something special about Lloyd Banks’
Hunger for More. It was his hunger.
He proved to be mighty with the pen, ready with the clever punch-lines and went
on to showcase a charismatic “playboy” persona, all while making millions. And
while selling records can’t be too much of a negative thing, it can sometimes
diminish hunger. Love’em or hate’em, you couldn’t really front on the
production that backed G-Unit for
their first couple years in the game. With their last couple releases, namely Mobb Deep and Yayo, the sure shot production was a round of blanks.
Banks is here to fend off the
infamous sophomore jinx cliché on Rotten
Apple. He came out the gates equipped with the radio/club single in “Hands
Up.” The romantic angle is covered by the Keri
Hilson-assisted “Help.” Add in a Southern posse cut (“Iceman” Feat. Young Buck, 8Ball and Scarface) and you’ve got the usual G-Unit formula in full effect.
Unfortunately, this time around, it ain’t working. The trite love song “Help”
fails to convince anyone, especially after declaring you “wouldn’t buy a chick a pump who had asthma.” Guests appearances
from Buck, Prodigy, Yayo and 50 are all forgettable performances and
Rakim isn’t even really featured on
the album – his voice is just sampled in the hook.
All in all,
he shows from time to time that he can still get with the multi syllabic rhyme
schemes, which can sometimes balance out the uninventive topics. Hearing about
guns, money and women gets old fast, but hearing his clever use of multis and
punches makes it more intriguing. But it’s pretty clear the hunger is no more
and for the most part he chooses to sleepwalk through song after song.
usually dependable production falls short for most of the album. Both 9th Wonder and Young RJ provide
duds and Ron Browz is greatly
inconsistent. Much like Banks’
rapping, the beats just plod along. It is easy to expect less from some of his
less talented G-Unit brethren, but Banks has shown himself to be capable
of a lot. Minus a few moments where he shines, this album is as rotten as the