As far as
my physical, I'm a little under the weather. I just came back from the
hospital. I got a little strep throat from traveling.
been on the road a lot lately.
just came back from Los Angeles from shooting the video. I've been going
back and forth like crazy. Other than that, everything is good.
your album, The Rotten Apple, get pushed back?
it as being pushed back, but I was actually forcing the issue because
I wanted people to know I was coming. Realistically, the video wasn't
even shot yet. I wanted to start my mixtape campaign and everything had
to come together. I wanted to pace it out. When you've been gone for two
years, it takes more than two months to convince everyone you're on you're
have to convince 50 and Sha you weren't ready?
a collective. It matters what an artist thinks and you have to have the
preparation. Last time I came out, I had two mixtapes out in the streets.
Things have to be put in the right place. You have to have a certain amount
of radio play and videos because I'm aiming for the stars. The official
album date is October 10.
you going to do with the extra time?
not extra time, now it's enough time. After the premiere of the video,
I'm going to shoot another video. It's going to be on Access Granted.
I'm leaving at the end of the month for a promo tour. There definitely
isn't any time to rest. This is a full-court game. It's going to be non-stop
work until the album actually comes out, and once the album does come
out, I'm going to do shows and do what I do best.
been hard having to wait this long for your sophomore album?
because when you love hip-hop, you want to be out there as much as possible.
On the same token, when you have very successful albums, they last longer.
I just came home from touring. When you have songs out, you can tour the
States and go out of the country and perform in markets that I've never
touched before. I'm just now coming off of that high. From this point
on, my goal is to get the material out. If this album is just as successful
as the first one, I'm going to be touring even longer. I love the music
and I love to be out there and I can't wait to hear the response to this
the response been so far?
I put out
enough for people to have an idea of what to expect for the album. I put
out the first mixtape and I have the next mixtape coming out in the next
couple weeks. That should really prep them. I'm really not into the critics
and the reviews. They didn't make or break me on the first album. I wasn't
really happy with the reviews on the first album. Even though it sold
two-million records, I didn't get my just due. You have a lot of people
in your corner, but a lot of people hate when you say certain things.
That's what keeps me in hip-hop. It's a competitive sport. If it wasn't
for those people, it wouldn't feel so good when you succeed.
there negative reviews for Hunger for More?
told them I was going to do it. People don't give us room to breathe.
The G-Unit movement is one of the biggest movements ever. 50 sold 11-million
records his first time out, the group album sold four-million, and I sold
two-million. They associate us so much as a group that they don't give
us room to breathe as individuals. They looked at it as the whole group
was doing good without looking at how much time I had to put into my project.
I write all of my material and these are all things that people overlooked.
I hate to
bring this up, but look at the Game project. He didn't write his project.
That's the difference. People are going to have a reference to know who
Lloyd Banks is because I wrote every record. I think people overlooked
that part and long sessions in the studio and hitting the studio after
shows and hitting the studio on the tour bus after shows. I should put
it on DVD this time around so they understand the grind and that every
man stands for himself.
you have your whole life to make your first album and no time to make
your second. Is that true?
of the realest things I ever heard. You do have your whole life, but at
the same time, you can't get your whole life out in sixty minutes. I was
recording my last album at 21 years-old. I'm 24 years-old now. It's not
that big of a difference, but it is a difference. You grow as an artist
and see different things around the world. I stepped up my wordplay a
lot. The biggest difference now is me having the opportunity to have a
studio in my own house. I have the time to be a perfectionist. The second
album is very well put-together. I was able to sit down and go through
things and I could listen to hear who I should feature. I had the time
to be a perfectionist the way Eminem, Dr. Dre and 50 Cent do. I think
it's a blessing I had so much time to work on this project.
rumor that one of your girlfriends stole your album master and leaked
it online true?
I don't have a girlfriend and I've never had a girlfriend. I've always
had the bachelor lifestyle and I meet a lot of people. I lose all types
of things on the road, from jewelry
I left my ID on a plane last
night. You just have to be careful when you're dealing with more than
one girl at the same time. Before you know it you're out of the city and
you can't find your shit. The songs that leaked out were songs recorded
after the Hunger for More album. The songs were dated but you can't put
a date on them if you've never heard it before. If you had never heard
that music, you would never have a reference for what to expect.
it was a good thing?
a good thing when you can confront it. That type of thing can't break
me. You can only fit about fourteen or fifteen songs on an album, so what
are you going to do with the other thirty? I have a lot of material for
this album, so don't be surprised if some other shit leaks out.
album did over two-million. Have you made any predictions on your sales
for Rotten Apple?
