"Beamer, Benz or Bentley" is [artist id="1245018"]Lloyd Banks'[/artist] fastest rising single on radio since 2004's "On Fire." DJs haven't just been playing it, they've been testifying on-air about how hot the record is. Banks says his [artist id="1237281"]Juelz Santana[/artist] assisted banger came about while he was penning records for his [article id="1630846"]V5 mixtape[/article], which dropped just before New Year's.
"That was the first CD I wrote all of the material for," Banks said about V5. "All of the other mixtapes was just scattered-around material. 'I'll take those five [songs from there]. I'll take those five.' That momentum led to 'Beamer, Benz or Bentley.'
"I didn't want to just come back with a commercial record that's gonna be worked mainstream," he continued, explaining why he chose to do a mixtape. "The first thing [some of the fans are] gonna do is question you: 'Where have you been?' For some people, this is my first record back, for those that just pay attention to the radio. But for those who follow MTV.com and ThisIs50.com, they know I've been leaving my mark on the Internet scene for the past year."
It was Skull Gang artist John Depp (the Queens rapper, not the movie star) who brought together Juelz and Banks, who happens to be Depp's cousin. "The Juelz feature is something that didn't happen in [the past] because we had two of our own entities," Banks explained. "G-Unit had a lot of our own artists we had to showcase, same with Dipset. I was doing records with Prodigy, Mobb Deep, with everybody. I didn't have to go outside the circle. I was excited about the staff we had there. Now it's time for change."
The resulting collaboration debuted at #76 on this week's Billboard Hot 100.
"To have 'Beamer, Benz or Bentley' added to Hot 97 within three or four days was incredible," Banks said. "That was one mix-show weekend that really came at the right time. I'm so thankful, man. It goes to show as long as you keep striving for what you believe in and your goals, you can make it happen."
Banks said he did feel some of the effects of a G-Unit backlash over the past couple of years, but he thinks that's finally over.
"A lot of the backlash was due to the success of G-Unit," Banks concluded. "People forgot about the talent we possess and just start thinking about all the business moves. ... I wanted to go back to the formula. This is what you respect? You respect rappers? Well, I'mma rap my ass off this year. I'm still in that zone.
" 'Beamer, Benz or Bentley' is just one record. I got another smash on the way with somebody that they probably never thought I would work with," he teased. And he and Santana recorded other material together, including a song currently slated to appear on Juelz's upcoming mixtape The Reagan Era.