Lavell "David Banner" Crump
- Southern University
- University of Maryland Eastern Shore
Lavell William Crump, better known by his stage name David Banner, is a class of 1992 graduate of Provine High School. After graduating, the Jackson native attended Southern University in Baton Rouge and served as president of the Student Government Association while earning his degree in business. Banner went on to pursue a master’s degree in education from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore but left the program to pursue his music career full-time. He credits his educational investment with helping him to fulfill his dreams as a business owner.
Crump's stage name "David Banner" is taken from the lead character of the television series, The Incredible Hulk. He started his music career as a member of the rap duo Crooked Lettaz alongside Brad “Kamikaze” Franklin. With several of his friends, Banner sent some demo tapes to Jackson, Mississippi radio station, WJMI. Celebrity Manager Glenn Sweety G Toby discovered the group and signed them to Neil Levine at Penalty Records. The duo released their highly-anticipated Grey Skies album on April 20, 1999, before Banner went solo in 2000 with the release titled Them Firewater Boyz, Vol. 1. In 2003, Banner signed to Universal Records, where he released four albums: Mississippi: The Album (2003), MTA2: Baptized in Dirty Water (2003), Certified (2005), and The Greatest Story Ever Told (2008).
Banner is also a noted music producer having produced music for himself, T.I., Lil Boosie Trick Daddy, Nelly, and Lil Wayne among others. Lil Wayne’s Carter III won a Grammy for album of the year, in which Banner also received a Grammy for producing.
After assessing various offers, Banner and manager Scott Johnson decided to sign with Universal Records subsidiary SRC Records. In 2003, Banner produced T.I.'s single "Rubberband Man", which reached No. 30 on the Hot 100, No. 15 on the R&B chart, and No. 11 on the Rap chart. 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 No. 48 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, No. 15 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, and No. 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 2005, Banner released his third major-label album, Certified.
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. His company, A Banner Vision, is a full-service music and production agency specializing in video and commercial production, content development, custom music, and creative consulting. The company has partnered with Gatorade, Mercedes Benz, Disney, and Pepsi brands. Banner is also a notable actor playing roles in movies such as Black Snake Moan (2006), This Christmas (2007), The Experiment (2010), Stomp The Yard: Homecoming, and Lee Daniels’ The Butler (2013) to name a few.
On July 15, 2008, Banner released his fourth major-label album, The Greatest Story Ever Told. The album's first single, titled "9mm" features 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 No. 16 on the Hot 100, No. 7 on the R&B chart, No. 2 on the Rap chart, and was nominated for multiple BET Hip Hop Awards.
In November 2006, Banner was awarded a Visionary Award by the National Black Caucus of State Legislators in Jackson, Mississippi in recognition of his humanitarian work in response to 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."
The Grammy Award-winning music producer, recording artist, philanthropist, and actor is a creative visionary and entrepreneur, with an astute appreciation for the power of music. He is known for his spirit of community, love for humanity, and passion for justice. His foundation, Heal the Hood, Inc., provides clothing and other necessities for families during the holidays.
David Banner takes pride in using his global platforms to encourage under-served youth and inspire creative minds to seek out “behind the scenes” professions in the entertainment industry. He leverages his affluence and influence to help leave the world in a better place than he found it.