I want to
do good. I'm shooting for the stars. All that matters is what I think
and what my fans think. I don't want to give any numbers because I didn't
give any numbers the first time. I'm ready for the first week and I'm
ready for the second and third week. It's not all about the first week.
It's a very well put-together album from top to bottom. I'll let the music
speak for itself. I'm very good at bragging, but I'll let the music speak
for itself this time.
there's new writers up at The Source, are you going to get the cover?
It's up in
the air. For the people who don't actually know out there, The Source
Magazine had negative influences which is why they had articles coming
out bashing the Unit. They went out of business and they got taken over
by new ownership. That magazine was very important before it was corrupted.
I'm not going to close any doors. I've never done The Source Magazine.
It would be a bonus. We'll see what happens.
are a lot of new artists claiming G-Unit. Who really is G-Unit and who's
just claiming it?
I could speak
on Hot Rod. He's actually from Arizona. He's signed and he's coming out
this year in the fourth-quarter. As far as me, I don't really have any
artists under my wings. I look for talent, but for me to cosign somebody,
I have to have that rush and I haven't found it yet. I'm actually looking
too. When I go on tour, it's going to be a promo tour/talent search. Hopefully
I can find the next Lloyd Banks out there. I'm not going to force anything.
I'd rather take steps around quicksand than steps in quicksand.
have any say in who gets signed to G-Unit Records?
sit down and talk, but ultimately it's 50's decision. He'll give me creative
influence on what I do, but I'll have the main decision on what I do.
When I find who I find, hopefully 50 and Sha will feel the same way about
it. It's always a group effort.
Radio Part 21 going to be the last shots taken at Game?
what seems to amaze me? Sometimes I wonder do people actually read between
the lines? Do people see what's going on? This guy has so many references
to not being street. This guy did Change of Heart. If I did that, my block
would know about it before I even got back. He got a butterfly tattoo
and then he covered it up. These are all inconsistencies. He's shooting
himself. If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything, and
that nigga's falling. It's really a dead issue. If I do address it, I'll
address it on mixtapes. As far as talent goes, just to be honest with
you, I don't really feel it's worth it. He's nowhere near my level. When
he writes his own album and is successful, then I'll consider it. Listen
to his raps. There's really nothing there. He's just giving you the images.
This is the nigga who has been lying to you the past two years.
at that, but also look at how many records he sold while on G-Unit. Was
it a good thing that Game was on G-Unit?
I think it
was a good thing for business, of course. I never clicked with that nigga
from day one. I hate to say it, but real recognize real and I never clicked
with that nigga, so it was just business. At the same time, I'm glad his
ass did get the fuck out. It wouldn't look good if that's my homie and
he's an ex-stripper with a butterfly. That's why he's looking suspect
now, because he wasn't meant to be around a real circle like G-Unit.
guys do more background checks on your next signees?
really, because that shit right there is the last shit somebody would
think. You might hear some shit about somebody having a contract prior
to being signed to you, but who the hell would have thought of that? He's
a weird dude. He has a special situation. He's done some shit that I've
never heard of before. He's the first hip-hop artist to be on Change of
Heart. I don't think we'll see that again.
not going on Blind Date?
If you see me on a TV show, it's going to be Cops.
Spider Loc doing?
is cool. I just saw him in Los Angeles when I was shooting my video. He's
doing good. He's working on his album and he has some bangers together.
Young Buck has his artist coming out under him. There's a lot of things
coming up with the Unit and right now, most importantly, my album is coming
out October 10. As far as features, I got features on there from everybody
to Rakim, Scarface, Musiq Soulchild, of course 50, Buck and Yayo are on
the album. This album is a real good treat and I'm putting New York City
hip-hop on top in '06.
doesn't work with just anybody.
Nah, he doesn't,
and that should tell you right there. He's a legend and it's an honor
for me to collaborate with him. We have a relationship because he was
on Aftermath. It wasn't anything but a phone call. I know New York City
is anticipating that and it's going to be well worth the wait.
it working with Rakim?
I was actually
on the road and I heard him on the record. I had always wanted to do a
record with him and Biggie, God bless the Dead. They sent the record back
and it is what it is. It's called "You Know the Deal." It's
bananas. It just says "New York City" when you hear it. I just
hope people embrace it. Not too many people get the stamp of approval
from Rakim and I'm just happy he was able to make the album.
seem to do a lot of your tracks on the road and in your own studios. Does
not having the producer present hurt the records?
what? I'd be lying to you if I said I ever sat down with a producer. In
my four years, I've never ever sat down with a producer to make a record.
