NEW YORK — Lloyd Banks said he wasn't deeply touched by the original version of "We Are the World" when it came out in 1985; the Southside Queens native was just barely 2 years old when the star-studded charity record debuted. So, understandably, Banks said he has no problem with the record being remade.
"To be honest with you, I'm very aware of the record and how big the record was," he said Wednesday afternoon at the G-Unit office. "But I was so young at the time, it really doesn't affect me the way it would affect an older rapper. They might have completely understood what the record was. It doesn't disappoint me they had rap in it now. It's kids out there that never heard the record to begin with. I can't say they messed the record up. If anything, they brought it to a new audience.
"Michael Jackson was a phenomenal artist. It will never be another one of those guys," Banks added. "So anything would have not topped [the original version]. You could have anybody sing on that. But it was a good look. It was for a good cause."
Jay-Z, meanwhile, told MTV News that the original was "untouchable" and was surprised that it was remade.
Banks found out about the tragic earthquake in Haiti when he was released from jail in Canada and came back home to the U.S. The G-Unit rapper was arrested for assault and robbery last month after an alleged dispute with a concert promoter.
"Actually, when I had first came back from jail, I seen that," he explained. "It was the first thing I saw in the airport. It really bothered me. People was sending me stuff through the phone; [pictures] of people lined up dead. It really bothered me. From that point on, I was like, 'Whatever I could do [to help], I'll be there. A concert or whatever.' I have a lot of close friends that are Haitian, including Sha Money XL, Tony Yayo, Whoo Kid and some of my guys from the street. It's like, 'Damn, they got family members they still haven't heard from to this day.' I wouldn't know what I would do in that situation. My heart goes out to all those people who lost somebody."