By Alvin Blanco
No disrespect to turkey day, but for G-Unit rapper Lloyd Banks November means Independence Day, er, month.
After leaving Interscope Records last year, Banks dropped a heater of a single in “Beamer, Benz, or Bentley” at the top of 2010, setting the stage for the release of his new album, The Hunger For More 2, which hit shelves on Monday (November 22). HFM2 is Banks’ first album since 2006’s tepidly received Rotten Apple, but don’t call it a comeback.
“It’s funny, because Banks hasn’t actually gone anywhere,” says Steven Horowitz, an Assistant Editor at YRB Magazine. “But his success and re-sparked buzz is really rooted in his ability to hustle. It says something for an artist to independently fund his own record, blow it up and parlay the momentum into subsequent tracks. Heads were paying attention, and though it was the same witty, lyrical Banks, it reminded listeners what he was capable of offering. Banks basically played the rap game like a game of chess and backed it up with quality product.”
Though the Queens MC is now an independent artist—the G-Unit Records release is distributed by EMI—his album is stocked with as much talent as any major label release. Names like Raekwon, Fabolous, Juelz Santana and Jeremih pepper the album’s list of guests. With 50 Cent bankrolling the project, as he recently told MTV News, Blue Hefner sounds rejuvenated on the sequel to his debut, The Hunger For More.
“Banks takes a page from Raekwon’s book in proving that EMI can turn careers around with sequel albums and hands-off A&Rs,” says Jake Paine, Editor in Chief of HipHopDX. “Although HFM2 is way too guest heavy, for the first time in his career, Lambo Lloyd doesn’t need 50 or Dre to sell an album.”
50’s participation on the project is minimal—he performs the chorus on “Payback (P’s and Q’s)”—and Banks asserts himself on the project enough that the G-Unit boss is not missed. Ironically, EMI, the album’s distributor, is also home to an old 50 Cent, and in turn G-Unit, nemesis.
“I think we can all remember the time when G-Unit ridiculed Fat Joe and every other artist for joining forces with an indie but as fate would have it, it doesn’t seem like a major label could do anything more for their already established brand,” says Trent “TC” Clark, Managing Editor of TheSmokingSection. “So not only is it the smart move, it’s probably the most sound one.”
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