Lavell Crump (born April 11, 1974), better known by his stage name David Banner, is an American rapper, record producer, and occasional actor. Banner was born in Jackson, Mississippi, and graduated from Southern University as well as pursued masters of education at the University of Maryland. 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 (2004), Certified (2005), and The Greatest Story Ever Told (2008).
Lavell Crump grew up in Jackson, Mississippi, the son of Zeno and Carolyn Crump. He attended Northwest Jackson Middle School and Provine High School. After graduating from high school, he attended Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, his mother Carolyn's alma mater. At Southern, Crump served as president of the Student Government Association and received a bachelor's degree in business. He 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.
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, whose operations manager praised them. 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. 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 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 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 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.
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, and "Shawty Say", featuring Lil Wayne. "Get Like Me" reached #16 on the Hot 100, #7 on the R&B chart, and #2 on the Rap chart.
In 2008, Banner was featured on the track, Superfriend, from the 2008 album, The Sound, by gospel R&B duo, Mary Mary.
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.
Banner is set to release his fifth major label album titled Sex, Drugs and Video Games on May 22, 2012. The first single off the album is titled "Amazing" featuring Chris Brown.
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 2: Homecoming. In 2010, he played Bosch in the film The Experiment.
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."
- 2000: Them Firewater Boyz, Vol. 1
- 2003: Mississippi: The Album
- 2003: MTA2: Baptized in Dirty Water
- 2005: Certified
- 2008: The Greatest Story Ever Told
- 2012: Sex, Drugs and Video Games
- 2010: Death of a Pop Star (with 9th Wonder)
- Footloose (2011 Soundtrack) "Dance the Night Away"
||Black Snake Moan
||Snake the Assassin
||(TV) Episode: "Mr. Monk and the Rapper"
||Days of Wrath
|Stomp the Yard 2: Homecoming
BET Hip Hop Awards
- 2008, Best Hip-Hop Video ("Get Like Me") with Chris Brown & Yung Joc [Nominated]
- 2008, Best Hip-Hop Collabo ("Get Like Me") with Chris Brown & Yung Joc [Nominated]
- 2008, Best Producer [Nominated]
- Ozone Awards
- 2008, Best Rap/R&B Collaboration ("Get Like Me"), featuring Chris Brown & Yung Joc [Nominated]
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