Interview with Lloyd Banks

Interview with Lloyd Banks

You are known as a part of G Unit and for your solo work. Do you feel that you work better with other G Unity members or on your own?

To be honest with you I think the biggest project was the Beg for Mercy project, with was me, Tony Yayo and others. That’s what actually opened the doors for all the things that happened, so I would have to say when we are together. Its one thing to have one weapon and it’s another thing to have an alternate.

The themes in your music revolve predominantly around the life in the hood, its struggles and its leisure time. What do you think is the number 1 problem for people from that community?

Number one problem that you are faced with is poverty. It’s not designed to be OK and that’s why it seems that the people who actually get out are the important ones. When in all reality it’s just the way it’s mapped out to be. You see it in all the movies, hear it on all the records, it’s so easy to find what’s negative. If you want to go get drunk you can go get drunk on any corner in my hood. If you want to buy drugs you can buy them on any corner in my hood. Whatever you want it’s so easy to find. And it’s crazy, cause generations go on and it just seems to get more advanced as we go along. So with all the stars. All of that leaks into who are as a person, it makes you who you are. And that’s why when you do make it to the top it’s so strong because you are seeing more than an average individual.

Do you feel that The Big Withdraw would have been a better album then the Rotten Apple?

First of all I never even named it. Whomever named it The Big Withdraw… I don’t know. Maybe that’s what they were looking at. That wasn’t an album. It was just songs that was sporadically just spread out. It was similar to the mixtape material. But realistically? You can’t give people everything on one album. People are looking forward to my 3rd, my 4th and my 5th albums.

Your first album went Platinum quickly, but Rotten Apple did not see as much success. Why do you think that happened?

I don’t know. There are a lot of different reasons why. Nothing stay the same for no period of time. You know music bounces back and forth and to be honest with you, its like a lot of people they always hear the success as eclectic thing. So it’s kind of hard for them to separate individuals. And just the radio networks and TV… I don’t know I guess we just agree to disagree. But the good thing about that is: talent will overshine everything. I have another set this year, the end of 2007, so we’ll see what happens with the next album also.

Last time we spoke you mentioned that you had more time to work on the Rotten Apple as opposed to your previous work. Do you feel that you do your best work on the fly or when having more time to work with it?

You know what? A lot of years of experience goes into that thou. You can be home or on the road and its too many things and you might be saying the same thing it’s too much, so I don’t know you really can’t market as far as that. I guess it’s who you are and what you’re going through at that point in your life. If you write for your personal experiences and others then it could be strong enough for your whole album. A lot of reason why I wasn’t able to act it to the public for a matter of months is my father past away in November. Or that’s the date they gave. It was actually in October right after the album came out, so it’s like everything stops for that, cause there is nothing more important than your parents, not even your music. So it’s kind of hard to be in front of a camera and smile like everything is OK if its not genuinely how you feel.

You gained a very high level of popularity on the mixtape scene. Do you enjoy it better than the studio albums?

Once it has a barcode on it its there forever and it’s pushed to the extreme. You know what I’m saying? So the mixtapes that’s what kind of satisfies me in between the gaps. If you put out an album every year or every two years, that time in-between the albums you need that market. So you stay relevant for people to understand what they can expect from you. a lot of albums talk of overexaggeration and they overexaggerate in the mixtape market, now I’m at the part when this was my formula. So me for all of that reason, for someone else get the shine that I would get, so… From here on out there will be no more of that. I’m gonna stay on the mixtape market like it’s my second job. That’s what actually got me into the position to build the credibility to have

On your last album you had a track with Rakim, who certainly comes from the old school of Hip Hop. Yet, the G Unit mixtape DJ, Whoo Kid, did not think that old school Hip Hop deserves as much credit (Back in the day it was corny raps). What are your personal feelings on the old school/new school Hip Hop mixture?

You can’t really compare ‘cause there’s certain people that’s beyond their time, but the same way as you listen to 2Pac now and it’s like Damn! Like he was so far ahead of his class. A lot of things are advanced. New concepts come in different way to make records, you got new producers, you know, that are pushing the limit, there’s new technology. So you can’t really compare 2007 to ’87. Its completely hard. The tools they were working with are nothing like they tools now. Although that paved the way. Its like in 2017 it’ll be on a whole other level. But I came up on Rakim. I came up on Slick Rick. I came up on Special Ed. So I definitely appreciate them and that’s the reason why I have a record with Rakim on it. You get to the point when, you love Hip Hop, so you making the records that you want to make regardless of how big you’ve become. And you still pay homage to the people who opened the doors for you.

Outside of your G Unit brothers, who are your favorite artists right now?

I like this artist by the name of Rich Boy that’s out right now. He got a hot record, I actually did it on my latest mixtape. I’m kind of feeling that right now. There ain’t too many people out there who amaze me with their words. The reality is more about your flow about the overall song, the music, the hook. The things that excited me they are not there much ‘cause when I came up it was on the mixtape market. So people don’t really have the time to show their song making skills, just to come out and hit somebody with just your rap. My ear’s kind of like to my beats right now I’m looking through a lot more beats than I listen to the radio. I predict Rich Boy has success in 2007.

Talking about other artists outside of G Unit, what are thoughts on Papoose?

