Death of a Pop Star

Death of a Pop Star
Death of a Pop Star
Studio album by David Banner & 9th Wonder
Released December 21, 2010
Recorded 2009-2010
Genre Hip hop
Length 30:34
39:43 (Bonus Track Version)
Label Big Face Entertainment
E1 Music
Producer 9th Wonder, David Banner (also exec.), E. Jones, THX, Warryn Campbell
Professional reviews

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David Banner chronology
The Greatest Story Ever Told
Death of a Pop Star
9th Wonder chronology
Death of a Pop Star
Singles from Death of a Pop Star
  1. "Slow Down"
    Released: January 21, 2010
  2. "Be with You"
    Released: November 3, 2010

Death of a Pop Star is a collaborative studio album by Mississippi rapper David Banner and North Carolina producer 9th Wonder. The album, originally a mixtape, serves as the artists' first collaborative work together. The album's theme is the death of contemporary music and increasing popularity of music downloads.[7] Released on December 21, 2010, under Banner's Big Face Entertainment label[8] and E1 Music, the album features collaborations with Anthony Hamilton, Ludacris and Erykah Badu among others. The lead single "Slow Down" was released on January 21, 2010.[9] "Be With You" was released as the second single on November 3, 2010.[10]




For this project, David Banner gave up double duty as producer and emcee and stuck to microphone duties. As he wanted to go in a different direction from songs like "Get Like Me" and "Play", he made a list of producers he wanted to work with which included Nottz, 9th Wonder, Just Blaze, DJ Khalil[11] and Madlib. He finally decided to work with 9th Wonder, as he and 9th have a mutual friend known as DJ Cuzzin B, who runs a DJ business with Wonder.[12][13] Teaming up with 9th Wonder marks the first time that he's relinquished control to another producer for the duration of an album.

The pairing came as a surprise to many, as Banner's style is endemic to his Southern leanings and Wonder is known for his signature style of chopping creaky soul samples and flipping them into New York-sounding bangers.[14] During a recent interview, Banner stated that he didn't want to produce the album.[14]

I wanted to prove to people that you could put me on the level of anybody that you like lyrically, and I think I proved that with this record. And it's funny, I'm starting to hear people say that for the first time ever, people have started putting me up against some of the biggest lyricists now. I wanted to just focus on the pen on this album.[14]

—David Banner, The BoomBox

Initially, the Grammy Award-winning duo were going to release the project as a free mixtape, but they later developed it into a full-length album. The duo's intent was to focus on the music, not their image.[15]

On November 4, 2010, Banner told Hot 97's Peter Rosenberg that the album helped him spiritually. He revealed: "Money can't soothe your soul. I was making a lot of money but something didn't feel right spiritually for me. I just said I wanted to do something different".[16]

Death of a Pop Star was originally scheduled for a summer 2010 release, but was later pushed back, first to November 9, 2010 and then to December 21, 2010.[16]


Death of a Pop Star explores the theme of the death of contemporary black music. In an interview with HitQuarters, 9th Wonder explained the inspiration behind the project: "We thought that in many ways the death of Michael Jackson meant the death of black music... Not to say black music is dead all the way, but on the mainstream side there's not really much of a focus on soul. There's not a lot of people trying to redefine soul music."[17]

Both artists feel that the state of the industry and music in general has been devalued for style, over substance.[18] For Banner, the album represents hip hop beyond the quickly compiled throwaway projects, which Banner claims are hurting more than helping the art.[19] He elaborately gave his thoughts on his definition of art, and the risks of an artist such as himself taking the path towards releasing a more conscious project. "Our music is dying. If we don't change something soon, this won't be an art anymore... Why should somebody buy it if there's no complexity in it? An art means it's something that everybody can't do. Rap music shouldn’t be easy... I want Death of a Pop Star to make you feel a different way, because then it's an art. It's something you have to be prepared to listen to".[16]

Album title

The title was the result of studio banter with 9th Wonder about the state of the music industry, with Wonder coming to the revelation that today's superstar will never achieve the same success as those of an earlier era.[14]

We were just talking about the death of contemporary music. How have we continued to let music go in the direction that it is? It's almost impossible for there to be another Michael Jackson or Usher or Chris Brown. And 9th said "Damn! That's what we should call it. Death of a Pop Star".[13][14]

—David Banner, The BoomBox

The album and its title touch on a sobering reality that could very well complicate the already troubled music industry, a situation that Banner hopes to address. About upcoming singers being able to cross into the Madonna or Michael Jackson stratosphere, he says: "If music continues in the way that it is now, it's going to be impossible. The truth is, I don't think anything is impossible when you equate in the spirit of a man. They said that's one thing you can't equate or put a mathematical equation on, and that's the spirit of a human being. So I think if we are conscious of what's going on, we can change anything as human beings".[14]

In a recent interview with, Banner says that most people think the album title refers to the death of being a pop star, but he insists that he and 9th chose the title so they could not only talk about the album, but also the death of contemporary music.[20]


Adopting a "New York" sound wasn't a product of circumstance, but rather a conscious decision to help bring focus back to Banner's lyrical abilities.

