth annual “Heal the Hood at Christmas” project in Jackson, Page Six reports. It’s the first of six studios to be developed in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs chapter.
“I come back because I love the way I feel when I come in here,” he told the Clarion-Ledger. “Now you see that I can give back, hopefully one of y’all can get popping from this studio and come back and give some more money.”
The music studio will allow kids to learn everything from songwriting, producing and performing to recording. The first studio will be located near the same basketball courts that Jackson, Mississippi-born Banner visited to escape gang violence. Boys & Girls Club President and CEO Penney Ainsworth says it will “promote education and creativity.”
— HipHopWired (@HipHopWired) December 24, 2015
David began his music career as a member of the rap duo Crooked Lettaz, before going solo in 2000. In 2003, he signed to Universal Records releasing four albums: Mississippi: The Album (2003), MTA2: Baptized in Dirty Water (2003), Certified (2005), and The Greatest Story Ever Told (2008). His stage name is taken from the lead character of the television series, The Incredible Hulk.
The music producer is also an occasional actor and activist, having appeared in movies such as The Butler, Ride Along, The Confidant, and Black Snake Moan. In November 2006, David was awarded a Visionary Award by the National Black Caucus of the State Legislature in recognition of his work after Hurricane Katrina.
Back in 2005, banner performed at the ReAct Now: Music & Relief special, which inspired him to organize his own Katrina benefit concert titled Heal the Hood Hurricane Relief Concert. The concert featured a star-studded line-up of performers, held at the Philips Arena in Atlanta, and was hosted by rapper Lil Jon. Proceeds from the event benefited the Heal the Hood Foundation, which provides aid to the nation’s poorest neighborhoods.
“I’m from Mississippi … people in Atlanta, in Houston, Lafayette Louisiana, we have no choice, we live in these places, we couldn’t walk away from it if we wanted to,” Banner said backstage at ReAct Now. “We can’t turn off the TV and it goes away. It’s our responsibility.”
Back in September 2007, David testified before Congress at a hearing about racism and misogyny in hip hop music titled, “From Imus to Industry: The Business of Stereotypes and Degrading Images.” As USA Today reported, while lawmakers, music industry executives, and rappers “disagreed over who was to blame for the degrading language in hip-hop music, they united in opposing government censorship as a solution.”
“If by some stroke of the pen hip-hop was silenced, the issues would still be present in our communities,” Banner said in prepared statements to a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing. “Drugs, violence and the criminal element were around long before hip-hop existed.”
At the hearing, music videos showing scantily clad women were played and “black civil rights leaders talked of corporate exploitation.” David defended his use of offensive language and argued in his opening statement that “Change the situation in my neighborhood and maybe I’ll get better. I can admit there are some problems in hip hop but it is only a reflection of what’s taking place in our society. Hip hop is sick because America is sick.”
David Banner is set to release his upcoming album The God Box in February, and he recently dropped a leftover track from the recordings called The Cross, which finds him attempting to remove Jesus from the universal symbol of human suffering. Stream the track here and pre-order the album here.
— ♍️Sour_Patch_Sweet♍️ (@Juicy_Trigger) December 25, 2015
[Images courtesy Bennett Raglin/Getty Images/Twitter]