Lloyd Banks sophomore album Rotten Album was released in 2006, after his planned 2nd release was leaked and is now floating around the internet as an unreleased album. This would lead me to believe that this album was either the throwaway tracks from that album or something that was rushed and slapped together to get something out. Listening to the album though, it’s hard to believe either of these to be true.
The production from the album comes from G-Unit regulars Sha Money XL, Ron Browz & Eminem, as well as Needlz, 9th Wonder and a few others. Overall, the production quality is what was expected from G-Unit at the time of it’s release. Banging, grimy beats, perfect for Banks’ raspy delivery.
The album has features from all the G-Unit members at the time besides The Game, as well as Mobb Deep, Musiq Soulchild, Keri Hilson and, surprisingly, Scarface & Memphis’ own 8Ball, half of the legendary duo with MJG. There is even a Rakim feature for all the people chastising the G-Unit family for not being “real hip hop”. All the featured artists deliver, but it’s really Banks’ album, and you can tell he was focused owning it.
Lloyd Banks is, in my own opinion, how a rapper should be. He has a raspy voice that commands attention, a flawless flow, and punchline usage that doesn’t overwhelm the listener. He can tell a story, or brag about what he has and sounds at home doing either. Playboy 2 is nearly all brag rap over a pounding beat provided by Ron Browz (who also made Nas’ Ether, which he will never let us forget by calling himself “Etherboy” on every track he has touched since) while The Cake is (obviously) an ode to money with G-Unit leader 50 Cent. The sample in the beat perfectly complements Banks’ and 50’s verses making this one of my favorite songs on the album.
Help and Addicted are the crossover R&B tracks that Banks also has no problem doing. Musiq sings a chorus I really like on Addicted, and Banks speaks on the price of fame and how the lifestyle can be addicting.
There are some songs that most listeners might not enjoy like the southern sounding Iceman. Banks, Young Buck, Scarface & 8Ball deliver a track that would sound right at home on any of the guests albums, but feels out place on Banks’ grimy, New Yorker album. I still enjoy the song, but it breaks up the flow of the album. Hands Up also has a sing songy chorus that could turn people off, and is also probably my least favorite song on the album.
Whether this album was throwaways or just thrown together, or a time crafted labor of love, it sounds great. If you have the “G-Unit isn’t real hip hop” mindstate, I strongly suggest you give this album a listen. If it changes your mind, great. If not, I feel this quote from the album fits nicely:
“Roll down the window, stick my hand out, hi hater!”