CATCH UP...Prepping to release the G-Unit collective's sophomore salvo, Shoot To Kill, Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo reveal some of their targets. AllHipHop.com: Lets address the rumors about the whole G-Unit camp. A
couple of months ago, it seemed like 50 Cent had some issues. There was some
controversy about all yall doin you and the whole G-Unit had a conference
call. From that meeting what came from that?
Tony Yayo: I feel like any ni**a that get money,  just felt like he
needed more support from [us] to be around. Thats anybody. Its hard
being an artist cause you got a lot of stuff you gotta worry about. He
gotta worry about himself and he got a label he gotta worry about. So,
sometimes 50 is crazy and he goes through his things, but him and Banks
is like family. We from the same hood, so theres a difference. I dont
care if ni**as stop talking for a year and a half its business. And
after the business thats where the friendship comes in. You know when
Im with 50 and Im around him, its hard when your friend is your
boss. But you gotta deal with it. You dont use 'em, cause everybody
want him. I feel like people try to use me, cause I got money now. He
feels like people try to use him. 50 feels like people try to use him
for certain things. But right now we back together like a family
supposed to be. Cause me and Banks always talked, but he went through
his thing, like I said. The heart attacks with [Banks] mother, his
father just passed away, its a lot to deal with. Outside media look at
it like they dont know whats going on. But get in our personal life
and see how we live. Hip-Hop Police following us. Like right now, Im
out on bail, baby on the way, Hip-Hop Police follow us everywhere we
go...our lives are movies. If you had a reality show on us there would
be millions of people that would want to watch to see what we got going
on, and why we ride around in bullet-proof vehicles and why we got
bodyguards. You know why I got a bodyguard? So, I wont have to pay
someone $50,000 for punching them in the g**d*** head. Cause that
happened before. Other rappers dont get lawsuits because they dont
Lloyd Banks: Other artists advances are like $250,000. Thats what I
pay in lawyers fees, between me, my ni**as funerals. That sh*t ain't
expected. They are all things that a lot of people ain't dealin with
and we are. Thats why when you make a lot of money and he got 20
people with him, its important. From brothers, to sisters, to cousins,
to third-cousins, to aunts that never said nothing to you Theres a
lot going on. Its the lifestyle that brings on like, B.I.G. said, Mo
Money, mo problems. I wouldnt have expected it. I didnt understand.
When I used to see like [the] whole cast of Different Strokes in jail
your like, Whats wrong with these ni**as? They famous. You dont
understand until you in that limelight. A lot goes on. The music, dont
get it twisted, we could go into the studio today and a monster can
come out with 5 or 6 records so, thats never been a problem, its just
like there was an off switch and now its on.
AllHipHop.com: So Banks, whats the next move? The streets havent heard from you in a minute.
Lloyd Banks: Im always in the studio, the main reason they havent
heard me for a minute, and I stress it all the time, is rap is not rap
all the time. My clock move 12 hours a day. My sh*t go by like that and
with your average person its 24 hours a day. While Im jumping from
Japan to Germany, Germany to Switzerland, Switzerland to back here..
real sh*t is still going on. And that doesnt get addressed to the
public all the time. Some sh*t has to be your Life. And the fact of the
matter is I was going through a lot of stuff. My father passed around
this time last year...like weeks after my album came out. Im not going
to lie to you, thats not something you prepare for. If your ni**a
pass, you runnin the block with him everyday you know the consequences.
The most it would be shocking, but you can deal with it. My pops was 45
years old still in that life and died at a time when I wasnt prepared
for it. A ni**a dies you like, Damn, well, he was wildin out Pops
dies its like, Shit, I been running around. I never even had the time
to actually have that relationship. So, sh*t f*cked me up. Had me
feelin like with all the politics, the game turned from actual business
and talent to being to the politics sh*t. And I was wasnt feelin
that. I was like, F*ck all this sh*t! I dont care about none of this
shi*t! I went through that mode, for a while. It might have hurt my
record sales. Most definitely, cause I wasnt there to promote the
album. My mother was back and forth to the hospital, [she] had two
heart attacks. My brother crashed my cars, damn near killed himself. I
had a lot of sh*t going on at that time, man. To be honest with you, I
love music, but I really wasnt thinking about it at that time. Now
that Im back where I need to be, its a problem. Cause Im not sparing
nobody. Motherf*cker say something about me, your addressed tomorrow.
