Hippo Manchester
October 6, 2005

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David Banner, Certified

Universal, 2005

*

by Dan Brian

Itís hard not to like David Bannerís public persona as an activist. He has been known to bus people from communities across Mississippi to ensure they vote.  He was also one of the first to fill up his tour bus and deliver aid to Katrina victims.  That said, HOLY CRUNK!  

David Bannerís Certified is the type of record that will have soccer moms sneering as they pop another Vicodin and set back the NAACPís work by 10 years. You canít tell if heís trying to make some sort of ironic cultural statement or if he believes this is the way rap music should sound.

Bannerís rhymes tend to be brutally flagrant and lewd. The song ďF******Ē is literally a slap in the face to listeners, woman-kind and the $15 you spent on this album.  Not that rap albums havenít been known for derogatory subject matter, but at least many of Bannerís influences (Snoop, Dr. Dre, Easy E) did it with a certain finesse that Banner has yet to grasp.

If Banner scores points anywhere on Certified, it would be for his clean crisp production and master beat-making skills.  Such skills show through the murkiness on many of the tracks, including the decent ďLost SoulsĒ and ďWestside.Ē  Itís just a shame that the lyrical properties of Certified hold the album back and encourage the negative aspects of a stereotype that many MCs have tried so hard to erase from our cultural consciousness.  Like Chris Rock once said, ďItís getting harder and harder to defend rap music.Ē