David Banner’s hits have been a staple in the playlists of young listeners and old hip-hop heads alike, and after a long awaited seven years, he has released his album titled The God Box. It transcends what we know about ever emerging hip-hop culture, telling stories of awareness and desire for change with each progressing song.
We’ve got to give special attention to the fact that Banner has appearances by Raheem DeVaughn, Big K.R.I.T, CeeLo Green, Trinidad James, samples from UGK and so many other influential and talented voices. Each song brought a different element, allowing listeners to get their message from the project. In the first track, “Magnolia,” CeeLo Green provides listeners with a scenario about an undercover African American police officer, who married a white woman, and was ultimately killed by another white officer because he was taken at face value, as a black man. In the end, it seems that no matter your status in America, you still get seen through the same lens. Banner raps “They need proof that God exists, so I gave The God Box.” The lyrics in each song are his truth, a way that allows him never to be silenced, despite his analogy about the noose being tightened every time someone gets to speaking the truth.
The nooses hold seems to be perpetual, although its loosened grip makes us seem as if were freely moving through society. But news flash, we’re not in a post-racial America. The issues he tackles, such as misogyny, racism, materialism, financial instability and police brutality are all concepts that get tied up and silenced when opinions are voiced. He mentions victims of racial injustice and police brutality, bringing light to Trayvon Martin and other brothers and sisters lost– a cause he has always been very adamant about and expressed his sentiment towards. He doesn’t shy away from tackling consumerism in America, naming brands such as Gucci, Tom Ford, and Versace, expressing how he won’t support them until they do something beneficial for the people in neighborhoods like his. This standpoint definitely must have come within those seven years of introspection.
This album is all about perspective and clarity. Banner switches sounds throughout the album, as we listen to “Judy Blare,” which sounds like a straight up rock song. We even get a song titled“Elvis,” which talks about the appropriation of black culture– more specifically how hip-hop and rock have been stolen, and white washed. But can’t hip-hop be a uniting force? A genre with so much influential power can never be stolen, we all see the changes and accept or deny at our whim. But we understand the concern. He mentions culture vultures like Miley Cyrus, who capitalize off of black culture when the timing is right but gives it back when it’s no longer lucrative, the scheme is apparent. The song “Marry Me” lightens the mood, with some optimism, showing that black men have a lot to offer, forget what the statistics say.
The David Banner of the early 2000’s that many of us are all too familiar with provided listeners with bangers, including “Cadillac on 22’s,” “Get Like Me,” and “Play,” but many failed to realize that there was a conscious side hidden away in relatable lyricism. This Mississippi rapper, producer, and activist has been delivering facts for all too long, and The God Box is no different.
If you ask me, this is just what the Summer needed. A call to awareness. Banner wants listeners to have pride in where they come from, questioning why they seek refuge in terms that are used to degrade themselves. Let the world know of the resilience you have even when faced with opposition. In a time of domestic terrorism, a rise of police brutality and blatant racism in the public sphere, hopping out of hiatus to keep us on our toes is something we got to respect. What’s your meaning of The God Box?