Whether it be AllHipHop.com or whatever. Because at this point, I
really dont care. The music is what feeds me, my family, so Im going
hard. They can expect new material from me, group material, as well as
Green Gang Records, what Im doing next. Im looking for artists right
now, so if youre hot, holla at me, make sure you get your music to me.
Thats the next move.
AllHiphop.com: So, Green Gang Records thats your next move? Do you have distribution?
Lloyd Banks: Green Gang. Nah, not yet. I got artists that Im f*cking with now. No more games.
Tony Yayo: My next album is done. Its actually called, I Am 50s Tax
Write-off. Pick it up if you want to. Basically, Im back to having
fun. I dont got Interscope to pick my single...Im basically having
fun. I was watching something on TV, I think it was Hanna Montana.. You
know I got kids, so Im watching the Disney Channel and [Hannas]
father said, Once you stop having fun with this sh*t then you need to
stop. It went from us in the beginning to having fun cause we didnt
have nothing, we didnt have sh*t, then it got to a level where it
stopped [being] fun because ni**as was selling so many f*cking records
that we felt like we had to hit a certain bar. I went gold on house
arrest and thats good as a motherf*cker. But in my mind, I was saying,
Damn, I aint that platinum artist. I let it bother me a little bit.
It f*cked me like, Damn, everybody from G-Unit go platinum. But then
I thought about it and, Hey, I went gold. I was in a cell. I used to be
a bum-ass ni**a in Southside Jamaica on the corner pitchin rocks to the
fiends. And the same ni**as I did it with are still on the corner,
doing the same thing. So, what the f*ck am I mad about a gold album
AllHipHop.com: Do you want to comment on the T.I. situation at all?
Lloyd Banks: Its bad for Hip-Hop, man. Its gonna hurt him, its gonna
hurt Hip-Hop even more. Theres a lack of good artists out there.
Tony Yayo: I just hope hell be alright. Cause I been in situations.
Been in the FEDs, I been in the State and it seems like when you try to
do good We targets, man. Believe it or not, young, black men, period.
Thats why when I see people say, Stop the violence in Hip-Hop.
Hip-Hop is feeding families to get off the streets. Yall want us back
on the corner. Thats what it seems like to me. The ni**a got set-up ,
man. Grom a b*tch-@ss ni**a. Thats all it come down to. Another ni**a
doin good and another ni**a set him up. Thats why I dont fuck with
everybody, because theres a catch-22 to everything. I read between the
lines, b*tch-@ss n*ggas set him up. You know what I mean?
Lloyd Banks: Keep your circle small. Sh*t is crazy right now.
Tony Yayo: For what reason, I dont know. I just know I would never do
business with a bodyguard like that anyway. But to him, all I can say
is, Hold your head up and I hope you aight. Hope you can get the least
time possible. Thats it.
AllHipHop.com: Lets talk about the tour. Its a 50 Cent tour, but is all G-Unit going?
Tony Yayo: Yea, of course.
Lloyd Banks: We start off in the UK, everywhere in the UK and then
India and I believe Africa and everywhere. We going to about 50 days
straight. Thats why when you look at it, people calling us [50s]
shadows and sh*t.. I dont understand that sh*t because a lot of the
opportunities that have come to be is based off my affiliation. My
first tour was a 50 city tour, like everywhere. So, that was a lot to
put on a new artist. I just was blessed for that. And I feel blessed
right now to still be able to be relevant and have people hear what I
want to say.
AllHipHop.com: With the digital age, how has that changed Hip-Hop in the last couple years?
Lloyd Banks: It got to the point in the last couple years, that I could
[now] bring my little cousin in here and hed like, Yo, where the
Soundscan at? Like 5 years ago, a hood ni**a wasnt getting his hand
on a Soundscan. [Laughs] He didnt really care. Now its to the point
where thats moving and youre going to have to find a new way to rate
an artist. How you would consider to rate an artist now is different,
because the same way tape decks are out, soon you not going to have a
CD deck either.
Tony Yayo: Yea, they gonna find a new way to figure out how record
labels can get money. I mean, you seeing a lot of record labels now,
signing dudes who have deals through downloads.
