COVER PHOTOGRAPHY: Michael W. Eaton
BE FLY. BE ORIGINAL.. BE SOFNDOPE...
PHOTO BY: Michael W. Eaton
hatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s good! Thank you for your interest in So FN Dope Magazine. We are a brand new magazine based on the West Coast looking to make an impact in the entertainment industry by highlighting music, performance, and the entrepreneurial spirit of independent artists, all across the country. Our staff constantly spends countless hours scouring for dope content to feature including, but not limited to, new music, music videos, artwork, interviews, comedy, models, live performances, photographers and bloggers. In other words, we are always looking for new content for our digital magazine as well as our website. It is going to take dope independent artists like you to help build our brand, but it will also take magazines like us to give indie artists a platform to be heard. We would love to feature your music, videos, mix-tapes, photography, artwork, as well as set up interview arrangements for future issues of So FN Dope Magazine. Letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work together and leave our mark on the industry to show the world why we are So FN Dope!
DISCLAIMER: Here at So FN Dope Magazine, we have done our best to provide content that is up to date and correct. However, changes may have occurred since the content was submitted that may affect the accuracy of this issue for which So FN Dope Magazine holds no responsibility. The views and opinions of our contributors are not necessarily shared with So Fn Dope Magazine or its staff nor are we liable for their views and opinions or how they may be interpreted.
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FOUNDERS / Editors in Chief Walter M. Welch Jr. Corey Norwood Sr. Director of Marketing and Advertising Servon Moss Director of Arts and Entertainment Ashton Francois CONTRIBUTORS Timeless Music Productions Shadow Promotions Logostix Graphic Design Hype-Radio.com JB & Benny Blue Review Inkk Junkies Tattoos Curve Brows Ron Jones Unique Image Entertainment Unusual Suspects Clothing YXCVLI MIC2U Wairehouze Entertainment Amar Khalil Pyramid Gang Entertainment Poetry of Time CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Mercenary B Williams Taura Stinson COVER STORY DAVID BANNER CREW Barber/Hairgroomer: Lurchero Make-up: Miss Brie Interviewer: Sy Sayonara Videographer:J-MO w/ JOM Productions FEATURED Jahmirris Smith Donnie Blow Drea Avent Cover Photographer Michael W. Eaton of M.W. Eaton & Co. Contributing Photographers Michael E. Eaton Rome Kamera Milo Jenkins YXCVLI Dreampex
JAN/FEB 2018- SOFNDOPEMAGAZINE.COM -
CONTENTS FEATURES 14)
JAHMIRRIS SMITH Check out our exclusive interview with this young entrepreneur and see what is next for his rising empire Pyramid Gang Entertainment.
DONNIE BLOW Check out this artist on the rise i. See how he is planning to make major mark on the game with his latest album “23”.
DREA AVENT Get to know this beautiful and very ambitious sportscaster and see how she’s been able to independently create quite an impact in the world of sports.
DAVID BANNER Check out this exclusive interview with David Banner as he approaches the industry from a totally new angle. Find out what he’s got going as we talk about his latest project “The God Box”.
PHOTO BY: Michael W. Eaton
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JAN / FEB 2018
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JAN / FEB 2018
WHERE ARE THEY NOW!!! See what some of our very first interviewees are up to now. You won’t believe how far they have come in a year’s time.
EVENTS Trapxart Dallas was an absolutely stunning event. Check out some incredible artists and their art work as they portray some of most known figures in hip-hop.
THE FUTURE OF BLACK HISTORY Read about some of our recent black heroes as we celebrate Black History Month with a few new faces.
DOPE QUOTES Stay Positive! Dive into some inspirational quotes both the past and present from some very influential people in entertainment.
THE MERCENARY CHRONICLES Get another dose of the Mercenary Chronicles as comedian Merc B. speaks about life, laughter, and the world around him. You don’t want to miss this one.
PHOTO BY: Dreampex JAN/FEB 2018- SOFNDOPEMAGAZINE.COM -
WHERE ARE THEY NOW
NOW? SOFNDOPE MAGAZINE CELEBRATES 1 YEAR Founders of So FN Dope Magazine Walter M. Welch Jr & Corey Norwood Sr.
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WHERE ARE THEY NOW
THE TAINERZ MERCY We cannot believe how fast time has flown by. It has now been officially one year since we first launched So FN Dope Magazine in February of 2017. Since then, the feedback has been amazing and it has been cool to see how artists that we have covered have gone on to do great things in their careers. Mercy is definitely one of those artists who will always hold a special place in our hearts, as she was the very first to grace the cover of So FN Dope Magazine. She has continued to grow as an artist and has taken her talents to new heights after signing with rapper Too $hort’s label OG Records. She has worked diligently on her music and things are definitely coming full circle. Mercy is scheduled to release her highly anticipated EP “Dimensions” this year. Congratulations Mercy!!! You deserve it.
B-BLESS Our next “Where Are They Now” artist has also accomplished something that is definitely worth highlighting. B-Bless, a New York rapper, originally shared his very unique story of his royal bloodline and ties in Africa in our first issue as well. Although he puts his all in his music, like many independent artists he couples that with a day job as well. But, this isn’t your everyday 9 to 5. He works as a production manager on the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC. Recently he was awarded one of the most prestigious awards in television. Two Emmy awards to be exact for their outstanding work for doing a town hall in Flint Michigan during the Flint water crisis. Amazing work brother! Go follow B-Bless on social media and be on the lookout for his new project “King of Hearts” and new single “To the Limit” coming very soon.
Bigger and better things are definitely on the horizon in 2018 especially for New Orleans group The Tainerz. The trio first made an appearance in the very first issue of So FN Dope Magazine. Since then, they’ve made some serious headway in the entertainment industry and even been seen in the company of artists like Post Malone , Fat Joe, Trina, Yo Gotti and more. We checked back in recently to see how things have been going for them and we received some exciting news about some of their recent accomplishments. We learned that the Tainerz signed a record deal in 2017 with none other than Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. Their single “One Way” found it’s way into the hands of one of the A&R’s at the label and rest is history. Apparently, the Tainerz tend to make quite the impression everywhere they go. They have recently become brand ambassadors for Monster, which also led to an appearance in a T.V. commercial that was aired during the Super Bowl! Congratulations to The Tainerz. We wish you much continued success. Be sure to check out the latest music and videos on YouTube. Don’t forget to follow them on social media.