He’s cool. Papoose? He’s a cool dude. He’s on his grind. I met Papoose a while ago in the very beginning. He’s opening up now. He has an opportunity to put out an album now. I definitely wish him luck. He’s a part of the new breed coming out of New York City and he has his own voice, he has his voice in Hip Hop.

A lot of people talk about the recent problems with NYC Hip Hop. What do you think is the key to bringing the NY dominance back?

If I had it I sure wouldn’t tell you! (chuckles) I wouldn’t tell you I would tell somebody else. I don’t think it ever went nowhere, I just think that music is gonna be dominant. Like if I go to Seattle right now and I find an artist in Seattle and he blows up to be the biggest thing in 2007 then it’s gonna open the doors for more artists to come out of the Washington area. So you have to give everybody their just due, everybody has their time to shine, everybody deserves their time in the spotlight. Hip Hop started in New York City. Its up to artists to keep creating and bring new things to the table. I think youth would be the overall key to New York City dominance. It’s a lot of new artists coming out and it’s what’s up to them. It’s up to the new faces, the new voices to bring excitement to it. And I still look at myself as a new voice because they only been hearing me for a few years and I got a long career ahead of me. That’s what it is man. Talent. Talent is gonna do it. When people don’t just accept your record because the beat is hot or because of your relations or because you are beefing… Actually when it comes down to the raw talent the real artists will shine. When it comes time I’ll be standing there waiting.

Beef helped a lot of rappers’ careers but also hurt some. What are your thoughts on beef as a part of Hip Hop?

I think it’s a reality. Regardless of what you do, you know what I’m saying? I’ve seen fights start over less. Who can fight the longest. Any sport or any event that’s competitive you gonna have that natural competition. People wanna be number one. Especially in New York City. Everybody is an individual. It could drive you right sometimes and sometimes it could drive you in the wrong direction. Again it’s no different from your obstacles before Hip Hop. Whatever you did. You see the Presidents go at it at re-election time. so everything you have to [stand up for]. Even if you don’t think I’m better than you, I’m the one. People do hurt sometimes through the beef but it’s no different from what happens on the street. I think the biggest mistake is a lot of artists they come out and they portray that image, that they are from the street and then they get into it and think that it’s different. They start saying things that you can’t say when you’re in the street and at the same time they are saying they’re not a rapper, so now you’re confusing me. That’s how altercation happen and that’s why situations happen cause they don’t know how to separate the two. You have to keep that same respect, remember when you’re talking about somebody on the record you still talking about a man. And that man has a family. So if you say something negative about his family, his daughter, his mother, his father… You know what I’m saying? They don’t rap. That’s when you cross the line.

I think when people will sit down and really focus that’s when the Hip Hop will go onto the next level. It’s kind of hard to see where your career is going when you are sitting in studio thinking about somebody else. That’s not really the reason why I got into Hip Hop. I got into Hip Hop for the love of it. But my business is due to the financial situations. I want to make sure that nobody that I care about has a need and that’s where Hip Hop has done it. Don’t jeopardize it. ‘cause when you wake up and just want to rap, there’s people who do it as a job, do it to support their family.

What is the next move for you? Are you working on more mixtapes or a new album or is there something else?

All of the above. I actually just put out a mixtape I believe it was last week of December. It’s titled More Money in the Bank, the Final Chapter. Its named the Final Chapter its kind of capping off what I’ve done for my mixtape series, because the series started before Hunger for More, my first album that came out. 5 mixtapes and my goal is 5 and better, which means simply that I will be doing 5 mixtapes per year just to maintain credibility on that market. I’m also working on my new album that you should expect in the last quarter of 2007. It’s all work. People get it twisted, they start to feel that because you are so successful that you loose your love for the music. It’s been that way that I didn’t wanna do it no more. At the end of the day its music that makes my mind off of everything else, so I just want people to understand it. The media and the critics talk about it, but this came from I was 9 or 10 years old. We have talent is what I’m trying to say. There’s talent behind Lloyd Banks, there’s talent behind everybody on G Unit Records label. There’s definitely gonna be quality music in the future.

What type of a fan is your favorite type of fan? Is it the kids, the people that come from the streets like you is it old school Hip Hop heads?

Its different. Its different. There is a very big difference, you know? With the kids it makes you feel a whole other way because you see where you were when you were they age. It makes you appreciate it in a positive way. So I look at the average negative influence and how it goes into your career and especially the kids that come from where I came from, my neighborhood. It just makes you feel good, because there was a long period of time where I didn’t think it would be this way. When you get the respect. You know what I mean? I’ve seen Slick Rick. I’ve seen Doug E Fresh. I’ve seen a lot of these artists and when I see them they acknowledge me. Its times I’m sitting at the airport, they come tap me on my shoulder, I turn around and it’s Guru. It’s respect. ‘Cause I’ve been watching these dudes before there was even a possibility that I could do it myself, so it balances out. It’s one things to have the respect for the vets, but I love to look to the future ‘cause that’s what’s gonna keep Hip Hop going.

Is there anything that you wanted to add on your own?

I just really want to thanks all my fans for supporting me, for being with me through [different] stages. Just all around support. Really that’s who I owe it to. Those are the people who put me in the position that I’m in right now and I want them to know 2007 will be a big year. There are other things coming out. Young Buck’s project, once again, my next project, mixtapes and I got a movie script I’m reading right now. You never know how the year sum up but I am definitely looking forward to it and I thank my fans!