Certified

Studio Album by released in 2005
Certified's tracklist:
Lost Souls
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Treat Me Like (feat. Jadakiss)
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Gangster Walk (feat. Three 6 Mafia, Marcus, 8Ball & MJG)
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2 Fingers (feat. Jagged Edge)
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Play
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Fucking (feat. Jazze Pha)
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Thinking of You (feat. Case)
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On Everything (feat. Twista)
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Certified (feat. Marcus)
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Ain't Got Nothing (feat. Magic & Lil' Boosie)
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Bloody War (feat. B.G.)
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Westside
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Take Your (feat. Too $hort, Bun B & Jazze Pha)
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My Life (feat. Sky)
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Ridin' (feat. Talib Kweli & dead prez
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X-ed (feat. Kamikaze)
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Crossroads (feat. Grout)
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Certified review

One half of the rap duo Crooked Lettaz, David Banner helped put Mississippi on the map in 1999. He broke out nationally in 2003 with a pair of albums, Mississippi: The Album and MTA2: Baptized in Dirty Water. These releases spawned a varied clutch of hits – Like a Pimp, Cadillac on 22's and Crank It Up. While critics were definitely giving Banner his due, the buying public gave him only a lukewarm reception. The sad truth is that people aren't ready to face the demons Banner fights every day. Even Kanye West's outspokenness looks safe compared to Banner's in-your-face assault against racism and inequality. Sensing that his message was going mostly unheard by the masses, Banner has made himself more accessible on 2005’s Certified. Most people have already heard Play, which has quickly become Banner's biggest hit to date. Play, along with a few other more radio friendly tracks, is sure to make Certified Banner's biggest album to date. Thankfully, Banner takes advantage of his larger fan-base by including plenty of the meaningful rap we've come to expect and ensuring his uplifting message reaches further this time around.

He has made his songs a little more friendly with the inclusion of some R&B cats like Jagged Edge on 2 Fingers and the almost-forgotten singer Case on Thinking Of You. And songs like Touching featuring Jazze Pha and the first single Play are centered around pleasing the female crowd. And David Banner reflects on the inequalities of the world with My Life featuring Sky. But that's really the only thing that is less hardcore on the album than with his previous offerings. Banner has a huge selection of guest stars on the album, a technique that practically every other music artists is utilizing these days. His best collaborations have to be Ridin surprisingly featuring Dead Prez and Talib Kweli, Take Your featuring the living legend Too Short along with the versatile lyricism of Bun B, and Gangsta Walk with Memphis' own Three Six Mafia and 8Ball & MJG. Other decent duos would be Treat Me Like with Jadakiss, and On Everything where he trades verses with Twista. Other songs are true grimy Dirty South fare like Certified featuring Marcus, Ain't Got Nothin" with Magic and Lil Boosie, and Bloody War with ex-Cash Money soldier BG.

David Banner is one of rap's most likeable figures, and also one of its most admirable. The consummate community activist this is a man who dispatched his own tour bus to relieve Katrina victims in Mississippi, fueling it with faith and a MasterCard...10 months after he chauffeured voters from his neighborhood to Election Day polls last November. All in all, David Banner does give a satisfying album, with a few interruptions here and there. And with the saturation of crappy albums flooding the market these days, Certified is officially worth your time and money. It treads a fine line between keeping it real and selling units, but Banner treads that line very well. Though Certified is his best album to date, hopefully this is only the beginning for the game's most conscious rapper.