Name: Lloyd Banks
Mixtape: Best of Lloyd Banks
Hometown: Queens, New York
Joints to check for: “What Goes Around,” “Gangsta” featuring Ludacris, “Order of Protection,” “Banks Workout Pt. 2,” “Porno Star”
Previous mixtapes: Lloyd Banks has starred on all five G-Unit mixtapes
The 411: If you’re one of 50 Cent’s CD-copping disciples, then you should be familiar with the youngest member of the G-Unit, 20-year-old Lloyd Banks (50 is 26, and jailbird Tony Yayo is 24). Besides appearing on all five G-Unit CDs, he also got mic time on Get Rich or Die Tryin’s “Don’t Push Me.”
For those who may have overlooked Banks’ abrasive but humorous punch lines and coarse, bullying tone, Best of Lloyd Banks is a good refresher. This street sampler contains snippets of Banks’ best lyrical displays, such as “Banks Workout Pt. 2,” on which he declares that he raps for “kids that’s too poor to waste eggs on Halloween.”
“Porno Star” is a narrative in which Banks tells about a good girl with aspirations of college but whose life goes downhill when she becomes promiscuous and takes up stripping. “Something like a princess gone wrong,” he analyzes. “Used to be a ballerina, now she performs to the ’Thong Song.’ ”
On “What Goes Around,” which officially appears on DJ Envy’s The Desert Storm Mixtape: Blok Party Vol. 1, Lloyd slings salvos at the Murder Inc. family, chastising Ja Rule for allegedly getting robbed and putting “a crackhead” on one of his singles. He also jokes that Ashanti has thicker sideburns than he does.
“I got the call for that the night before we did it,” remembered Banks, who grew up across the street from Yayo and around the corner from 50. “I had to find the beat. I laid the record down on the deadline. They midnight-expressed that, sent it right to [DJ] Clue and Envy. I wrote the record in a half-hour, tops.”
Thirty minutes may seem like little time to pen a banger, but the Queens native said it was a longer timeframe than he’s used to.
“As far as the G-Unit [songs], that comes like I’m writing a freestyle,” he said. “When we come together, between all of us, it ain’t gonna take no longer than 20 minutes to write a record. We can get three or four done [in a session].”
The G-Unit CDs have become legendary in the streets, and Banks said that once Yayo gets out of jail (everyone can put away their “Free Yayo” T-shirts in late August or early September, he said), they’ll be ready to roll out an official G-Unit album. By the time that record drops, though, fans may have already heard a Banks solo LP.
“When Yayo got locked up, it forced me to think about a Banks solo [album] because he wouldn’t be there to finish up the G-Unit album [until he got out],” Banks said. “It kinda altered the whole situation. Instead of 16 [bars] I was back to writing 48. Instead of one verse, I gotta knock out all three by myself. It was kind of an adjustment, but I’m working on both projects.”
As for which album he thinks will drop first, Banks said, “It depends on the demand. If Yayo comes home in time, then I don’t have to rush. I think it would be better if we do the G-Unit project [first]. That will set them up for me and Yayo’s solo albums.”
For a full-length feature on mixtape culture and the role of mixtapes in making a rapper’s career, check out “Mixtapes: The Other Music Industry.”
For other artists featured in Mixtape Mondays, check out Mixtape Mondays Headlines.