The God Box
Written by Jason Terrell
I never looked to David Banner to have a political voice. I know he is very influential to early 2000 hip hop, which is the greatest era in music as far as I’m concerned. But in 2015, I began to see him as a pundit with a strong message about rebuilding and restoring a sense of self-worth within Black people, messages that I didn’t hear in “Like a Pimp” which was my song of choice in middle school.
My first re-introduction to Banner was at a community town hall in Atlanta where Banner mentioned that he was releasing an album called The God Box. He proclaimed that it would be a mirror reflecting adverse conditions between Black and White America.
After an interim mixtape and countless delays, Banner released The God Box on 5/19/17 (Min. Malcolm’s birthday).
Lyrically, Banner didn’t disappoint. His delivery was fire and aggressive for most of the album:
“Fuck Gucci, Fuck Louie
Till they come to my hood
Fuck Tom Ford, Fuck Versace
Yeah I said it I’m good”- “Amy” (Banner).
Throughout God Box, Banner targeted political figures, police brutality, the idea of White privilege while simultaneously pouring power into Black people.
Although Banner’s lyrics were fire, the music was all over the place. There was not a consistent sound, and it was very hard for me to grasp onto the overall tone of the album. Tracks like “Judy Blare” and “Marry Me” did not contribute to the overall mood of the album (although “Marry Me” is an automatic jam for me because my Fraternity Khapter brother is singing the hook).
Where the album lacks in an inconsistent sound, it makes up in the lyrics and message. Banner opens the album with a song called “Magnolia.” He has a thought-provoking dialogue with a Magnolia tree, a symbolism of lynching in the Deep South. On the track, CeeLo delivers a soulful verse about a Black cops struggle between his badge and his heritage. The track was nostalgic and it reminds me of an old-school Goodie Mob jam that my dad used to play.
There were a few other songs that stood out. On “Back Fist,” Banner delivered an anthem about Black pride. It was a Black history lesson about philosophical theories, spirituality, and the Jim Crow South. Similarly, on “My Uzi,” Banner delivered some of his hardest verses, and K.R.I.T. destroyed the beat and rhythmically analyzed the current state of America.
“Police out here acting crazy
Shooting up black folks left and right
People out here die every night”- “My Uzi” (K.R.I.T).
Overall, I am mixed on the album. I respect Banner for themes he presented but sonically; I struggled to connect with the tone. Regardless, Banner was able to bring a political message around Black pride to a wider audience. Any rapper that can promote positivity and use the Black Power flag as track art has my utmost respect.