New York, NY -- David Banner is undoubtedly one of the most controversial hip-hop artists today, yet it’s his certified crunkness that keeps him out of political rapper territory. Although he’s been targeted by hip hop critics following the infamous Don Imus incident, he’s held his own, and his latest ballerific single
is enveloping airwaves around the nation. A rollercoaster ride of a year has found him in a new place—50 pounds lighter and still mourning the loss of Pimp C and his father, who passed away last summer—but the road he is traveling represents a brand new, more relentless grind.
“There is no artist that works as hard as I do,” a perspiring David Banner told a cheering crowd at Manhattan’s Knitting Factory. Having just been warmed up by Maino, New York’s newest MVP, Banner’s free MySpace show treated spectators to the depths of Banner's ever-shifting personae. First, the audience met Dr. David Banner, the unassuming scientist who emerged onto the stage so traumatized by the prejudice, injustice and ignorance of the South that he broke down his own heartfelt stories during the emotional
It didn't take long, however, for the Hulk to materialize in full form. Using his superhuman strength to remove his sweat-covered shirt, the microphone-monster took full advantage of the sounds of his live band on crowd-pleasers like
The Mississippian kept his cool as screaming females groped for his nether regions, even telling one talkative girl in the front row “keep it up, you might go home pregnant.” He kept the crunkness balanced nicely with a rock and roll edge – he even shouted out his melanin-challenged fans with a tribute to Nirvana.
“Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Chris Brown!” he joked, and enjoyed the priceless reaction of the females in the front row, before introducing Yung Joc for the lead single.
Banner gave the reality check of the evening when he touched on the recent events involving Jesse Jackson’s comments about Sen. Barack Obama. “We are into too much bullsh*t. We’re into the rappers beefin’, we’re into reality TV. We don’t look at the real facts; we are at war. We talk about the people dying in the war, but we don’t talk about the people committing suicide.”
In the end that's David Banner, a rapper equally capable of delving into the aftermath of the Iraq War and the aftermath of an all-night party. And if you happened to be lucky enough to be at Thursday night's show, you got to see every side of one of hip-hop's most complicated artists.