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PHOTO BY: Erik White
Most young artists go head first into the game as green as a blade of grass, and unprepared to handle the ups and down of the entertainment industry. However, occasionally someone comes along who doesn’t fall for the BS. They are the ones who go against the grain and are not afraid to ask the tough questions. They are the ones who are not afraid to do the things that other artists do not want to do. These are the ones that will eventually set themselves apart from the rest of the pack and go on to do great things. Our first guest is nothing short of a young mogul. This young CEO is accomplishing things in his early 20’s that many executives dream of doing in their 40’s. He has the ambition of Puff in the 90’s but the poise of Quincy Jones in his prime and he’s already being referred to as the New Berry Gordy. Check out this interview with Pyramid Gang Entertainment CEO Jahmirris
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FND MAG: What’s good sir!!! Definitely appreciate you for taking time out your schedule to interview with us. We’ve been planning to reach out for a while and I’m so glad that we were able to make this finally happen. JAHMIRRIS SMITH: I’m glad you guys are giving me the opportunity to sit down with you guys, it’s an honor. [LAUGHS] It’s actually a great privilege. I never thought I’d be doing this so soon in my career. You guys are awesome. Love what you’re doing. SFND MAG: Before we get started, we wanted to give you an opportunity to introduce who you are and where you are from! JAHMIRRIS SMITH: Well, my name is Jahmirris Smith, CEO and founder of Pyramid Gang Entertainment and I’m from Decatur, Alabama, which is located in North Alabama about an hour north of Birmingham. I’ve always been an entertainer, making people laugh and enjoy themselves. I remember the late 90’s my mom was watching BET Jams and I saw Notorious B.I.G.’s video ‘Mo Money Mo Problems featuring Puffy Daddy and Mase. I was about five or six and I thought those shiny suits and the way they were floating around was the coolest thing ever. As I became older, I knew one day I would be in the music industry, but maybe as an artist or a director or producer, just not a record executive. I’ve always had the entrepreneurial spirit, which I believe I received from my granddaddy. I was told he owned many different types of businesses. Even though Decatur is not a hot musical scene, unlike Muscle Shoals, Alabama used to be in the 60’s to the 80’s, it is well located in a musical industry region, being close to Nashville and Atlanta. SFND MAG: So tell us a little bit about your story… because to us most people
in their early twenties seem to traditionally take an interest in the artist side of the industry, focusing primarily on writing, recording and performing. What initially prompted you to jump directly into an executive role and start your own company? What do you find to be the most fascinating part about being an independent record executive?
to stay relevant. Just like many artist, actors, and athletes that start their own clothing line or even their own alcohol brand, I’m not focusing just on one thing. An empire consists of many layers and we at PGE have our mind on other projects. I would consider myself lucky if I achieved half the success as those two greats.
JAHMIRRIS SMITH: The relationships I build with people, the connections I make with other artist, other labels, and other business owners. It’s fun for me to be in control of everyday operations. There are so many tasks that need to come together. The key is networking and finding those who have specific skills. I have met very talented video directors, photographers, and generally people who know how to get things done. By collaborating, this gives them exposure to move their companies or ideas to a higher plane of development. That’s what I love, being able to possibly help change someone’s life for the better.
SFND MAG: How difficult is it to gain trust while trying to build relationships with other artists, and other companies?
SFND MAG: In order to successfully run a company it takes a balance of knowledge and experience and a certain amount of expertise in a given area. You’ve been very successful thus far even at this early stage in your career. Your ambition reminds us of Diddy in his early years in the industry and you’ve often referred to yourself on social media as the New Berry Gordy. In what ways are you looking to build your empire in order to obtain a career as successful or even more successful than those two music moguls? JAHMIRRIS SMITH: I remember watching a 90’s interview where Puffy was paying homage to the ones that came before him like Berry Gordy in the 60’s and 70’s and Russell Simmons and Andre Harrell the 80’s. He was explaining how they were an inspiration to him and how they set the pace for black record label owners. Now it’s 2018, more than 20 years later and I’m modeling myself like Puffy. However, times have changed and the music industry is extremely different than in Mr. Gordy’s day. I’m looking to utilize new tools and technologies available. Social media and digital streaming is a new platform to be heard and seen. Things are moving much faster and it’s harder
JAHMIRRIS SMITH: It can be challenging. Trust comes when the work you said you‘d do gets done. An artist, producer, or even someone doing research for me ambitiously gains trust when the job is completed. The same goes for me for those I collaborate with. However, I do find people of my generation tend to drag their feet and that makes me nervous when deadlines are close. That makes it difficult to gain trust when there doesn’t seem to be a sense of urgency when working on a project. SFND MAG: Let’s talk a little bit about Pyramid Gang! What services does your company actually provide to your artists?
"Trust comes when the work you said you'd do gets DONE!" JAN/FEB 2018- SOFNDOPEMAGAZINE.COM -
"The key is networking and finding those who have specific skills. " 16- SOFNDOPEMAGAZINE.COM - JAN/ FEB 2018
JAHMIRRIS SMITH: Pyramid Gang is the new age music; it has its own style and sound. I believe it’s going to take over for 2019 and 20’s. We offer services such as social media building, magazine, newspaper interviews, radio, blog sites, and podcast interviews. We offer artist and artist’s music placements, which is a major way of getting an artist in the public eye, touring, and merchandising. We provide collaboration projects with other labels and genres. We have success marketing/promotion team. Signing with PGE gives artist development as well as business management insight. Of course all aspects of the music industry, producing and recording. We help build relationships with photographers and videographers to fit any given artist’s style or “steelo” to make them into a superstar. [LAUGHS] SFND MAG: Generally speaking, do you seek out artists that you want to work with or do the artists seek out Pyramid Gang. JAHMIRRIS SMITH: When telling people about Pyramid Gang Entertainment, I would introduce it as an independent multi-genre record label. Pyramid Gang Entertainment has always been looking to sign all genres, but by being a rapper myself at the time when we first got started, I gravitated to signing other rappers. We even sign a couple. As time progress and Pyramid Gang Entertainment began getting known, we were able to sign a country artist and a rock band. The more recognition we received, the more artists started seeking out Pyramid Gang Entertainment. We are still searching for talented artist and artist are always reaching out to us. SFND MAG: It looks like you are expanding pretty rapidly. I recently saw that you added a Gospel division and a publishing company as well. What other divisions have you added or plan to add in the near future. JAHMIRRIS SMITH: Yes, we did add a gospel music department to expand the brand. I have added a publishing, management, and also a distribution department for other indie labels to be a subsidiary of Pyramid Gang Entertainment, you know, working together to make something great. We also started a
sports sponsorship division called Pyramid Gang Sports, but the idea has been benched for now. [LAUGHS] But in the near future we plan on partnering with a major label. SFND MAG: Who are some of the artists you’ve signed recently? JAHMIRRIS SMITH: We signed King Montez in January 2017, which is our Soul and R&B artist. In January 2018, we sign a local hip-hop artist by the name of Yung City. Both are signed to Pyramid Gang Records and Pyramid Gang Management. King Montez released his debut album in May 2017 called The Experience. He has a motivating video called Hard Times. Yung City will be releasing his debut album called LEVELS in March 2018. You can check out the video called A.I.M.Z. (All In My Zone). SFND MAG: We love your ambition and your vision for your company. You are definitely setting the tone on how to take control of your own destiny and make big things happen. What advice do you have to others out there who want to start their own company and get to this level?
