This Week's Main Pick
Street Kings: Lloyd Banks and DJ Whoo Kid
Holding It Down For: The G-Unit
Real Spit: Two days before we were originally supposed to shoot the Lloyd Banks Mixtape Daily segment, the G-Unit rapper was arrested in Canada on assault charges. While waiting on his trial, Banks has bounced back with the hit single "Beamer, Benz or Bentley" with Juelz Santana.
The entire G-Unit is currently on a two-month European tour, but their youngest member left a gift for the streets on the Net. Yes, we got Banks in front of the cameras to perform a record from the mixtape for the first time.
Banks started his latest round of mixtape rampaging toward the end of 2008. The onetime Mixtape Artist of the Year at the Justo Awards said he had to get his spot back.
"Just reflecting back in the studio," Banks said of his underground assault. "Just going back. People always say, 'Go back to your first album,' I went back further than that. All the success came from [my early mixtapes] Money in the Bank, Money in the Bank Part 2 all the way to Part 4. I was like, 'You know what? I did that in a matter of two years.' I said, 'I'mma do what I did in two years in one.' I did Return of the P.L.K.; that came out in September . I went from that to Halloween Havoc; it came out in Halloween. Cold Corner came out in December . Then it was 4-30-82 [last spring]. Then V5 [in December].
"By the time I got to V5, it was a good five or six months between tapes," he added. "I didn't plan it like that. I just never stopped recording and touring. By the time V5 came, I felt a little pressure. I told them it was gonna get better every time. I think people embraced it."
Banks' official album is due later this year. It will come out independently.
"I'm aiming towards summer," Lloyd said of the release. "Mid-summer, late summer. I won't drop an album until I feel the buzz. You know, as an artist, when you feel it. I'm working independent. Everything they've heard the past year has come out my basement, including 'Beamer, Benz or Bentley.' When you first come on as a new artist and you hot and you got a buzz, you could sell doo-doo on a stick. The label makes you feel like they did it, when they just called their boy and dropped the record off.
"Now it boost my confidence when I know I can make a record in my crib, send it out and receive finances from it," he added. "Whenever it's through iTunes or whatever other outlet you have, I'm happy with it. I'm not gonna rush it, though. If it came out after this year, it wouldn't matter to me, as long as it's the product people expect."
Joints to Check For
» "Power Back" "I was in the zone when I wrote that record," Banks described. "It was actually a typo [on the track listing]. It was supposed to be 'Power Pack.' You know what the power pack is, people. That's the vein I was in. I was reflecting. It was real rap. It wasn't about having the best punch line. I wrote the record for me, and it was real things said in it. I really had a homie that was well on his way as far as basketball goes. He went to college, and somebody slipped him something [in his drink]. He ain't been the same ever since. It was more a record for me and the people I grew up around. Every city has something that reminds you of yours. I like tracks with music," he added about the soulful soundscape. "Tracks with things going on."
» "Rather Be Me." "My record is gonna sound like that. How it's put together from top to bottom and ends like a movie," the Punch Line King said. "That's the route I wanna take my album. 'Rather Be Me,' is a deep record. It's one of the joints. I didn't let nobody hear it when I was recording it. I was in the zone. It felt like a movie to me. It's crazy, because a lot of people think I'm talking to somebody in particular, but it's not. It's talking to anybody that's a coward. If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything. When you hear the little funny things like, 'Banks doesn't want to be G-Unit.' N---a, I am G-Unit. This [tattoo] been right here on my hand. Before anybody was signed, it was me, Tony Yayo and 50 Cent. To take that away from me is like taking away my legacy, to a certain extent. We worked too hard for somebody to tell me to drop my G-Unit."
» "We Remain." " 'Chronic, Fiji and a brand-new Lamborghini. When you see me, it's a half a mill easy,' " Banks raps. "Rap needs me. That was me just going. It was a record that wasn't necessarily recorded for the mixtape. I felt I needed that, where it was a full, long verse, a bridge. That's as gutter as it gets. That's one of the first songs I recorded for V5. It set the tone. The 'Green Day' record, 'Southside in the House,' all those records were spawned from that record. It's just dark, man. You could see yourself in your neighborhood, and it's me reflecting. I still come back to this neighborhood where my friends still stay. To go from success to being doubted to having success all over again, I feel like the underdog and that the streets are behind me."
For other artists featured in Mixtape Daily, check out Mixtape Daily Headlines.