Rapper David Banner [Left] speaks with Defender Reporter [Right] about his new single and healthy lifestyle. Photo: Jimmie Aggison

Rapper, actor and producer David Banner might represent his home state of Mississippi to the fullest, but Houston is the city where Banner has developed fond personal and professional memories.

It is the inspiration behind his single “Swangin”, a tribute to the late Houston rap icon Pimp C of UGK dropping on Friday, July 8th.

“Pimp C was a very good friend of mine,” Banner told the Defender. “He was one of the dudes who counseled me. UGK was one of the few groups who were from a small town like I was and was able to garner and capture sustainable success.”

In 2018, Banner shared a video clip of Pimp C on Facebook with a caption that described their friendship. “Pimp C’s Voice changed my life,” he said. “We actually became friends while he was in jail. I frequently wrote him. He wanted to learn how to use the MPC drum machine so I took pictures of it and tried to teach him how it works. I also wanted him to see the world through my experiences so I sent pictures of all the amazing places I was going to on tour.

“He was a mentor and a friend. Pimp was the one who showed me how to navigate myself through the hate. He said ‘Banner you are smart it will take time for your people to catch up with you.’ He loved the South with all he was.”

Recently, Banner hosted an exclusive listening session hosted by Gas Gods and In the Green Podcast sharing the space with notable Houston rappers including Slim Thug, Lil’ Keke, Propain, Killa Kyleon and Lil’ Flip.

ATLANTA, GEORGIA – MARCH 04: Rapper David Banner speaks onstage during BET “Finding Justice” Atlanta premiere at The Foundry At Puritan Mill on March 04, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET Finding Justice)

“One thing people don’t talk about enough as it pertains to Black Houston is the independent music game, Banner said. “Texas as a whole…shows the world that they can get it without anybody else. You can go gold or platinum just in the state of Texas and Houston is the heart of that.”

While Banner continues to make moves in hip hop, he has become a pillar of strength as an activist and advocate for health and wellness in the Black community. He has been transparent about struggles with sleep apnea, high blood pressure and his weight loss journey.

“I’m able to hear God clearly when I’m healthy. I just got off my blood pressure pills. I was 17 points from diabetes,” he said. “I want to be our children’s superhero both on the screen and off the screen and the way you look has a lot to do with that.”

Keep up with Banner with all things regarding music and business on his website at Davidbanner.com.

Laura Onyeneho

I cover Houston's education system as it relates to the Black community for the Defender as a Report for America corps member. I'm a multimedia journalist and have reported on social, cultural, lifestyle,...