David Banner has always had the talent to create great music, but his albums didn’t always present that. With The God Box, Banner proves why he’s still here 20 years after getting in the game.
Checking in with 15 songs including a bonus track, The God Box is an hour-plus long of bold statements and strong voices. Nothing on here sounds unsure of itself or middle-of-the-road. Every idea and word that comes out of Banner’s mouth come with a fight, just like his late-mentor Pimp C used to say.
Unlike his previous releases, The God Box contains no attempts to get commercial radio play. But that does not mean that it’s not jamming. The only song that would fit at a club, “Black Fist” featuring Tito Lopez, can also serve as a protest anthem. Banner put his deep Rolodex to good use by recruiting features that actually add lyrical value to the track, not just big name recognition. Black Thought once again demonstrates his elite MC status on “Who Want It” and we actually get a rap verse out of Ceelo Green on “Magnolia” where Banner cleverly raps from the perspective of a tree used to hang Black people.
Banner doesn’t shy away from putting his personal beliefs and conspiracy theories out there either. On “Elvis” he boldly raps about Michael Jackson being killed to make a profit and claims that the government put AIDS in the Black community on “Amy” featuring Trinidad James.
Banner, who has spent the last few years honing his skills as a producer across genres and industries shows off his rock chops on “Judy Blare” and “Traffic On Mars” and creeps into R&B territory on “Marry Me.” But the highlight of his production comes on the lead single “My Uzi” featuring Big Krit and UGK where he builds a hook around a lost Pimp C verse and ends the song with an orchestra playing something that sounds straight out of a Disney movie.
Lyrically, Banner sounds the best he’s ever been. Now that he’s independent, older and wiser, Banner sheds all of the labels people tried to put on him and just spits raw raps, especially on “August” which should have been a longer song.
The only thing that a listener may find “wrong” with the album is that it is very much a line in the sand. Banner doesn’t hesitate to share his very direct views on race so if you are sensitive to the topic, Black or White, you may squirm in your seat when you hear him say “cracker” or make the occasional “Whites killing Blacks” blanket statement.
Overall, this is David Banner’s best album. It has been seven years since his last album, Death Of A Popstar with 9th Wonder, but it sounds like the time away did him good. The God Box is the album that fans of his lectures and interviews wish he dedicated himself to making a long time ago. Even though the album is coming years after the height of his popularity, it is still right on time for an MC and producer who is a grown-ass man making music at a time when there is no time to play around.
EDITOR’S SUGGESTION: Listen to “Wizdom Selah” every day in the morning before you start your day and again before you got to sleep.