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Lavell William Crump (born April 11, 1974), better known by his alias David Banner, is an American rapper, record producer, occasional actor and activist.
Born in Brookhaven, Mississippi, Banner's family moved to Jackson, Mississippi where he was raised. Banner graduated from Southern University and pursued a masters of education at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. He started his music career as a member of the rap duo, Crooked Lettaz, before going solo in 2000 with the release titled Them Firewater Boyz, Vol. 1.
In 2003, Banner 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).Contents
Lavell William Crump was born in Brookhaven, Mississippi and raised in Jackson, Mississippi, the son of Zeno and Carolyn Crump. He graduated from Provine High School in Jackson in 1992 and then attended Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, his mother's alma mater. At Southern University, Crump served as president of the Student Government Association and received a bachelor's degree in business. He later attended the University of Maryland Eastern Shore to pursue a master's degree in education but later left the program to pursue his music career full-time. His father Zeno died on June 17, 2007.Music career 1994–2000: Beginnings and Them Firewater Boyz, Vol. 1
Crump's stage name "David Banner" is taken from the lead character of the television series, The Incredible Hulk. With several of his friends, Banner sent some demo tapes to Jackson, Mississippi radio station, WJMI. In 1999, Banner and rapper Kamikaze as the duo, Crooked Lettaz, released Grey Skies (Penalty Recordings). In 2000, Banner released his solo debut album, Them Firewater Boyz, Vol. 1. Released on the independent label, Big Face Records, the album sold around 7,000 copies. When the album's single, "Like a Pimp", became a radio hit, Banner began to attract major label interest.2003–06: Mississippi: The Album, MTA2: Baptized in Dirty Water and Certified
After assessing various offers, Banner and manager, Scott Johnson, decided to sign with Universal Records subsidiary, SRC Records, which was founded by Steve Rifkind who had previous success as CEO of the heavyweight hip-hop label, Loud Records. In 2003, Banner produced T.I.'s single, "Rubberband Man", which reached #30 on the Hot 100, #15 on the R&B chart, and #11 on the Rap chart. In 2003, Banner released his first major label album, Mississippi: The Album. Mississippi included the hit single, "Like a Pimp", featuring Lil Flip. "Like a Pimp" peaked at #48 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, #15 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, and #10 on the Hot Rap Tracks chart. He released the follow-up album the same year titled MTA2: Baptized in Dirty Water which yielded the hit, "Crank It Up", featuring Static Major.
In 2005, Banner released his third major label album, Certified. The album's first single was "Ain't Got Nothing" which featured Magic & Lil Boosie, followed by the second single, "Play", which reached #7 on the Hot 100 chart, #5 on the R&B chart, and #3 on the Rap chart. The third single, "Touching", featured Jazze Pha and reached #54 on the R&B chart. In 2006, Banner appeared on "Seein' Thangs", a song about Hurricane Katrina featured on DJ Shadow's album "The Outsider". A remix featuring Bay Area hyphy rappers Nump and Gold also was made. Outside projects for Banner have included writing the theme song to the video game, Saints Row, as well as contributing to the music for a commercial promoting the video game, Marvel vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds.2007–present: The Greatest Story Ever Told and The God Box
Banner played the part of Tehronne in Black Snake Moan. He has worked on the Adult Swim cartoon show That Crook'd 'Sipp, which premiered Sunday, May 13, 2007. His single "Play" was used as the background music in the pilot's first television promo. In 2007, he played the character of Mo, in the film This Christmas. Banner also starred as Jay, a gang leader from the hood in Stomp the Yard: Homecoming. On July 15, 2008, Banner released his fourth major label album, The Greatest Story Ever Told. The album's first single titled "9mm" featured Akon, Lil Wayne, and Snoop Dogg. Banner then produced his next two singles: "Get Like Me" featuring Chris Brown and Yung Joc, "Get Like Me" reached #16 on the Hot 100, #7 on the R&B chart, and #2 on the Rap chart. and "Shawty Say", featuring Lil Wayne. In 2008, Banner was featured on the track, Superfriend, from the 2008 album, The Sound, by gospel R&B duo, Mary Mary.
In 2010, he played Bosch in the film The Experiment. He has also worked with international artists such as Seeda, a Japanese Rap Artist where he was featured in the song, Life Song in 2010 on Seeda's Breathe Album. Banner released his debut mixtape titled Sex, Drugs and Video Games on May 22, 2012 as a free download. It is also available on his website, davidbanner.com, where fans are encouraged to make a donation of at least $1 for the sixteen song mixtape. The first single off the mixtape is titled "Amazing" featuring Chris Brown. It was announced that Universal Republic Records was going defunct, all of the artists on the roster moved from the label including (David Banner) was being moved to Republic Records making the label itself revived.
In 2013, David Banner appeared in the music video for the song Confessions by Lecrae. Banner played Earl Gaines, Cecil Gaines' father, in the 2013 film The Butler. Banner plays Jay, a criminal who is interrogated, in the 2014 film Ride Along. David Banner was featured on a remix of Mexican American rapper Kap G's single "La Policia", which stirred hype throughout the media and the internet.Personal life Activism
In November 2006, Banner was awarded a Visionary Award by the National Black Caucus of the State Legislature in recognition of his work after Hurricane Katrina.
On September 25, 2007, Banner 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. He defended his use of offensive language and argued: "Change the situation in my neighborhood and maybe I'll get better." In his opening statement, Banner stated: "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."Discography Main articles: David Banner discography and David Banner production discography