BEVERLY HILLS, California — "I want y'all to look around this room," David Banner instructed the audience at the ASCAP Rhythm and Soul Music Awards earlier this summer. "Everybody who's getting awards, next year they probably won't — because I'll get them."
Those are big words, even from the ever-confident Banner, but he's got good reason to believe the follow-up to 2005's Certified will be his best album yet.
"I've been happier than I've ever been in my life, and I think it's gonna reflect musically," he explained. "I've been doing movies so I don't have the pressure of having to rush a record for financial purposes. And I had the opportunity to be trained under Samuel L. Jackson. I learned so much more than just movie information and things about acting [from him]. I learned a lot about life, and I think with the patience that I learned through everything, I'm gonna have the best record ever."
Banner's still in the early stages of recording, but judging by the success of a leaked song called "Get Money" featuring Yola Da Great, things are looking pretty good.
"It's the hottest song in Atlanta, period," Banner said. "Me and the young cat hooked up and it was magic. We knocked out, like, three songs in a row and 'Get Money' was one of them. It just dropped into a couple of radio people's hands and it blew up, and I'm thankful for it."
Banner's not saying yet who else he's working with, but he's got a blueprint mapped out.
"I'm gonna stick to what got me here, more like the pimp vibe," he said, referring to racy strip-club anthems like "Play." "I think that's what people are expecting of me. You have your core audience and you really can't deviate from them. And at this point in my career, I can't really depend on a record label to help me push the outer boundaries of what I really want to do. So I'm just gonna stick to this and I'm gonna be a little more creative on the movie side."
Banner's first film, "Black Snake Moan," which co-stars Jackson and Justin Timberlake and is helmed by "Hustle & Flow" writer/director Craig Brewer, is due February 16 (see "David Banner Hooked On Acting Thanks To Samuel L. Jackson"). The film centers around Jackson's bluesman character, who takes to a wild woman played by Christina Ricci.
"My character is more or less the hustler in the town, but you're actually able to see the arc of his personality," Banner said. "He really has a relationship with the young lady in the movie and it's really not so much taking advantage of her weaknesses — she's a nympho — he also shows that he cares about her and he knows that other people are going to take advantage of her, but as long as they don't hurt her, he's OK with her."
The role has apparently opened up several doors for the rapper, although he has yet to announce his second film. "I've got several movies lined up, but until they're green-lit, to me they don't exist," he said. "I've been able to more or less pick the parts that I want to pick and it's been working out.
"I have something very big that nobody's going to believe that I'd be able to do," he added cryptically.
One of his upcoming movies could be a "This Is Spinal Tap"-like comedy based on Korn's "Twisted Transistor" video, in which Banner, Snoop Dogg, Lil Jon and Xzibit portrayed the members of the band (see "Korn Expanding 'Twisted' Video With Snoop, Lil Jon Into 'Spinal Tap'-Style Film").
"I'd be willing to do that," Banner said. "Korn was so cool and it was such a boost for my career, being that I was in the room with not just the greats of rap, but also with Korn. It just really helped me out, and any way I can help them, I'd definitely be glad to consider it."