PHOTO BY: Erik White
FEATURE JAHMIRRIS SMITH: First of all, knowledge is power. I suggest learning everything you can on what business you want to start, before spending a dollar. Search out business owners who have business the same or similar to yours. Attend seminars on the subject. There are so many details that people find out later or too late when starting their own company. Things like finding the correct type of lawyer and learning how to draw up a contract. These are little things but don’t get discouraged. In addition, a very important thing is building a team you trust to support you. SFND MAG: Where can our readers and supporters find you online? JAHMIRRIS SMITH: You can me on all major social media outlets such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat @JahmirrisSmith. You can find Pyramid Gang Entertainment @PyramidGangEnt and pyramindgangentertainment.com. There’s also a Wikipedia page to learn more about me or the company. SFND MAG: How can we locate your artists’ music online? JAHMIRRIS SMITH: On all major download and streaming sites like iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play, Amazon Music, Tidal, and iHeartRadio. This is a major benefit to being an independent record company, to have access to all of these media outlets. [LAUGHS] SFND MAG: Jahmirris, We thank you once again sir for taking the time to interview with us man! It’s been our pleasure getting to know a little bit more about your company Pyramid Gang, but before you go; we want to ask you one more question. Could you name one artist out there that you think is So FN Dope and why? JAHMIRRIS SMITH: King Combs. I love his style of music because he’s not glorifying violence and drugs like many artists are doing to get views. Even though his videos are flashy, there entertaining, fun, they make you want to dance. Songs like Love You Better, featuring Chris Brown. [LAUGHS] #CYN. JAN/FEB 2018- SOFNDOPEMAGAZINE.COM -
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DONNIE BLOW ON THE VERGE
With all of the submissions we get on the daily basis, often times it is very difficult to listen to an artist’s entire project. It is not that we don’t want to; it’s usually just that we simply don’t have the time. However, this particular project got our attention. This artist’s melodic tones, mixed with the very fresh and new flavor of hip-hop gave us a vibe that we simply could not pass up. We can honestly say that we listened to the entire project from end to end, and loved it. Check out this interview and take some time to get to know Donnie Blow.
PHOTO BY: Rome Kamera
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FND MAG: Donnie Blow. What’s good my brother? We want to thank you for interviewing with So FN Dope Magazine. We are definitely glad to have you. How have you been?
DONNIE BLOW: “Wassup. I appreciate you having me. Everything is good my way.” SFND MAG: So glad we were able to make this interview happen: Tell us where you are from and how you started in the music industry. DONNIE BLOW: “I’m originally from Gary, Indiana. My uncles are the ones who really influenced me; they had a music group when I was growing up. I started writing myself when I was 13. Then I fully got into the industry when I was 18. SFND MAG: That’s what’s up! What is the music scene like in Jacksonville, FL? DONNIE BLOW: “The music scene out here is very dynamic. Its alot of undiscovered talent here… Then you got Trap Beckham, Tokyo Jetz, Foolio, SeddyHendrixx. It’s dope!” SFND MAG: Many would say that being an independent artist has its advantages and disadvantages. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages you’ve experienced so far as an independent artist in the South? DONNIE BLOW: “Some of the advantages are being my own boss. Making my own budgets. Being an independent artist specifically in the south allowed me to be different and really have my own sound since I’m not from here. The disadvantages are not having someone to help me make hard decisions, not having the connections a manager would, plus I’m not from the south, so it’s hard being fully accepted sometimes.” SFND MAG: Let’s shift gears a bit and talk about your album. “23”. Give us the details on how that project come about?
DONNIE BLOW: “Well, I started working on the album when I came back from California, because I dropped my single, “Shake It” in LA. The project was originally supposed to be called another name, but the songs I was recording became a reflection of that past year, when I was 23.” SFND MAG: We’ve been bumping the album all week! You got some nice joints on the album for sure. What record would you say is your favorite off that album and tell us why you relate to it the most? DONNIE BLOW: “My favorite has to be balance… I was going through a tough time in my life when I made the record. I didn’t even write anything down. It just came out. It was a powerful record to me. Feel me? I felt like it could change somebody’s life…” SFND MAG: You’ve been putting out quality music now for a while how has your music / style changed on this album “23” from say records in your past like “Hear Me Work” or “Miami Nights” ? DONNIE BLOW: “I feel so much growth. Good content. Good intentions, real music. My old records, I was young, fresh out of high school, still discovering myself… “23,” you can hear my voice developed into a man, what I’m talking about. I allowed myself to be vulnerable… I wasn’t just rapping for fun.” SFND MAG: What is the meaning behind the album title “23”? DONNIE BLOW: “I wanted this album to be a reflection of me at this age, show people where I’m at. That year was a testimony year for me, so I named the album that.” SFND MAG: What producers / artists did you work with on this album? In the future, whom do you aspire to work with in the industry? DONNIE BLOW: “I only worked with 3 producers on this album, BossDogTheBeatMaker, CookUpFool, and BobOnTheKeys. Then I had two features, Woogie and Boski Fatico. In the future, I’d love to work with Drake for sure, JUL/AUG 2017- SOFNDOPEMAGAZINE.COM JAN/FEB 2018- SOFNDOPEMAGAZINE.COM -
"I wanted this album to be a reflection of me at this age, show people where I'm at. "
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PHOTO BY: Rome Kamera JAN/FEB 2018- SOFNDOPEMAGAZINE.COM -
FEATURE Nipsey Hussle, and Dave East.” SFND MAG: There is a lot of controversy now over the direction that hip-hop is going in. Many are claiming that the true lyricism is fading out and that industry is ultimately being manipulated by money and internet popularity. If you had to spit your hardest four bars to prove lyricism isn’t dead, what four bars would you spit? DONNIE BLOW: “The industry is being controlled, but it’s all about what you allow… whatever works for that person, works. Learn commodity. My time is irreplaceable. That’s something I can’t waste on you. So why would I put faith in you? I’m usually not this open. So spread the lies when you see me, got friends with ties and they see me. I minimize to get even… its karma” SFND MAG: When you’re not creating your own music, what other artists do you listen to?
DONNIE BLOW: “Aw man, I listen to alot of Drake, Dave East, Her, Migos, SZA, J.Cole, I listen to Kirk Franklin, Kanye, Maroon 5, there’s so many people I love.” SFND MAG: What artists have influenced you the most throughout life to help shape and mold you into the artist that you are today? DONNIE BLOW: “Man… giving all thanks to drake and J.Cole really. Drake showed diversity… he’s like two artist in one. He made it okay for me to express myself and show emotions as a male.”
SFND MAG: How can your fans reach you on social media? DONNIE BLOW: “All my social media is Donnie_Blow. Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat! And I follow back! And make sure you subscribe to my YouTube! Donnie Blow” SFND MAG: Before you go could you name another artist that you think is “So FN Dope” and tell us why? DONNIE BLOW: “I really want y’all to go check out my boy Woogie. He just dropped another album- “Fearless,” he’s an amazing artist!”
SFND MAG: What is next for you? Anything else on the radar for Donnie Blow? DONNIE BLOW: “Oh yeah, a lot of new music. I dropped a couple new videos. Just be on the lookout for the new EP. “
"My time is irreplaceable. That's something I can't waste on you. "
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PHOTO BY: Rome Kamera
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DREA AVENT We were ecstatic when we learned that our next guest was willing to interview with us. Her story in itself was so different from what weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve covered in the past, but at the same time, it is the epitome of what we envisioned for our magazine since the very beginning. She has transformed her passion of sports into a quite a career, and what makes it so special is that sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s doing it independently. Meet the beautiful and talented Drea Avent, and see how she has managed to make such an impact as an independent sportscaster.
