14 Oct David Banner On Music, Business And The Importance Of Punctuality
David Banner is a rapper, producer, actor and businessman–and, as his name suggests, he’s also something of a superhero.
On a recent bicycle trip to a Los Angeles recording studio, Banner hit a curb and flipped over the handlebars, breaking his arm in the process. No matter. He continued on to the studio, where he worked two hours to finish the commercial he was working on before heading to the hospital.
“The joke we had was that we’d buy us a RoboCop arm after we get this check,” Banner explained in a video interview at FORBES’s New York offices, where he showed me a picture of the fracture on his iPhone.
Born Lavell Crump in Jackson, Miss., Banner has been living up to his Incredible Hulk-like moniker in other ways. His latest projects include production for the likes of Snoop Dogg, Chris Brown and Justin Bieber, as well as commercials for Gatorade, Marvel and Mercedes-Benz. He’s also been scoring movies and video games, doing a bit of consulting, and working on a new album, tentatively titled The Make Believe Album.
Banner didn’t earn quite enough to claim a spot on this year’s Hip-Hop Cash Kings list, but he’s getting close. His wide range of extracurriculars rivals that of Jay-Z or Diddy, and underscores the fact that in today’s declining market for recorded music, commercial side ventures are more of a necessity than an option for an artist looking to build a personal brand.
Banner has come a long way from his humble roots. Just six years ago, he was homeless, living in his van. He attributes his eventual success to a few of the usual factors–hard work and intelligence (he carried a 3.9 GPA at his masters program at the University of Maryland)–but also to something foreign to many entertainers: punctuality.
“There are a lot of artists on the urban side who believe that since they’re stars in one genre of music, there’s an excuse to do whatever they want in business,” he says. “Your word and your timing is everything.”
He pauses. ”I wasn’t on time for this interview, but that’s because I got dropped off at the wrong place.”
And Banner is determined not to be too late to our list of hip-hop’s top earners.
“Hold a spot for me at Forbes,” he says with a smile. “I’m coming, I promise.”