Lloyd Banks: A Friend Like Me

After being heard by 9 million fans of 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks needs little introduction. AllHipHop’s Jigsaw talked to 50’s chief lyrical machine gun. The conversation went as follows: AllHipHop: When you hooked up with 50 Cent did you know that it was going to be this big – like this? Lloyd Banks: I did. […]

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After being heard by 9 million fans of 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks needs little introduction. AllHipHop’s Jigsaw talked to 50’s chief lyrical machine gun. The conversation went as follows:

AllHipHop: When you hooked up with 50 Cent did you know that it was going to be this big – like this?

Lloyd Banks: I did. Even from the g##-go. He told me his whole approach of what he was going to do. He had a list of DJs, of like 60-70 DJs and their contacts. He told me he was gonna call all of them. He told me what his plan was. The next day, he was on the phone talking to all of them – Kay Slay, Whoo Kid, Cut Master C. Before you knew it, he told me, we was going to be on every mixtape.

It’s kinda hard to be shocked or surprised when the n#### is telling you everything that is going to happen step by step. He’s telling, “Yo, you are going to get a buzz [if] you keep performing like this. They are going to start seeing that you are hot.” Then everything started happening. I think I will be more shocked when my solo stuff starts happening.

AllHipHop: Why do you say that?

Lloyd Banks: That’s when I hold the ball. It’s all up to me. Even the Beg For Mercy album, that’s going to be considered 50 Cent’s second album. As far as 50, he ain’t been wrong yet.

AllHipHop: How hard to you think its going to be for you to establish an identity away from 50 and G-Unit?

Lloyd Banks: Just as hard as it is to shoot a gun. We work so much, we work so hard…they ask me about the pressure. You only feel pressure when you don’t have enough material. That’s why a joint like “Magic Stick” can go on Kim’s album. It was for his album. At this point I got 26-27 records – I’m deep into my solo album. My album got to be turned in by February. By then, I’m going to have about 40 records.

AllHipHop: You have a reputation of being a better mc than 50. Even 50 has admitted that. Is that a good thing? I mean it is a good thing but sometimes it can be flipped.

Lloyd Banks: I mean as far as that, 50 and me got a different kind of relationship, 50 is like my big brother. He didn’t have to put me in the situation that I’m in; He could have easily gone on in the game as 50 Cent. And Lloyd Banks Would have ended up with God knows who or went to jail or even worse. So being in my position you don’t get big heads. I hear that a lot but that’s just because in hip-hop you got different parts, you got the backpack rappers, there’s different parts to hip-hop. I’m considered a lyricist but at the same time when you say Lloyd Banks is hot your saying 50 is hot because I’m signed to 50 Cent. What people don’t know is that he goes on cloud nine when he hear that sh*t, remember when Jay-z was saying “This a dude at home with the cereal box, trying to take my spot?” He feels good cause he’s like, “I’m that n####”. So that’s why I’m coming out so fast my album is coming out March 9th.

AllHipHop: What’s the title?

Lloyd Banks: Aw man, I can give that up, but whatever it is it’s going to be surrounded by money. I can’t use “money in the bank” because I used that for my mix tapes already.

AllHipHop: There was a little rumor that you and 50 had beef and you might bounce from the group. Any truth to that?

Lloyd Banks: It’s crazy when I made my decision to take the rap thing seriously, if it wasn’t for 50 I probably wouldn’t have joined with anybody else if I got in the rap game it would have been on my own. 50 been shot up, I was shot. When you get shot certain things change you start saying “who’s really your friends?” Or who’s around because you’re a good person to be around? So them people might not stay around that long. They might stay around long enough to shake hands but…

We started seeing a lot of sh*t going on and we had a lot of similarities so when I made that decision to get with 50 in the game it was more like you know what “sh*t happens in this game”. I’m going to be in the game with somebody I’m going to take a bullet for and vice versa. That’s why it amuses me when you do this rap [battle] thing and I’m like that’s cool and all that but…50 is too big right now to jeopardize anything. Me I’m like I still got to solidify my spot but I’m still at the point where I will jump out the window. 50 got my situation secure, he got my family straight. 50 got my family straight, and I’m not saying that I want to go but I wouldn’t have a problem jeopardizing that right now. My whole thing for doing this was to make my family straight, because I could have been back in the street and been locked up for somebody that’s not going to become anything.

AllHipHop: What were the conditions around you getting shot?

Lloyd Banks: My situation was kind of different [than 50’s]; I wasn’t really a night person like party’s and all that, when I went to parties I was one of the people you had to watch out for. My mentality is still that way. Like standing outside of a club in Queens, you either wanted to get arrested, waiting for a b**ch, or waiting to get shot or you waiting to shoot somebody. That’s the only options you have standing outside a club, especially a local club in your neighborhood. At that particular night it was chaos like 10, 12 guns going off at the same time. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, I got shot in my stomach, and I was grazed in my back. I actually ran all the way to the hospital, it wasn’t a situation where I was on the floor and all that. I actually had a conversation with 50 a couple of nights before that.