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LOS ANGELES, CA
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FND MAG: Hi Drea! We can’t express how excited we are for this interview. We have been looking forward to this opportunity ever since we first came across your YouTube channel.
DREA AVENT: Hey! Thanks again for featuring me. SFND MAG: Let’s take this time to give our readers a little background who you are and what you do? Please introduce yourself! DREA AVENT: My name is Drea Avent, and I’m a national Sportscaster, model and the thing I’m most proud of is CEO of Drea Avent Productions! I’m the only woman in sports broadcasting interviewing athletes independently as the face of my own brand of interviews. It’s exciting because I can make money on my own doing what I love. Being an entrepreneur is the best decision I ever made, and the most gratifying. SFND MAG: Being an independent Sportscaster seems like an extremely difficult job. There must be an extensive amount of research and preparation that goes into this type of work. What is the secret to your success if you don’t mind us asking?
DREA AVENT: Well being an independent sportscaster is lots of work. When I do TV, the interviews are handed to the talent. As a independent sportscaster I have to rely on my connections with athletes and the trust that I have built, plus there is lots of business aspects I deal with, that you don’t have to deal with being on TV. I love the independent aspect of my job and I’m most connected in the NFL, and so many of those guys respect me. SFND MAG: Drea, now… you’ve made quite a name for yourself on social media and an even bigger name for yourself on YouTube acquiring over 4.6 million view on your videos. How have you been able to use that momentum to your advantage? DREA AVENT: It’s really exciting to get the level of views I have gotten on my own. My production company is only a year and a half old, so this is really exciting. This is me independently, so that speaks to the great fan/support base I have and my hard work. I’m really grateful and I think athletes respect me lots more knowing I’m a force on my own. So that definitely works to my advantage. SFND MAG: Over the years, you have had the opportunities to interview some of the world’s best athletes and biggest stars. You’ve interviewed athletes like the Cowboy’s Terrell Owens, the Spurs Kawhi Leonard , Charger’s Rayshawn Jenkins as well as celebrities like
Snoop Dogg as he coached his little league team. What is one of your most memorableI interviews to date, with whom and why?
DREA AVENT: Well I’ve had lots of big interviews on TV and independently. The ones I’m most proud of are my independent interviews. Again these are athletes that showed up to support me on my own, that’s so gratifying. Snoop and Kawhi Leonard are two of my favorites. Snoop because I’m a Long Beach person and he has really stood behind me and supported me. Kawhi Leonard because he rarely does interviews, and is really shy. I have had lots of spurs fans message me and say that my interview is the longest interview he has done, and where he smiled more than with any other reporter. So that is gratifying. SFND MAG: Is there a significant amount of other independent sportscasters out there, and if so what has given you the competitive edge over others in the field that are doing the same thing? DREA AVENT: No, I’m the only one doing this independently as the face of my own brand of interviews and CEO of my own company. No competition. I always strive to be different. There are lots of TV reporters, lots of podcasts but only one Drea Avent Productions. Someone actually posted that as a comment on my Instagram. My supporters know I have my own lane with my production company.
Drea Avent with San Antonio Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard PHOTO BY: Full O Flava JAN/FEB 2018- SOFNDOPEMAGAZINE.COM -
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW of these components presented for you in this line of work? ‘ DREA AVENT: I think everyone has challenges; the entertainment sports industry is very competitive. I just try to focus on the positives and I know I have a personality that athletes gravitate towards. I also have a one of a kind work ethic and drive. I’m always hustling and striving. SFND MAG: When you see comments like the ones Cam Newton made about Jourdan Rodrigue late last year, does it “DRIVE” (motivate) you or does it “DRIVE” (frustrate) you ?
have been continuously told, “No, you can’t… or you won’t because you’re a female”? DREA AVENT: There are so many women doing sports now, and multiple minority women working in sports. I think it’s easier now for women and minority women than ever before to get work. If you have a dream go for it, and stay the course until the goals are reached. Never give up because there will be setbacks and lots of rejection. There are lots of haters and not everyone is going to like you. I would say if you are sensitive, you
DREA AVENT: Not really. I used to care about that kind of thing when I first started in the industry. Now all that matters is the fact that the players I’m friends with and work with know I know my stuff. I wouldn’t have so many great interviews on my you tube channel if players didn’t respect me. SFND MAG: What advice do you have for the little girls and young women out there that may read this interview and
DREA AVENT: Actually, I’m not impartial here. I have friends on both teams, but was rooting for the Eagles. Alshon Jeffery, Malcolm Jenkins and Brandon Graham are all good friends of mine. Great to see the eagles finally bring a super bowl title to Philly. SFND MAG: What’s your reaction to the recent NBA trade deadline moves made by the Cavaliers, notably Wade back to Miami, Isaiah Thomas to the Lakers, George Hill, Larry Nance and Jordan Clark to the Cavaliers? DREA AVENT: I think the D-Wade trade was a good one; he wants to retire with the heat. The Lakers trade wasn’t as good a move in my opinion. I thought the young unit they had was slowly getting better. But hey, we will see how it all plays out. Hard to judge these kinds of things before it plays out for sure.
DREA AVENT: Actually Cam Newton is a friend of mine. When I first started covering the NFL on national TV, he really supported and respected me. He got lots of flack for what he said to her, but I will always ride with Cam Newton. He has always treated me well, and respected my knowledge of the game. In general, people are always going to judge a beautiful woman and wonder if she knows her stuff. My haters are usually people I could care less about. Many NFL players respect my knowledge including Cam Newton, so I could care less about a hater! SFND MAG: Working in such a chauvinistic, male dominated industry do you feel the need to be twice as good as your male counterparts for them to take you seriously?
Drea Avent with Snoop Dogg
shouldn’t pursue this career. SFND MAG: Let’s switch gears let’s talk “Sports” I know you didn’t think we would let you get out of here without asking a few sports question … [LAUGHS ] SFND MAG: The Super Bowl! The Eagles made history! Who were the teams you had going to the bowl during the season? In the Super Bowl, who were you rooting for and was the Eagles’ win a complete shock or nah? I know as a journalist you have to be impartial so if you need to speak hypothetically feel free…
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SFND MAG: Does this move hurt LeBron’s chance to compete with the Warriors or does the move for younger legs and better shooting help him cement his quest for the Beast out the East?
DREA AVENT: I’m not sure- there are lots of issues with Lebron and the front office there in Cleveland. I think those issues with ownership are way more concerning than personnel issues. I’m a huge Lebron fan, but not sure, the Cavs or anyone can beat the Warriors. They are too deep, way too much depth and talent. They even got better in the offseason. [LAUGHS] SFND MAG: Last question…Jimmy G is now the highest paid QB in the league. If I were texting you, this is when I would put the emoji with the big eyes… [LAUGHS] What are your thoughts about the 137-million-dollar man and his 5 year contract, Is this money well spent?