You would have to have a taste of something to miss it. Hopefully I can
get in the studio sometime in the future. I'm real creative and I know
how to do everything but make the damn beats. I don't have an A&R
to pick my beats and I write all my own music. With all the big producers,
it's hard to schedule everything. I promote and I work hard. I may not
have the time to fly out somewhere and sit in the studio to make a record.
They can have their creative input on the record. Maybe in the future
we can actually sit down and do tracks together.
a rumor the track "Death Wish" is killing Fat Joe and Jadakiss.
Can you talk about that record?
this from watching other artists. Sometimes when you sit back and wait,
the anticipation builds up. I didn't go into the studio saying I was going
to make a record about them. Sometimes people hear one line and can take
that and say it is what you heard. It is what it is. When I take jabs
they feel like uppercuts. I want to keep those disses on the mixtape market
because that's where it started. I don't want all these diss tracks on
my album. I don't think I want to take those monkeys all around the world.
At the same time, I don't want people to say I did it because I was talking
about this and that and because I have big-name producers. At the end
of the day, it's about the music, but there will be some effects after
they hear the record.
Lox or Fat Joe respond again, will you fire back?
of like I'm talking to the fans. I'm not making records for them dudes.
I didn't know them before they popped and I don't know them now. Outside
of Jadakiss, I never even met none of them dudes. It is what it is. They're
on their way out. Once you go to Koch Records, you might as well close
the casket, and that's where they're at. For the fans who don't know,
they're on their way out of hip-hop. They tried to take shots and they
did it to themselves. At the end of the day, I don't forgive or forget.
One way or another you're going to hear my issues whether I want to take
them worldwide or address them on the mixtapes.
and beefs go hand-in-hand almost from day one. Have the beefs been good
for G-Unit or has it taken away from the music?
I think it
was good for their music. There are certain things you just don't give
up because you rap. I'm not going to give up my self-respect. I don't
care if we got a nine-to-five or we're entertainers. I think it was hard
for them to get over it because they're so frustrated and they're focused
on us. They pay so much attention to us that all their records were talking
about us. There's a difference when somebody gets on a record and says
fictional stuff. We said all facts. It's hard for them to get over that
hurdle and the quality's been there since day one. I'm not out there making
songs about them and I'm not out there promoting them. The people want
to hear it though because they know there's more to be said.
you feel about how Mobb Deep's Blood Money came out and how it did at
I feel like
the album is fucking hot. I don't understand how people could say it's
not hot. At the same time, hip-hop changes and it's their first project
on G-Unit Records. I think it's a first-time thing because there's not
a reference to that before. At the end of the day, the wind blows everything
and everyone has their time to eat. The music is quality and that's all
going on with MOP right now?
MOP is finishing
up as we speak and you can be expecting them real soon. I'm trying to
lock them in the studio to get on my record. You can expect that in the
near-future as well as Buck.
doing as well for you as you wanted it to?
as far as records spins, is doing very well and there's a million listeners
on the internet right now. It was the number-one downloaded song on the
internet at one point. I just shot the video for that as well as one for
"Hands Up." I'm trying to hit them with the twin blow real quick
and I'm going to hit them with another single and video before the album
Banks is about to be everywhere.
period. I'm back on the streets with my mixtape and I have the commercial
attention from the singles. This is it. I've been waiting for this time.
I'm going to make the records I want to do so I'm going to be coming out
of my pocket paying for certain visuals that I want out there. I'm going
to flood the market and I'm not listening to nobody. I don't believe in
oversaturation. If the music is there and the quality is behind it, there's
no such thing as oversaturation.
This is my
year, period. This is my year just based off the quality of the album
and where I'm taking it. I'm going to stand alone anyway. That's what
hip-hop is about anyway. It's about staying relevant. A lot of artists
have been crying about where the music is going. That's not what LL Cool
J or Jay-Z did. They just staying relevant. Expect hip-hop to change with
the times. If hip-hop stays the same, you're never going to elevate. I
need to know how to do a lot of things. I'm versatile. All hip-hop music
is good at the end of the day because it's opening new markets and allowing
people to be financially straight in hip-hop.
of people talk about how bad New York hip-hop is. It's got to be frustrating
to hear that based on what you and the Unit is accomplishing.
right. That shit frustrates me because I feel like they should be saying
some names. Don't just say "New York City hip-hop." In the last
two years, we've generated 28-million records sold. When you say "New
York City hip-hop," who are you talking about? Tell everyone else
to step their shit up. I have one album out and it sold two-million worldwide.
