After being heard by 9 million fans of 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks needs little introduction. AllHipHops Jigsaw talked to 50s 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 git-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.
Its kinda hard to be shocked or surprised when the nigga is telling you everything that is going to happen step by step. Hes 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: Thats when I hold the ball. Its all up to me. Even the Beg For Mercy album, thats going to be considered 50 Cents second album. As far as 50, he aint 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 dont have enough material. Thats why a joint like Magic Stick can go on Kims album. It was for his album. At this point I got 26-27 records Im deep into my solo album. My album got to be turned in by February. By then, Im 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 didnt have to put me in the situation that Im 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 dont get big heads. I hear that a lot but thats just because in hip-hop you got different parts, you got the backpack rappers, theres different parts to hip-hop. Im considered a lyricist but at the same time when you say Lloyd Banks is hot your saying 50 is hot because Im signed to 50 Cent. What people dont 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 hes like, Im that nigga. So thats why Im coming out so fast my album is coming out March 9th.
AllHipHop: Whats the title?
Lloyd Banks: Aw man, I can give that up, but whatever it is its going to be surrounded by money. I cant 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: Its crazy when I made my decision to take the rap thing seriously, if it wasnt for 50 I probably wouldnt 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 whos really your friends? Or whos around because youre 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. Im going to be in the game with somebody Im going to take a bullet for and vice versa. Thats why it amuses me when you do this rap [battle] thing and Im like thats cool and all that but 50 is too big right now to jeopardize anything. Me Im like I still got to solidify my spot but Im 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 Im not saying that I want to go but I wouldnt 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 thats not going to become anything.
AllHipHop: What were the conditions around you getting shot?
Lloyd Banks: My situation was kind of different [than 50s]; I wasnt really a night person like partys 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. Thats 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 wasnt 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 yall 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 its 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 aint what you say its how you say it, He stood out to me and I told him that night son youre serious! A lot of artists are taking for a joke in hip-hop you know, they saying things like Right Thurr! [Referering to Chingy] Hes like probably one of the biggest lyricist thats 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 wasnt for Buck I wouldnt know whats 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 Jas Jehovah Witness upbringing] Ive 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 couldnt afford the sneakers and had to give them back. So when hes on there crying over that Im like, Are you serious? He goes with the ice grill screwing his face up and Im like you talking to Louis Farrakhan who are you looking at like that? Im 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 yall be willing to do that?
Lloyd Banks: Well never be friends. I dont 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 were 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 didnt start in the public eye, why try to squash it in the public eye? Thats my take on it, and its 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 aint listen to that. I saw the album cover though. O my god, is he serious? Did you see the cover?
AllHipHop: Yea, its kind of like a cartoon.
Lloyd Banks: Its a cartoon, he got like a little funny haircut hes skinny his head is huge, I aint get that one. He got a shackle on his ankle.
When is the rest of Murder Inc coming out?
AllHipHop: I couldnt 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 yall got beef with Joe Budden?
Lloyd Banks: The thing is I read a magazine and he said if 50 Cent says his name then hes 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, [Buddens] 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 youre creating it. Even at this point Im not going to say nothing, Im 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. Im slowing down though you know, Im chilling.
AllHipHop: Why you chilling? You are only 21!?
Lloyd Banks: You are right but I have to focus, Ive been through that. 50 takes us everywhere, I mean everywhere, every show, all over seas, Ive been everywhere. So whoever Im meeting, Im 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 Im 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 Im like man I done had her already. Im not that kind of guy anyway Im laidback.
AllHipHop: Anybody ever tell you, you look like Craig David?
Lloyd Banks: God damn, you know how much I hear that sh*t. The only time I agree with it is when Im in London when they run up on me, I be like yeah baby. I dont care naw mean.
AllHipHop: So they be mistaking you for him?
Lloyd Banks: Oh all the time. Im like man this dude looks nothing like me. [Hes going to] make me start hating my face.