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW DREA AVENT: Well I think he has lots of potential and is a good player. Had a great end to the season and several of his teammates have texted me great things about his leadership. QB position is so important and the 49ers really are desperate to win and be good again…so I think they are investing in their future at the QB position and I understand the optimism of the front office. SFND MAG: Thank you again Drea for this amazing interview. Before you go if you could tell us someone else in Sports realm or even in your line of work who is SO FN Dope and why?
fan and that is something I think about often and it helps continue to motivate me. She will always be SO FN Dope to me! #blackgirlmagic.
Drea Avent with Cam Newton
DREA AVENT: I’ll do a throwback person here. The only idol I’ve ever had and will ever have for many reasons is 1970’s superstar sportscaster Jayne Kennedy. She has become like an aunt to me, and blogs have often compared me to her. She told me she is my biggest
"There are lots of haters and not everyone is going to like you. I would say if you are sensitive, you shouldn't pursue this career." JAN/FEB 2018- SOFNDOPEMAGAZINE.COM -
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PHOTOS BY: Dreampex
1. Artist Abi Salimi @artistabi and a piece she created of Lauryn Hill. 2. A group hanging out at Trapxart Dallas 3. Artist Shy @theshygallery displays one of her latest pieces of Cardi B and Bruno Mars #Finesse. 4 CEO of @Jatsodesignz 5 The talented Alice Capone @_AliceCapone shows of her interpretations of Biggie, DMX and 2Pac . 6. Varus Bell @varusbell CEO of Cvltvre Worldwide @cvltvreworldwide giving a shout out to SoFNDope Magazine. 7. Patrick Lindsey @_pat_tattoo_man CEO of Inkk Junkies Tattoos 8. So FN Dope Magazine Director of Marketing & Advertising Servon Moss. 9. Trapxart DJ Moscone @ djmoscone on the 1’s and 2’s. 10. The bar was crackin’ at Status Nightclub in Dallas.
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ACK TORY JAN/FEB- 2018 SOFNDOPEMAGAZINE.COM -
BLACK IS THE NEW BLACK…. In the United States, the month of February is observed as Black History Month or National African American History Month. During this time, we remember the important contributions and achievements of African Americans throughout our nation’s history. As Black History pivots from, the heroic contributions of African Americans to the African American hidden figures that have been right in plain sight, monumental achievements by Black Americans have taken the leading role and accomplished turning my Black History into my Black Present and my Black Future. These extraordinary human beings are both bold and unapologetic about the black experience and boundaries they’ve broken. So FN Dope Magazine wants to seize the opportunity to honor and recognize the too-often neglected accomplishments of our Black Present before they become our Black History. As the saying goes “Give them roses while they can still smell them.” BLACK IS THE NEW BLACK!
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Shirley Ann Jackson (born August 5, 1946) is an American physicist, and the eighteenth president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She is the first African-American woman to have earned a doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She is also the second African-American woman in the United States to earn a doctorate in physics.
Lena Waithe (born on May 17, 1984) in Chicago, Illinois, USA as Lena Diane Waithe. She is a writer and actress, best known for Master of None (2015), Dear White People (2014) and The Chi (2018). Lena is the First Black woman to win an Emmy for writing for a comedy series.
Ava Duvernay (born August 24, 1972) is an American film director, producer, screenwriter, film marketer, and film distributor who made history in 2012 as the first black woman to win the Best Director award at Sundance Film Festival and is making history again being the first African-American woman to lead a $100 million, live-action feature film “A Wrinkle in Time”.
Simone Biles (born March 14, 1997) became the first African-American and woman to bring home four Olympic gold medals in women’s gymnastics at a single game along with a bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
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Donald Glover (born September 25, 1983) is an American actor, writer, director, comedian, and producer, as well as a singer, songwriter, and rapper. Donald is the first black person to take home an Emmy for directing a comedy.
Sterling K. Brown (born April 5, 1976) is an American actor. Sterling made Golden Globes history on when he took home the award for Best Actor in a Drama TV series. Sterling is the First Black man to win for this category.
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Viola Davis (born August 11, 1965) is an American actress and producer and the First Black Actor to win an Oscar, Emmy, and Tony for Acting all referred to as the Triple Crown of Acting.
Maurice Ashley (born March 6, 1966) is a Jamaican American chess grandmaster, author, commentator, app designer, puzzle inventor, and motivational speaker. In 1999 he earned the Grandmaster title making him the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first black Grandmaster. For the first time since 1984, the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame named Maurice their first African-American Grandmaster.
Kamala Harris (born October 20, 1964) is an American politician and lawyer of the Democratic Party serving as the junior United States Senator from California since 2017. She previously was the 32nd Attorney General of California from 2011 to 2017.Kamala became only the second black woman and first Indian American woman to join the U.S. Senate since Carol Moseley Braun was appointed over 20 years ago. She previously served as California’s first woman, Indian American and African American Attorney General.
Erin Jackson (September 19,1992) is an American speed skater and inline skater. She qualified to compete in the 500 meters long track speed skating event at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. Erin is the first black women to make the Olympic team for long-track speed skating after only 4 months in the sport.ley Braun was appointed over 20 years ago. She previously served as California’s first woman, Indian American and African American Attorney General.
Mae Carol Jemison (born October 17, 1956) is an American engineer, physician and NASA astronaut. She became the first African American woman to travel in space when she went into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour on September 12, 1992.
Lisa Blunt Rochester (born February 10, 1962) is an American politician from the state of Delaware. A Democrat, she is a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Delaware’s at-large congressional district. Lisa was the first African-American woman elected to congress in Delaware 2016.
