Banks & Buck: Pop & Politics Pt. 1

Over fifteen years ago, rap deity Dr. Dre helped birth N.W.A., one of the most radically active groups of all time. The Compton-based collective was armed with “street knowledge” and so are their descendents Young Buck and Lloyd of 50 Cent’s G-Unit. N.W.A. and G-Unit’s intellect manifests itself in different ways, but don’t assume these emerging gangstas rappers don’t grasp the world they live in. And the pair talked about this strange reality that never seems to resonate in the jovial alternate universe portrayed on your typical Hip-Hop song. Lloyd, let me ask you this? How old are you now?

Lloyd Banks: 22. You and Buck both fall into the whole war and the government seems to be thinking about bringing the draft back. Do you have any views about going to war personally?

Lloyd Banks: As far as the war goes, like, it was a different war going on where I come from. So it was really hard, for me to really, like…I had knowledge of certain things. But there was the things that I had no choice to see. Things that was in my face with no choice, like the Twin Towers falling and things like that. Certain things I had knowledge of.

Young Buck: I’m not going [to war], straight up. You can put me in jail, forget it. That’s just me. I feel like it’s a war going on everyday [in the street]. A constant war. I lost my best friend and a few other friends last year. That’s the war that I’m concerned about. If I can change my n***as, their lifestyle, that’s a war in itself. That’s a little different than Iraq though. Do you have any opinions on the war in Iraq?

Young Buck: Yeah, I think it’s bulls**t. I think we really fighting over dope and we going over there taking them people’s oil. If dude [George Bush] get into office this year, we might not be here again to be all the way real with the you. I was talking to friends about G-Unit as a strong force in hip-hop and we were asking what if G-Unit suddenly flipped the script and was talking heavy politics in their rhymes?

Young Buck: You getting that from me, man. You gonna get that from me right now, out of this album. My inspiration was the ‘Pac era. I’m 23 years old and I could tell you about all the s**t where I heard the Kool Moe Dee's and the D-Nice's, I could hear it, but I didn’t know what it was. I didn’t understand the music. Pac had me on that politic s**t. You realize some of the s**t that he touched on is s**t that is going on right now today. To me he was a prophet, because he telling you what’s going on right now. We all should just start reading up on politics and paying attention.

Lloyd Banks: If we got political, we’d probably be assassinated. And that’s just being real with you. The message that dead prez puts out there is real strong. Also, they’re not able to get out there in the mass because of the message. Think about what Tupac was saying. The things he was saying is like whoa. It’s a difference if you got Tupac saying it and you got… Afroman saying it. If Afroman says F the police, the police probably would laugh at that. If you got 2Pac saying f**k the police, then it’s like… “f**k the police!” And that could really be enough to make somebody go out and feel that way in their day to day. That’s what it is. I have no intentions of being political. My thing is bettering myself and things for my moms and my brother and everyone else is straight. And then I’ll start thinking about everyone else’s problems. Buck, I’m sure you’re from a real hot bed of political turmoil. You’ve got the Bible Belt and the unfed mouths in the ghetto. What’s life like in Tennessee? Because a lot of people don’t know anything about it, especially on the east side.

Young Buck: You know what? I think that the first thing that come to a city n*gga mind or anybody mind when you say Nashville, Tennessee, is Country music or something Country. But when you get there you realize the Hip-Hop scene overshadows all that sh*t. Period. Point blank. And everything else, it’s like we popping just as much as any other big city would be. We really popping harder than a lot of big cities, you understand? Representing that is real important to the kid. I really wanted to make my album like a Down South [mixed with] everything else, you feel me?

I feel like we covering everything with Banks, 50 and Yayo from the East. Now Game with the West, so representing that South is really important. I worked with a few producers from the South like Lil Jon, DJ Paul, to add that true dirty sound. You’ll probably get more Southern features out of this record than you will any G-Unit record. I got Lil Flip, David Banner, Stat Quo, a cat I’m bringing to the table from my city, another Young Buck, his name is D-Tay, T.I., Ludacris, as well as everybody in the family, in the G-Unit, and Snoop and DPG. So you get a lot of features in this record, but you get a lot of Buck. I know it be a lot of albums where it’s a lot of features and damn near the features make the record. So I really stretched my s**t out so they could feel me and they feel them, too.