Give me a chance to fuck up first before you say I fell off. That's the
only thing that frustrates me. Say names. Say who you're disappointed
the people who are saying that are frustrated. I'm going to do my part
though, man. I'm not going to bring any lollipop records. I'm trying to
make people step their pen game up and go back to the lyrics. That's why
you hear those verses you hear on my first single. Those are mixtape-type
verses. That's what's missing in hip-hop. I feel like people needed to
have a chance to press rewind for a minute. That's what I'm trying to
ever hard balancing your street records with the radio singles?
I guess it
would be to some people, but I feel like I'm well-rounded when it comes
to music. I know how to make hard street records. I make those in my sleep.
I know how to make the club records like "On Fire" and I know
how to make records catered to the females. I can do stories and concepts.
I can do it all. I'm going to show that on the album. It's about being
versatile. They say the gangsters are running hip-hop, then they say the
happy music is running hip-hop, and then they say the down south music
is running hip-hop. It just goes wherever the wind takes it. I just want
to keep up in between everything.
of kids look up to you. What advice do you have for kids coming up in
believe in yourself. Number two, don't rush to sign anything. There are
a lot of artists out there who are desperate. The biggest and probably
the most important thing I did was be patient. I had labels knocking at
my door before the Unit. That could have been good but it could have been
a mistake. And if you're 16, trust me, your music is not going to sound
the same when you're 21. You don't want to have music you recorded under
a prior contract coming out and sounding dated after you switch labels.
Just be patient and you're going to know when you're ready before anybody
else does. Don't be in denial. That's the biggest thing. That was the
most important thing for me. Now I'm signed to a major, Interscope Records,
and I don't have to worry about Mojo Records coming out and putting their
shit out the same week my shit comes out. Just be patient.
you feel about the mixtape game and how every artist is doing mixtapes
up. It takes me back to last summer when they told me we were oversaturating
the market. I said, Cool. I hit the road and gave a little room for the
new cats to breathe. You know what they're telling me now? The mixtape
market isn't the same. I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so!
Now I'm going to go right back to the roots and I'm putting out my mixtapes
every month like the original process. Rest in Peace to Justo. I won the
Mixtape Artist of the Year before and I'm going to win some kind of trophy
again this year because I'm going hard in the street. I gave people a
chance to eat and now it's time for the Punchline King to take back over.
That's where I have fun, man, the stage and the mixtapes.
you feel about the young guys coming up like the Saigon's and Papoose's?
I don't want
to be biased. I have to hear more than one reference before I say, They're
the next one. I have enough to prove myself. I still have my own hurdles.
I tip my hat to all the new artists participating in the next generation
of New York City hip-hop. When I hear it, I'll let you know.
see Lloyd Banks behind a desk someday?
I just want people to grow with me. That's all I ask for. I think sometimes
expectations are so high based on the entirety of the group. People see
clothes, movies, books and all that and sometimes they forget the work
that goes into it. I'd rather be a key player on a winning team than Kobe
Bryant on the losing team. That's the whole thing. It's about the family.
If opportunities knock, I'm definitely going to take them, but I'm not
going to be the CEO with a bunch of wack-ass artists. I'd rather wait
three or four years for one artist than spend millions on three or four
bums. I got two award nominations for my Dope film and I have offers on
the table and I'm trying to conquer that scene. I have a few more albums
easily. I want to clear my hurdles first before I worry about somebody
take us through an average day in the life of Lloyd Banks?
There are so many days that it's hard for me to go back. I'll just give
you my yesterday. My day started at 8 in the morning with getting prepped
for the video, and then you shoot 'til 4:30 in the morning. Then you have
to get up and do press all day, get on a damn plane from LA back to New
York, then wake up. I've been up today since 9 doing press. At the end
of the day, there are a lot of people who wish they had that schedule
so I can't complain. I'll sleep when I'm dead.
you want to say to everybody?
Put your seatbelt on. This right here is what they've been waiting on.
I'm a student of hip-hop. I still get out there and still get the mixtapes
whenever I get the chance to and I'm satisfied knowing what a hit record
sounds like. You can definitely expect to hear a few more coming out of
me. I'm just getting started. I definitely want to send my appreciation
to my fans for putting me where I'm at. Hunger for More was overlooked
but it still sold two-million and is still climbing, so it was a success,
and I hope to double up this time around. You can catch me out there in
the littlest, grimy clubs to the big arenas from September to next September.
Just lock and load. I'm going to be through every hood and I'm definitely