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DOPEQUOTES We all die. “Decide that you want it more than you are The goal afraid of it.” isn’t to – Bill Cosby live forever... You can't lead the goal is the people if to create you don't love something that will. the people. -2Pac
Kill them with success and bury them with a smile. -Drake 48- SOFNDOPEMAGAZINE.COM - JAN/ FEB 2018
DOPEQUOTES “Living life is a choice. Making a difference in someone else’s isn’t.” – Kid Cudi “Whatever we believe about ourselves and our ability comes true for us.” —Susan L. Taylor
The thing about hip-hop today is it’s smart, it’s insightful. The way they can communicate a complex message in a very short space is remarkable. -Barack Obama
“Have a vision. Be demanding.” —Colin Powell
“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.” —Booker T. Washington JAN/FEB 2018- SOFNDOPEMAGAZINE.COM -
s e l c i n o r h C y r a n e c r e M
Written by: Mercenary B. Williams
ooooo!!! If you’re reading this then that means you made it safely (hopefully) into 2018, so HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Hopefully your year has been off to a great start so far and if it hasn’t then hey, you’ve still got 11, (we’ll really 10) months left to get things turned back around! You already know how we do it on The Mercenary Chronicles, so let’s not waste any time and get right to it! So I decided to switch it up and do something different this year so I brought in the New Year fasting from anything that I felt like was a distraction to me in the previous year. One of those things for me was social media. Now don’t get me wrong I love it and it’s my primary marketing tool right now especially with the buzz from the showing on Comedy Central, so I was really nervous about taking the break and the possibility of losing steam, but hey I needed a “cleanse” so I could start the year in the best space I possibly could, so I went all in with it. It was overall a rewarding experience and I would certainly recommend any and everyone do it at some point. It’s so much to consume at one time between multiple accounts that you need to give your mind and spirit a “break” and time to recharge. Anyway, here are five things I realized while being away from social media for 30+ days: I am addicted to social media. That’s right. I said it. I’m a social media addict. That doesn’t sound good because I guess it’s not good to be addicted to anything but I didn’t realize it until I was without it. Like a lot and I mean A LOT
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of my life is consumed with being on, watching, scrolling, posting, reading, complaining, laughing, being entertained, and being annoyed with social media. Like I was waking up checking my Facebook. Hell, I was late for work one time because I was so consumed with my Instagram. [LAUGHS]. I mean I wasn’t breaking out in cold sweats or anything like that, but I did realize it because I would instinctively pick up my phone to check my social media without even thinking about it. Crazy. My phone was DRY AS HELL!!! I swear I can count the times on one had that my phone rang or a text message came through. Hell I turned the volume all the way up just to make sure my phone was still working. It’s crazy but social media has seemingly becoming a primary means of contact with people. Like your friend will ignore your calls and texts but then respond quickly to your Facebook post. That’s ass backwards man! [LAUGHS] People thought I had died or harmed myself...LITERALLY. Folks seriously thought I had fallen off the face of the earth. One person seriously texted and asked if I was alive. (I replied “no” and informed them I was texting from heaven. Ha!). I mean I can be perfectly okay and in an absolutely wonderful space and place in my life and NOT be on social media for the world to see it. Just in case you think I’m dead, I’m writing this from Heaven. [LAUGHS] I replaced procrastination with productivity! Like I got a lot done. A LOT! Just got back to me. I read more, wrote more, actually walked with my head up more instead of looking down for(or at) a phone,
Caught up on some TV shows, actually enjoyed the people and places I was at instead of Snapchatting or going Facebook Live with the entire thing. I mean I had to replace the time I spent being on social media with something. It’s crazy but when you’re not on the phone all the time, you kind of realize that you got a lot of other shit you could and NEED to be doing in your life. I actually TALKED to people. Like when did people stop talking to each other?! When was the last time you actually TALKED to someone? Not text because texting is not talking. I mean actually pick up the phone or go visit and sit and talk with someone. I love talking to and engaging with people. Even complete strangers. I still hate talking on the phone but hey I’m making progress so don’t judge me. [LAUGHS] The fast is over and I’m back on the social grid for now but I feel like I have a better handle on things. I know 2018 is going to be bigger, better, and BUSIER for me so it’s imperative that I do so. I’m hoping and wishing the same for you as well. If you’re reading this then you’re already off to a good start so let’s get it and make this the best year of your life! Y’all share that! Stay Up! Stay Blessed Stay Free! -Merc
"I am addicted to social media. That's right. I said it. I'm a social media addict." PHOTO BY: Jack Patterson
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BAN Interviewed by Sy Sayonara for SFND MAGAZINE
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PHOTO BY: Michael W. Eaton
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L COVER STORY
ate last year after closing out our first year and completing our 4th issue of So FN Dope Magazine, we struggled with how we were going to make 2018 an even better year. We decided that we would attempt elevate our game by setting a goal to seek out higher profile artists who have continued to make their mark on the industry in a variety of very unique and distinct ways. The first person who came to mind was none other than Mr. David Banner. Although we have been fans of David for years, we knew that we wanted to reach out to him not only because of his musical genius, but also because of his insightful public speaking, his sometimes controversial topics. His God Box Lecture series touches on a variety of topics that range from social injustice, to understanding the importance of supporting black owned businesses. His latest project, “The God Box” reflects on his experiences in his home state of Mississippi, as well as his experiences in the music industry, and our struggles with freedom in America, as well. In our humble opinion, we think that this is definitely his best work to date. We have followed Banner over the years and we are still fascinated by his love for his people, and his passion for learning about the rich history of African culture far beyond the boundaries of slavery. He rarely bites his tongue or shies away from controversy, but rather takes it head on with his wealth of knowledge acquired from studying a wide variety of thought provoking books that expand his consciousness about the world around him. It took many weeks of persistent emailing to get David Banner however we were elated when he agreed to sit down with us for an interview. His humble attitude and kind gestures made everyone comfortable. This was truly an experience to remember. Therefore, it is with great excitement we share with you this incredible interview with David Banner! SFND MAG:. First of all, we want to say how much we appreciate you for inter-
viewing with us. It is such an honor to have you to be a part of this very special issue of So FN Dope Magazine. DAVID BANNER: Thank for having me. SFND MAG: We cannot even begin to tell you how inspiring your message has been, especially over these last few years. I mean you have always had a really great message through your music and you have always used your platform to uplift
" I want these children to see someone conscious be
the black community, but there is something different about you now man and it is powerful. It’s has been amazing to see you continue to grow as an artist and as an activist. In what ways do “you” feel you have grown since you first started in the entertainment industry?
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DAVID BANNER: Less alcohol, [Laughs] and I’m older now. One of the things that I hate about people is they’ll say “I remember this song” , but they don’t realize that song came out 15 years ago…10 years ago… 7 years ago, and they don’t think about where they were ten, fifteen, seven, years ago. So, with me a lot of it is that I’m grown, and I am older now. I have nieces and nephews. My responsibility is different. The types of things I do are different. It’s crazy, because if you go back and listen to my music minus the sex and drugs, all of it said the same thing. I’m saying the same thing like on “Cadillac on 22’s.” I’ve been saying it most of my career, because whether you believe it or not, I’ve been conscious since the eleventh grade, but all that consciousness shit don’t mean nothing if you hungry. All that consciousness shit don’t mean nothing if you suffering so that’s one of the reasons why I work so hard to be able to show people. Like, the reasons why I’m still in the music is not necessarily for the same reason as other rappers. I want these children to see someone conscious be successful. I want these children to see somebody grow into an elder gracefully. You know, Maybe they don’t do the dumb shit that the kids do... but you know, still fly, still look good, still know how to have fun without allowing the fun taking control of your life, and having great balance. You know as an entertainer, folks don’t understand that people watch our lives in real time. So, instead of allowing that to do what it has done to other artists, I’m going to take it and show these kids some success in doing the right thing. SFND MAG: You were in Vegas and a situation happened, that disturbed you enough to the point where you were ready to fight. Someone apparently threw a coin-slot machine chip-at you, So you stepped outside to call your dad and told him what you were about to go back in there and do— That type of relationship…that comfort, that person that you call when you need guidance, why do you think it’s disappearing? DAVID BANNER: I don’t think it is disappearing, I think…what we don’t understand is that black people, since integration, have bought into white society and whether we admit it or not,