AllHipHop: How does Yayo not being on the album effect the album, because chemistry with ya’ll three was crazy.

Lloyd Banks: Yayo and me grew up on the same block, Yayo was the one who really inspired me, and he was my drive. I stay on my job now, but when he comes home… it’s a wrap.

AllHipHop: Tell me about Young Buck because he kind of came out of nowhere.

Lloyd Banks: When we did the first mix tape…Buck stood out, sometimes it ain’t what you say it’s how you say it, He stood out to me and I told him that night son…you’re serious! A lot of artists are taking for a joke in hip-hop you know, they saying things like…”Right Thurr!” [Referering to Chingy] He’s like probably one of the biggest lyricist that’s out. We kept in contact; Yayo got locked up but even if Yayo was still here Buck would have still been apart of G-Unit. It just looked that way because Yayo had left. If it wasn’t for Buck I wouldn’t know what’s popping’ in Tennessee and all that.

AllHipHop: Ja Rule just got on BET with Minister Farrakhan to air it all out. What are your views on that?

Lloyd Banks: [Referring to Ja’s Jehovah Witness upbringing] I’ve had birthdays where I got stuff, and I wore em the next day, the next day they were gone why? Because my father bought stuff to make me happy but he really couldn’t afford the sneakers and had to give them back. So when he’s on there crying over that I’m like, “Are you serious?” He goes with the ice grill screwing his face up and I’m like you talking to Louis Farrakhan who are you looking at like that? I’m like “You know what? He doing that for the camera.”

AllHipHop: Suppose Ja and Murder Inc wanted to do a behind-closed-doors peace talk, not in the open. Would ya’ll be willing to do that?

Lloyd Banks: We’ll never be friends. I don’t think that will take place because there is nothing to talk about, I been in these meetings where they did everything in there power to stop 50 from getting a record deal. They were telling people if you played his records we’re not going to give you no records. My whole take on it is, Farrakhan, in my household, is respected in the utmost but my thing is if the beef didn’t start in the public eye, why try to squash it in the public eye? That’s my take on it, and it’s like how you going to squash it when your record comes out the next day and you got over 10 references to us.

AllHipHop: Have you listened to the album?

Lloyd Banks: Hell no I ain’t listen to that. I saw the album cover though. O my god, is he serious? Did you see the cover?

AllHipHop: Yea, it’s kind of like a cartoon.

Lloyd Banks: It’s a cartoon, he got like a little funny haircut he’s skinny his head is huge, I ain’t get that one. He got a shackle on his ankle.

When is the rest of Murder Inc coming out?

AllHipHop: I couldn’t answer that.

Lloyd Banks: I got no reason to be mad, I only been in the game for a year now and my album is coming out within a year. They been on that label since 98, 99.

AllHipHop: Any truth to the rumor that ya’ll got beef with Joe Budden?

Lloyd Banks: The thing is I read a magazine and he said if 50 Cent says his name then he’s going to get at him or something like that. I think he saw the “step his rap game up” in the XXL [and got upset]. And then he went up saying he sold 90,000 records but Juelz sold 70,000. He tries to hide his disappointments behind somebody else. As far as 50, [Budden’s] got to realize 50 is 9 million albums sold worldwide and when stuff like that happens I be like, “Yo 50 chill man cause when destroying a career sometimes you’re creating it.” Even at this point I’m not going to say nothing, I’m not going to say nothing to none of these dudes because I can do nothing but help them.

AllHipHop: What city got the best groupies?

Lloyd Banks: Connecticut! That was actually the first stop off the Roc The Mic tour. Houston, my god! I told 50 we need to get us some boats and ship them down to New York, they are built like horses down there. All through Texas, Texas is ridiculous and ATL too. Boston, Connecticut, Texas, and ATL. I’m slowing down though you know, I’m chilling.

AllHipHop: Why you chilling? You are only 21!?

Lloyd Banks: You are right but I have to focus, I’ve been through that. 50 takes us everywhere, I mean everywhere, every show, all over seas, I’ve been everywhere. So whoever I’m meeting, I’m meeting for the second time. I mean just to have that advantage I kind of got it out of my system already so by the time my solo album comes out I’m going to be totally focused. I had already dealt with the groupie situation. I know it is kind of shocking to the other artists, they see me I’m like man I done had her already. I’m not that kind of guy anyway I’m laidback.

AllHipHop: Anybody ever tell you, you look like Craig David?

Lloyd Banks: G#######, you know how much I hear that sh*t. The only time I agree with it is when I’m in London when they run up on me, I be like yeah baby. I don’t care naw mean.

AllHipHop: So they be mistaking you for him?

Lloyd Banks: Oh all the time. I’m like man this dude looks nothing like me. [He’s going to] make me start hating my face.