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MSN’s Groove Blogger Rashaun Hall caught up with producer/rapper and Mississippi native David Banner to get more insight into his new thing…brands. Groove recently caught up the Mississippi native to talk about working with brands, maintaining artistic credibility and getting “Footloose.”

Groove: There was a time when artists — particularly hip-hop artists — saw doing ads and jingles as “selling out.” That’s no longer the case now, but what facilitated that change?

DB: I never believed that that was “selling out.” Show me an artist that felt that way, and I’ll show you a broke artist, because some artists say that that’s “selling out,” but they turn around and do it anyway.

Brands have always been a part of every business, including music. I think “selling out” is when you do something that’s not connected with/to you. I don’t have to go out of my way to use the brands that I have worked with [that came to me], because I use them anyway (in most cases).

It’s about time brands let different music artists broaden their scope and demo. I think it’s also time to let these various artists be a part of their marketing process as well, especially if we’ve always been consumers of their products.

Groove: Tell me a little about how both Gatorade and Gillette deals came about?

DB: I was introduced to Jimmy by a good friend of mine and Jimmy really believed that my music was a lot bigger than just hip-hop. Jimmy and his team, G-Team, heard my music and knew that I had a lot more in me to broadcast, and they helped put my music in front of the right people. I fought for these spots – and I got it! Nobody handed it to me…it was a 1-2 year process.

Read more and check out his ad commercials with Gatorade and Gillette here.

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