Banner wasn't always the David Banner. He was a regular boy from Jackson, a non-economically thriving area of Mississippi who was dreaming of making it big as a rap superstar. He was born Levell Crump on April 11, 1973. His father Zeno Crump, Jr., a respectable District Fire Chief and his mother Carolyn Crump were two people who raised Banner in a simple way, sticking their values to religious beliefs. Little Banner learned music from instruments like keyboards and second hand drum set but his power laid on his ability to eject words rapidly through his lips. Stepping up to the game to debut his rapping skill, he showcased the talent when he attended Northwest Jackson Middle School. Going to high school he took a part time job as grocery bagger in a local Kroger store and used the salary to aid his music career. He would create his own music, put it on a CD and sell it to the Jackson natives. The career did not take off immediately but it was his meeting with rapper Kamikaze that really put a base on his career today.
While enrolling at his mother's alma mater Southern University in Baton Rogue, Louisiana, he formed a rap duo with Kamikaze named Crooked Lettaz and released "Grey Skies" in 1999 as their debut album. The CD received high praises, considerably well enough to make sure that they were on the right lane. It even got an outstanding review from one of the columnists of All Music Guide but due to the poor promotion of the album, "Grey Skies" failed to lift up their fame. Banner consequently pursued further education in business by admitting himself to University of Maryland. But before he completed his master degree, the music career took off and forced Banner to drop his academic journey. Banner later found himself responsible for the hits made popular by rappers Trick Daddy and Lil' Flip. His solo career also later on stood up with the release of "Them Firewater Boyz, Vol. 1" in 2000. He was at that time signed to Penalty Records but the album's sale was not excessively supporting his career. Only after Universal roped him in did he receive the success he deserved.
In the middle of desperation to enhance his music fate, an executive from Universal noticed his talent while he was performing at several clubs. He immediately nodded for a five-albums contract, the first one being "Mississippi: The Album" in 2003. It spawned a collaborative track called "Like a Pimp" that he did with Lil' Flip which brought moderate success for Banner although not a big bang. The third effort, "MTA2: Baptized in Dirty Water" also delivered mild result, but the fourth one did not. "Certified" that was dropped in September 2005, lined up more renown musicians to be the featured guests. Those like Three 6 Mafia, Talib Kweli, B.G., Jagged Edge and Elephant Man assisted Banner in lifting the credibility of the album. One particular track "Play" that was produced by Mr. Collipark, went peaking at #7 on Billboard Hot 100 chart and became Banner's highest charting piece at that time.
In the middle of his success, Banner bent down to give back to his community. With the Hurricane Katrina striking in August 2005 in some states including his home town of Mississippi, Banner did everything he could to help the situation. He conducted charity concerts and even spoke out to criticize the way Government handled the situation. For his effort in rebuilding the fallen states, Banner was awarded Visionary Award by National Black Caucus of the State Legislature in November 2006. Some agreed to the honor but many also gave criticism by reasoning that Banner had accused several civil rights leaders of not adequately assisting the victims.
While juggling between his personal life and his professional career, Banner found time to branch to another field. The rapper landed himself a starring role in a Samuel L. Jackson and Christina Ricci-starring flick "Black Snake Moan". Although he only secured a small part, it was more than just tasting the water. In the same year he also debuted his acting skill in drama film "This Christmas". The packed schedule led to the several delays of his fifth studio album which he eventually named "The Greatest Story Ever Told". The album is scheduled for July 15, 2008 release with "9mm/Speaker" as the first single and "Get Like Me (Stuntin Is a Habit)" as the follow-up. The latter single is climbing its success ladder on the Billboard Hot 100 chart by leaping from no. 77 to 32 only to eventually sit at #27.