As soon as I added 808s to my music, it seemed like people stopped listening, on top of the fact that I had a very heavy Southern drawl. So I really concentrated on articulating my words this time, but not stomping on or suppressing my Southern accent.[14]

—David Banner, The BoomBox


  • "Slow Down" was released as the lead single on January 21, 2010. Illusive Media and David Banner directed the music video which has been premiered on June 21, 2010.[21] The album version of the song is different from the single version; the sample used in the single has been replaced by synthesizer sounds and the vocal sample is sung by Heather Victoria.
  • The second single, "Be With You", was released on November 3, 2010. The music video directed by Mr. Boomtown was premiered on December 17, 2010.[22]


No. Title Producer(s) Length
1. "Diamonds on My Pinky"   9th Wonder, David Banner*, THX* 2:19
2. "No Denying (Channel 3)"   9th Wonder, David Banner*, Warryn Campbell* 2:13
3. "Mas 4"   9th Wonder 1:20
4. "The Light"   E. Jones 4:18
5. "Slow Down" (featuring Heather Victoria) 9th Wonder, David Banner*, Warryn Campbell* 3:20
6. "Be With You" (featuring Ludacris & Marsha Ambrosius) 9th Wonder, David Banner*, Warryn Campbell* 3:21
7. "Stutter" (featuring Anthony Hamilton) 9th Wonder, David Banner*, Warryn Campbell* 3:25
8. "Silly" (featuring Erykah Badu) 9th Wonder, David Banner*, THX* 2:08
9. "Something Is Wrong" (featuring Lisa Ivey) 9th Wonder, David Banner*, Warryn Campbell* 3:49
10. "Strange" (featuring Big Remo) 9th Wonder, David Banner*, E. Jones*, Warryn Campbell* 4:21

(*) designates additional production


Credits for Death of a Pop Star adapted from Allmusic[23] and from the album liner notes.[24]

  • David Banner - Additional Production, Executive Producer, Keyboards
  • 9th Wonder - Engineer, Producer
  • E. Jones - Additional Production, Engineer, Keyboards, Producer
  • THX - Additional Production, Keyboards
  • Warryn Campbell - Additional Production, Bass, Composer, Drums, Keyboards, Piano
  • Heather Victoria - Composer
  • Anthony Daniels - Engineer
  • Kevin Williams - Flute
  • Dontae Winslow - Horn
  • Neil Pogue - Mixing
  • Pat Viala - Mixing
  • Bruce Buechner - Vocals
  • Carlos Ricketts - Vocals
  • Joi Starr - Vocals
  • Melodye Perry - Vocals
  • Kay K. Rosemond - A&R
  • Annette Navarro - Art Direction, Design, Photography
  • Corey Smyth - Associate Producer
  • Samantha Selolwane - Associate Producer
  • Caroline Yim - Booking
  • Paul Grosso - Design
  • Marleny Dominguez - Label Direction
  • Larry Tyler - Management
  • Charley Greenberg - Marketing
  • Chris Herche - Marketing
  • John Franck - Marketing
  • Shawnte Crespo - Marketing
  • Dee "Pitboss" Sonaram - Promoter
  • Shadow Stokes - Promoter
  • Courtney Lowery - Publicity
  • Giovanna Melchiorre - Publicity
  • Scott Parker - Trainer
  • Lisa Franke - Video


  1. ^ Jeffries, David Review: Death of a Pop Star. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2010-12-25.
  2. ^ David Banner & 9th Wonder – Death of a Pop Star. HipHopDX. Retrieved on 2011-01-05.
  3. ^ Dobbins, Jermaine David Banner x 9th Wonder – Death of a Pop Star - Album Review. SoulCulture. Retrieved on 2010-12-25.
  4. ^ TSS Crew (2011-01-06). ""Strange" – Review Of David Banner & 9th Wonder’s Death Of A Pop Star". Retrieved 2011-01-06. 
  5. ^ TSS Crew (2011-01-08). "Listen Up_ Percy Sledge, David Banner -". USA Today. Retrieved 2011-02-26. 
  6. ^ "Death of a Pop Star Review". 2011-01-08. Retrieved 2011-01-06. 
  7. ^ David Banner To Give Away Death of a Pop Star For Free MTV. Retrieved October 23, 2009.
  8. ^ Album Release Date
  9. ^ David Banner – Slow Down (Prod. 9th Wonder) (Single)
  10. ^ David Banner & 9th Wonder: Be With You (feat Ludacris & Marsha Ambrosius)
  11. ^ David Banner Talks Tea Parties, T.I. & 'Death of a Pop Star'
  12. ^ Okayplayer Tv: David Banner & 9th Wonder part I
  13. ^ a b David Banner Talks "Death of a Pop Star," Feeling Trapped Musically, and more.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g David Banner, 9th Wonder team up 'Death of a Pop Star'
  15. ^ David Banner and 9th Wonder Present Death of a Pop Star
  16. ^ a b c David Banner Says "Death of a Pop Star" Helped Him Spirtually
  17. ^ "Interview With 9th Wonder". HitQuarters. May 31, 2010. Retrieved Jun 15, 2010. 
  18. ^ David Banner, 9th Wonder Talk 'Death of a Pop Star'
  19. ^ David Banner, 9th Wonder 'Death of a Pop Star' - video interview
  20. ^ David Banner on "Death of a Pop Star" (Video) Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ Credits: Death of a Pop Star. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2011-01-04.
  24. ^ (2010) Album notes for Death of a Pop Star by David Banner & 9th Wonder. Big Face Entertainment, E1 Music.

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