PHOTO BY: Michael W. Eaton
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COVER COVERARTIST STORY they’ve shipped all the images of ourselves and our family back to us. So if you think about it, those things still happen, but it is not popular on television and music. The sad part about it is now these children are starting to believe it. A lot of the parents want to be like the children. Many of the parents want to be in clubs, and on reality TV shows out looking like they’re famous like the children are. So what’s happening is we are losing that connection from our grandparents and from the parents who are really doing something, because everybody wants to do what they see on TV. So,what I believe white people have realized is that if we paid these black folks enough money… and this is no disrespect to anybody that’s doing reality TV shows or whatever, but I look at most reality TV shows and I see that they’re painting pictures to our little girls that your value is based on somebody else’s dick. Like… your value and what you are worth, is worth who you are screwing or who you are dating and what ends up happening is our little girl end up seeing that as success. It is similar to what I say about rap music. We criticize these children for doing everything for money, but our generation was the one that told them “Money Over Everything.” So now, these kids are going directly for that bag like we told them to. So what we are going to have to do is to create our own shows. It’s like… black people talk about ratings more than white folks, when the truth is that the ratings are skewed anyway because we are only less than 13% of the population. So it doesn’t matter what you do, you’re going to have low ratings unless you do something to entertain white people or who entertain white people to see black folks act like “niggas” and “bitches.” So we are going have to stand on something and do something because it’s right and because it’s the right thing to do and just stay on it. SFND MAG: I have been doing make up most of my life and to see how little girls think of themselves and what they hold as their core values. It’s directly of what we have been feeding them. DAVID BANNER: And we sit back point the fingers at what they become, but our children are a direct reflection of what we did and did not teach them. One of
the things that we also don’t realize is that our parents chased the American Dream and left us at home in front of the television. So we lost that personal time, I even learned that as an artist. These children don’t necessarily, I mean they want your money, but they want you, they want your time, you know. That’s one of the things that I think that is helping my career so much. I asked Charlemagne, “Charlamagne, why these children like me so much?” “Why are my social media numbers are so high?” And he said, “Because a lot of these children don’t have fathers, so they literally go on all these morning shows in all these different places and find men in that they believe are tough that they want to be like and they listen to you all day.” So they almost have to find somebody to raise them online. That’s the craziest shit I ever heard, I never thought about it that way so to a certain degree we are a lot of people’s fathers. SFND MAG: Man, that’s pretty deep. Now, you’ve touched on some pretty heavy subjects in your music, lecture series’, panels, and even on your social media outlets. With that being said, where do we go from this point forward in 2018? What are your thoughts on how we can “truly” ignite change in America? DAVID BANNER: I don’t believe there will be a kumbaya moment with black people— I think that’s one of the problems with so-called conscious people is, in most movements, it starts with small group of people. Look at the constitution of America. There was a group of white boys gathered into a room. They even fought in those meetings. They sat in there, argued, cussed, and fussed until they were on one accord and then once they came out of that building they got to work. I don’t believe it’s going to be a whole bunch of people. I think a small amount of us need to get together to do something and just like everything else our people have turned into sheep, they’ll follow. Elijah Muhammad said if you have clean water and dirty water together, people are going to pick clean water. We just don’t see the clean water. So those of us who know, we have got to get moving and then once we get moving they’ll come.
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COVER COVERARTIST STORY
" I think a small amount of us need to get together to do something and just like everything else our people have turned into sheep, they'll follow."
PHOTO BY: Michael W. Eaton
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COVER STORY You know one of the reasons why the Black Panthers were so successful is because they provided something. They took care of people’s kids. They fed folks. So like for me, it’s about just doing something. It’s about you. That’s what the whole God Box album was all about……… on www.davidbanner. com where you can get all things GOD Box………. [LAUGHS] Add that for me though. [LAUGHS] It’s just about you. Everybody is looking for God. Everybody looking for their savoir. Everybody looking for confirmation and love everywhere but themselves. If everybody inherently changed himself or herself then nobody would have to do to any work. SFND MAG: Let us talk about the God Box album a little bit. You dropped so many gems on this album... Speaking the truth on issues both past and present with no filter! You went against the grain in many ways on this album, which is why we think this album is So FN Dope. What was the process like creating the God Box album?
to start paying black people for doing the right thing. Think about the people who lead in our community. Malcolm, Martin, all those people who died broke. 2Pac is dead. Black folks hadn’t tried to avenge his death. Biggie is dead. No one is trying to avenge his death. So in saying that, when I did “The God Box” I wanted to give, not only just the actual album, but also the actual boxes. I made God boxes that had this book, which started me off with the consciousness called From the Browder Files by Anthony Browder. I put that book in there. I put a DVD in there Rick Mathis’s book in there about
wanted to raise the vibrations. I wanted to take people to another level. I wanted them to dream. Not just through the words but through music. Because I’m a producer, I listen to classical, I listen to all types of music. I remember how when I was in Mississippi, and I would listen to A Tribe Called Quest. It would take me to a different place. Even when I was in Mississippi I’d listen to NWA, I couldn’t literally say “Fuck the Police” at that time but we definitely wanted to say fuck the police. [LAUGHS] I think all music is relevant. I tell people this all the time. We needed N.W. A. We just didn’t need 4,550 of them. You know what I’m saying? All music isn’t positive and all music isn’t negative. Life is about balance. I wanted to make an album that would balance the scales. From me watching how the world has now disrespected the women of culture and women of color, so I wanted to address that, especially on “Marry Me” I had some stuff that I needed to do , to make up and a lot of people were tripping when I told them this, but I actually made “Marry Me” for dark-skinned women, and I’ll tell you why. Because of white supremacy and because of slavery, what they’ve done with “beauty” is made the world feel like the closer you resemble a white woman, the more beautiful you are. So, the self esteem of the original woman, women of culture, women who are of darker hue; you can’t imagine what they have to go through mentally. So, back to the album, I wanted an album tht could help people for years.
" This album was definitely my best album ever, but I also believe that it was one of the best rap albums ever."
DAVID BANNER: Well I’ll tell you this. This album was definitely my best album ever, but I also believe that it was one of the best rap albums ever. One of the first people to say it was Charlamagne Tha God, and once he said it, a lot of others started admitting it. Charlamagne was like. “This is probably one of the best rap albums ever, but because it’s socially conscious.... You have to understand, If David Banner becomes famous, then that means other men have to act like him. In addition, that means you have to be socially responsible. You have to keep your body in shape. You have to eat right, talk right. There is a lot of responsibility. See one of the things that black people or people of color will not admit is that white supremacy pays. So if you act like a “house nigger,” if you treat black people like white people treat you, then you will move up the ladder. If you cut your hair off and act like a white boy, you’ll move up the corporate ladder. See that’s one of the things. Black people are going to have
finances. Hidden Colors is in there. I put clothes in there. I wanted this to be what Goodie Mob was to me. What Outkast was to me. We don’t have those types of albums that help push you through. Most of the albums we get are right where we are now, and they vibrate on such a low level that it is about fucking, eating, and getting money. It is just survival, and that is what they are turning our people into. They turn our people into animals. See, they lied about slavery. Slavery wasn’t “ Roots.” That wasn’t shit. Bro, they treated us like dogs. Literally dogs. So for me, I
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SFND MAG: That’s a great point. So to switch things up a little, we wanted to do something a little fun. We are going to name a few songs on the album and I want you to tell us the “first word” that comes to mind and why. DAVID BANNER: TITTIES, I’m sorry —[LAUGHS] SFND MAG: Who Want It- ? DAVID BANNER: “Dope”- just dope. SFND MAG: Amy? DAVID BANNER: “God.”
