Earlier this year, when we dropped our countdown of The 25 Most Anticipated Albums of 2011, Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter IV topped the list. We’re almost halfway into 2011 and it seems like Tha Carter IV is still a while away. Although Young Tunechi recently dropped the Rick Ross-featuring banger “John (If I Die Today),” we still don’t know much about what his upcoming album will offer (besides what T-Minus already told us).
Thankfully, David Banner—who recently swung by the Complex offices—was willing to reveal a few details about how he got in the studio with the Young Money honcho to work on C4, his relationship with Wayne, and an upcoming song he did with Busta Rhymes that he feels will be one of the dopest hip-hop songs in a long time.
As told to Toshitaka Kondo (@ToshitakaKondo)
As told to Toshitaka Kondo (@ToshitakaKondo)
On Working On Tha Carter IV...
“I worked on Tha Carter IV. Me and Wayne were in the studio together twice. Once in Miami and once in L.A. Where I am with artists now, it’s more about the relationship. Before we even do a record I want to talk to you. ‘Rubberband Man’ will always be a part of T.I.’s family and T.I.’s life. With artists being so disposable, I want to sit down like, ‘Man, how you doing?’ Wayne just got out of jail. Let me talk to you and see how you doing as a man.
“Most artists who are on the level of Wayne, once they get to that level they try to go and get whatever major producer. He told me, ‘David, if you’ve got what it takes, you’re going to always be a part of Tha Carter shit.’ I respect that because there’s a lot of people who I was a part of their careers and it just didn’t happen no more, but I’m not saying no names. With Wayne, it’s not like you got a definite spot, but you definitely can come and fight for your spot, and that’s all I ever ask for.
“I did about 12 [songs for Wayne]. One thing I respected about Wayne this time, Wayne didn’t allow me to go all over the place. Wayne told me, ‘Banner, this is exactly what I’m looking for. I know you want to be creative, I know you want to do this, but right now, for the stuff that I have already done on the album, this is the lane that I need.’ And I super-served that. [The lane was] just bangers. Nothing that you really have to think about. I’m talking straight, in your face bangers.
“I have no idea [if it will make the album]. You’ll probably know before I do. But honestly to me, it doesn’t really matter whether it makes it or not. If those Gatorade commercials keep coming, I ain’t tripping off no rapper. I get paid more doing advertisements anyway. But I know for a fact he’s recorded songs on two or three [beats I made]. But you know, originally I had six on Tha Carter III. But when it came out, it was one.”
On his relationship with Wayne...
“Wayne works a lot so you never know what he’s going to pick at the end. I’ve had to buy tracks back because they will call me the week before it’s time to cut like, ‘Banner are these tracks open?’ [I’m calling other people like,] ‘Yeah man. You know that track I sold you? I’ll give you double what you paid for it.’ [Laughs.] So now, I do a separate batch for Wayne that I don’t even play for anybody else. There’s not too many records that are going to do what Wayne does. So having one or two on something of that stature, that’s worth holding a couple beats to the side.
“Wayne is recording all the time. People look at the swag, the hair, and the tattoos, but they never talk about his work ethic. While everyone else is in the club trying to take advantage of their stardom or spotlight, Wayne is in the studio, writing, and thinking of ideas. You want to know where Wayne is right now? He’s probably recording. If I had to pick what dude is doing, I’d put $50,000 up at just about any time of the day and say he’s probably doing something that has to do with a mic.
“The thing that I like about Wayne—probably with the exception of Devin The Dude—Wayne loves music. He wants to hear everything. He wants to hear 80 beats. Not so much because he wants to rap on it, but because he loves music so much. He just stands in front of the speakers. I mean, literally in front of those big ass, loud ass speakers, and put his head in the speakers and just stays there. He turned back and looked at me like, ‘I like that.’ It was so funny because he walked past me and said, ‘That Death Of A Pop Star...amazing.’ And he walked out.”
On working with Busta Rhymes...
”I’ve been been working with Busta. The song I’ve got for Busta is—if we can get the sample cleared—going to be one of the dopest hip-hop songs in a very long time. I don’t want to say what the sample is because I don’t even want nobody to go in that direction. Nobody in hip-hop is doing this. [The sample is] somebody that’s dead, but they’re still famous and popping in young culture. The way that I did it though, I didn’t put it in the genre of music that they’re from. It’s on a hood beat and Wayne is on it.
“I produce, I’m not a beat-maker. When I come to artists now—especially since I’m doing all the advertisement stuff—I’m coming to people with concepts now. That’s actually something that Bone Crusher taught me. He said, ‘There are big concepts if you come up with big concept records.’ He said, ‘Dude, when you did ‘Get Like Me,’ the fact that you had Chris Brown singing like a rapper sings? The only other person that used to do that was Nate Dogg. That was big within itself for you to not go the ‘sing the hook’ route. That’s conceptually big.’ The beat is phenomenal.
“Right now, I don’t believe there’s too many producers out here that’s better than me, hands down. You can dress up, get in your cars, and fly your airplanes, but sitting in front of that drum machine? Not right now. I’m about to prove it. I’m going to single-handedly make people who want to produce have second thoughts about picking up Fruity Loops or a drum machine. I’m going to make people want me to die because I’m better than them. And I’ve got a better spirit and I’m definitely more attractive. Imagine your girlfriend wanting to have sex with me, you can’t get a placement on my record because my beats are so jamming, and then if you talk shit, I’ll beat your face. And I’m spiritual, nice, do for the community, can play basketball, and I’m probably better than anybody at 2K11 on Playstation. So the best thing anybody can probably do is bury themselves.”