Pros: Banner establishes himself as a more militant Kanye West.
Cons: Attempts to recreate previous hits ruin album's flow.
Bottom Line: Album won't give Banner the commercial success he so craves.
Since releasing “Like A Pimp” in 2003, David Banner has been on the cusp of stardom. He became a big-time producer, with hits for T.I., Lil Wayne and Nelly under his belt. As a rapper, he’s a militant Kanye West - balancing crass pop songs like “Play” with pointed social commentary.
He raps with a country snarl, pouring so much emotion into each word that he’s almost yelling. His new album Greatest Story Ever Told matches this Hulk-like persona - it’s loud and visceral music, complete with booming, bass-heavy beats.
And where Kanye uses light-hearted humor to explain his contradictory music, Banner uses anger to tie together wildly different subject matter. He directs it at an indifferent government and the self-loathing ghettos: “We so quick to kill each other in the hood where we from / But we hide the AK’s when the Fed’s come.” Eventually it spirals into anger at nothing in particular: "I'm filthy rich and going to continue to ball / I'm going to punch you in your throat, and make you piss all in your drawers."
But in today’s climate, record labels won’t release an album without a song for the radio. Greatest Story Ever Told was slated for release last year, but without a big-lead single, the label kept pushing it back. And the harder Banner tried to re-capture his previous magic, the more he lost his way.
He shamelessly jumped on the hottest trends. The first single “9MM” features Lil’ Wayne, Snoop Dogg and Akon. The second single, “Get Like Me” has a chorus from Yung Joc’s “It’s Goin Down” and a rap verse from Chris Brown.
Then there are the blatant rip-offs of original songs - “Shawty Say” (“Lollipop” Part II) and “A Girl” (“Play” Part II). Eventually, he quits the pretense and just names a song “Cadillac on 22’s Part II”.
Greatest Story Ever Told proves that even someone as talented as Banner can’t take short-cuts to success.