PHOTO BY: Michael W. Eaton
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COVER COVERARTIST STORY
" I really wanted to make an album that could help people for years."
PHOTO BY: Michael W. Eaton
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#theGodBox SFND MAG: Is that the first word you thought of? DAVID BANNER: I think we are gods, Aye my nigga… Why you calling yourself that—you suppose to be a god. Aye my nigga… Why you calling yourself that —you suppose to be a god. What I thought was so dope about that song—I did it on purpose. I wanted them to say —hey my nigga —I didn’t want them to hear you’re supposed to be a god. I didn’t even say it loud. I didn’t say you supposed to be god until the very end so when they’re riding home after the club -high as fuck by themselves where they can’t front for anybody. She said, “You are supposed to be a god!” (echoes) Because I’ll never forget… this actually happened to me. It was A Tribe Called Quest song it was called “Aye Sucka Nigga” -Aye Sucka Nigga. So this is back when I used to get real high, I’m talking way out of my mind, and I just listen to shit on headphones and that’s when Bob Powell was mixing all that shit right so at the end of the song Q-Tip said “God help
me” help me and it was like helped me, help me, help me, (continuous echoes) and I freaked out like Oh my God!!! [LAUGHS] I’m serious. I said I wanted a motherfucker to tweak out and really think about when you say that word, because most people don’t think about it… Out of every
word in the English language; English is the operative word, we don’t even know our language. But English is the operative word. You can call yourself anything. You can call yourself “nice brown shoe.” You call yourself “dog motherfucker.” You can call yourself “Jmo.” You can call yourself a god. But out all the words, we could use for a term of endearment we chose to call us ourselves “niggas.” If that ain’t an example of white supremacy... I have a friend in L.A., who said, “I don’t care what I’ve learned. I’m a be a “nigga” for life.” I was like—yo…. (sigh) He is a one of the best basketball players of who ever played basketball. He’s my home boy and he just like
“Man… I know Banner but…” I believe that everything in life is purposeful, because the “my nigga” stage is the reason why this part of my life means so much to me. So if it were not for that, this wouldn’t have resonated with me the way it did. If I were not the old David Banner, kids wouldn’t trust me. Grown men wouldn‘t trust me. The reason why people trust is because they saw me at my worst stage. SFND MAG: There is a lot of talk floating around on the concept or the idea of being or becoming “conscious.” Was “The God Box” album designed with the intention of “waking people up”? DAVID BANNER: I really wanted to make an album that could help people for years. One of my friends said this is a timeless album. He said this just reminded him of a Bob Marley album that like 20 years from now someone looking for consciousness or trying to find the God Box, these things, everything in these songs will be socially relevant in 20 years and 30 years. What I am saying is... it can affect them… so they can wake up. Because… and I’m just being honest, I really didn’t make this album for “WOKE” people. I don’t want to be around those dudes. I want to go back for our people. I always said that I wanted to be like a JAN/FEB 2018- SOFNDOPEMAGAZINE.COM -
COVER STORY male Harriet Tubman. I think that’s the reason why cats don’t really fuck with hip-hop anymore. Because Hip-hop became so elitist and they stood over here and preached and looked down at people instead of giving back to the community like they started. Hip-hop started on the block. It was with the people. You weren’t over here talking down to people. That is one of the reasons why I lecture. I know that “The God Box” is some college level work, and I know that most of our people are listening on a 3rd grade level. So if we know that. Don’t criticize them for listening and learning on a 3rd grade level. Go and fucking teach! You’ve got to get there. You have to touch people. You know what I’m saying? I wanted to touch people, and I’ll give you a great example. “Cleopatra Jones” I know, because I have home girls who are corporate, really smart, but most trap music is just so rough, that it is hard for them to really spiritually enjoy the music. So, I said I wanted to make a trap record that was still sexual, because we are grown, [Laughs] but I wanted it to be provocative but still respect the fact that we are grown without being disrespectful. You know what I’m saying? Like when I said I wanted to give her this Dick… Gregory. [Laughs] So it was dope, to have that opportunity and to be honest with you, I had lost my love for music. I didn’t even like going to the studio. I didn’t like anything. I didn’t like church music, jazz; I didn’t like any of that. I the business part of music I allowed those white folks to rape me of it. Well, I will say the music industry because black folks did that shit too. And for a while when I would go to clubs, it felt off. It felt like our culture had turned into bloodsuckers. It didn’t feel good anymore. It didn’t feel right. But, I will say is everybody complains about music. I don’t think anything is wrong with music I think music just needs balance. SFND MAG: Being that it is Black history month what does black history mean to you? DAVID BANNER: It doesn’t mean shit
to me. We are gods of this earth. Time should be our everything, I’ve talked about this. First of all, they’re giving us, the coldest, and the shortest month when black people are the reason why we have math and science and who mapped the stars. For us to be content with a month… I’ve got a problem with that! I mean it’s a great month for me as a speaker. I make lot of money, but I think Black History month is bullshit. I told
somebody two weeks ago, I told this dude and I hope I didn’t hurt his feelings because I know I was a little rough on him. I was talking about conventional religions and I was telling them you were saying “Man...as a people we have been a blessed people”. I told him I disagree. He asked, “Why did you say that”— I would say that you’re blessed if you think you’re a slave, but IF you knew who you are! IF you knew what we created! IF you knew that we owned the continent or knew that the world was ours at one time, then the shit that we’re doing now means nothing. You know what I’m saying? I even have a problem with the word “equality.” I don’t want to be equal with white folks. I want to be better. Anytime you are looking for the pinnacle you’re usually falling short of the template. So, if you’re just trying to be equal, then you’ll never ever reach
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that. I think that I’m better and it has nothing to do with me being BLACK and or being WHITE, but even from a scientific perspective of melanin and me being the darker hue, me being the dominant gene that within itself. The problem is that we don’t know each other. We don’t know who we are, so we allow people to control us. We allow our happiness to be given to us. Anthony Browder, the guy that wrote this book, he has this chart. He charted the entire history of the world. The chart is literally from that door to the back of this wall. Since the first black person was on this earth, white people’s existence is only this much, but we only study this much of history period. So in saying that, even if you look at black history, most of the people are like “I want to know about Malcolm” but I want to know about Patrice Lumumba. The people that I learned about and the people that I want to talk about or I learned about are the ones they’ll never talk about in black history. So in most cases Black History Month is about the people that white folks could say you know. SFND MAG: David Banner, thank you again for giving us a moment of your time today. This was truly an honor and will forever be cherished here at So FN Dope Magazine. We know you are a very busy individual as we can see you making major moves all over the country lecturing and speaking to those who are willing to listen. So before you go please all of our readers where they can pick up “The God Box” album as well as reach you on social media. DAVID BANNER: On www.davidbanner.com IG @davidbannerlikespictures Twitter @davidbanner
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“I believe everything in life is purposeful...” JAN/FEB 2018- SOFNDOPEMAGAZINE.COM -
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who we are, so we o control us. We ppiness to be to us."
PHOTO BY: Michael W. Eaton
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PHOTO BY: Omar
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PHOTO BY: Michael W. Eaton