Coming of Age: Lloyd Banks
With the release of back to back mixtapes All Or Nothing: Live it Up, Halloween Havoc 3 and now bringing back his Blue Friday Tracks that he started in 2010, it's time to speak on the growth and potential of the G-Unit MC by the name of Lloyd Banks, one of my favorite rappers. From Southside Jamaica Queens, NY, Banks started off rapping with the crazy punch lines and doing mixtape after mixtape with 50 Cent and Tony Yayo, before it was G-Unit it was originally the 134 All-Stars which was the birth of it all, Banks was hungry at the age of 17/18, one of the highlights from the tape was his freestyle over Dr. Dre's Still D.R.E, after that it was mixtape after mixtape with DJ Whoo Kid hosting, the G-Unit Radio series took off and Banks was killing everything, he even started his own volume of tapes titled The Money In the Bank series, this was Banks in rare form with the punch lines. When 50 dropped Get Rich or Die Tryin’ he could have easily released another album with the insane amount of momentum he had, but he introduced the listeners to the rest of the G-Unit which was the best that could happen to them all, Beg For Mercy dropped in November 2003 and yes it is a classic, that album had everything on there and it felt like a G-Unit mixtape. In 2004 Banks releases The Hunger For More which ended up going 2x platinum and he kept giving his fans mixtapes. 2005 was the year Lloyd Banks was supposed to release his 2nd LP titled The Big Withdraw, which never came out due to losing it over a chick's crib and somehow it leaked so Banks had to scrap the album and hit the restart button. The Big Withdraw wasn't bad at all, but if you compare it to the 2006 release of Rotten Apple, it doesn't come close, Rotten Apple was much darker and a better project overall but it didn't receive well to the public due to the leak of Big Withdraw and how long the label was holding out on the album. Around 2007/2008 you can shear something different in Banks rapping wise, the way hip-hop was changing it was time for Banks to switch his style up and become a pure MC the way he is now, verses on mixtapes like Return of The Body Snatchers, Elephant In The Sand and the Terminate On Sight G-Unit album proved that.
Banks started another mixtape series called 5 & Better which featured tapes like Cold Corner, Halloween Havoc, 4-30-09, Return Of The PLK and V5, you could hear the growth in Banks when he was rapping, he wasn't just another punch line that was dying out, Banks rapping ability is crazy you really have to pay attention to a line or it'll fly over your head, and he brought that same energy on the Hunger For More 2 album, out rapping Eminem on Where I'm At, a Kanye West G.O.O.D Friday record in which Kanye tweeted Banks is a top 5 rapper, and other mixtapes throughout the years and even better on recent project this year like the G-Unit Lost Flash Drive mixtape. With Banks potential of becoming an MC is very high, now he's more than just the repetitive punch line rapper, with his rap style now he's right up there with the greats such as Nas, Raekwon etc. he just get the respect he deserves because of times have changed in music. Whenever Banks decides to release another full studio album, I hope we get a chance to hear him and Nas collab on the most rapping track ever, it's long overdue and it should have happened in 2010 when Kanye did Good Fridays, I also want Banks to show out with producers such as Hi-Tek (again), Dr. Dre (hopefully), Alchemist, Nascent & QB, J.U.S.T.I.C.E League, and Just Blaze just to name a few, if Banks puts his skills up with those super producers and maybe get a few guest features from today's rappers now such as Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolBoy Q again, J. Cole etc. it's no question he'll have a great project on his hands and will finally be one of the best rappers in the game to “casual listeners.” Two key tracks to listen to from Banks that'll prove to you his pen game is serious is Big Bully and Officer Down, and start listening to his tapes that were released from 2008 till now.