Lloyd Banks: Straight through ringtones.
Tony Yayo: A lot of rappers you see, no disresect, the game has
changed. Like icons we looked at coming up, like Biggie, Tupac, Big L,
Pun, Common, NWA, these are dudes that I wanted to be like. But now,
you got Ringtone Rappers, and its not like Im trying to hate or
nothing. You got dudes like Soulja Boy, whos a Ringtone Rapper. His
record got downloaded on Myspace and he had two million hits and that
was like one of the biggest hits on Myspace. Thats what got the
interest of Jimmy Iovine and everybody at [Interscope Records], right?
Lloyd Banks: Mmm-hmm.
Tony Yayo: Because before you had to give the streets at least two or three records or, four or five records or a mixtape.
Lloyd Banks: New York artists cant just get signed to any label and
come with, This is the new single, they like, Oh, wheres the old
single? You know what Im sayin? We had to grind. We had to really go
hard, to the point where they started saying Banks and Yayo as a
separate. But like [Yayo] said, its that Ringtone Rapper sh*t.
Tony Yayo: It went from us being on a song. and they just saying, 50
Cent and G-Unit, to us being on a song and them saying, 50 Cent,
Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo of G-Unit.
Lloyd Banks: At the end of the day, every other crew, name a crew in
New York City right now, that dont have tension, right now, between
each other that didnt actually show signs of not having loyalty
towards each other. Like being unloyal. Name a group. You cant. No
one is intact but The Unit. That sh*t gotta count for something. So,
while you was yelling D-Block or you was yelling Dipset or you was
yelling Terror Squad. Youve seen friction from every one of those
Tony Yayo: Half these ni**as aint been through half the shit me and
[Banks] or 50 been through. Through our struggles, what made us to
where we have. But they compare themselves to us now. Its like right
now, theyre calling Lil' Wayne, The Greatest Rapper Alive. What
happened to Jay-Z? What happened to Nas? What happened to f*cking 50?
What happened to Eminem? To me, when we talk about Hip-Hop and we talk
about rap and music, lets talk about the business aspect of it too. I
have respect for Jay-Z. I have respect for 50 Cent and I have respect
for Eminem, as businessmen and as artists, and Dre too. Lil' Wayne
hasnt gotten to where they have, as artists, lyrically or money-wise
or business-wise or anything. Im not a hater. The kid make good music.
But to me, I never got at a Jay-Z or a Nas or an Eminem, unless they
had something to say against me. And I would think twice getting at
Eminem. Matter of fact, I would think four times before I tried to
battle Eminem, cause I wouldnt. Jay-Z, comeon, man. You talking about
the big dogs of rap.
Lloyd Banks: These ni**as dont stand behind the things they say in a record. They just good when it comes to apologies.
AllHipHop.com: Are rappers basically entertainers now?
Lloyd Banks: I mean, you tell me. When you start telling me that a
ni**a could put a butterfly on his eye or a ni**a could claim to be a
gang member and [not] really be, or a ni**a could kiss another ni**a in the
mouth and it be okay, then yeah, its turned into entertainment. But
thats why we dont fit into that bracket.
Tony Yayo: Its WWF, man. Its wrestling.
Lloyd Banks: That shit aint supposed to be cool or ok. If that sh*t
happened ten years ago, man, listen, it wouldnt have happened. I know
because the rappers I looked up to, they was from the street like we
are, period. From Slick Rick to Kane to everybody. .That sh*t, wouldnt
have existed, period. That sh*t gotta count for something. You cant
just be the nicest rapper.
Tony Yayo: A rapper has to be somebody. You cant just have a record.
Lloyd Banks: If you got a little brother, right, if he got a picture on
the wall, its gonna be a ni**a that got all those things. Hes
talented, hes credible too, at the same time. Cause you want to be
like him, he from the street too. Lets not get it twisted, the music
comes from here and happens to reach the outside and out of the
country. But it comes from our neighborhood. Thats where it started. A
kid aint gonna have a picture up of nobody thats gonna come and go
next year. He wants something he can believe in. If your character
dont even exist how can he
Tony Yayo: Do you know how it feels to go through the hood? Like, we
just did a show in Philly, some of the roughest, thats where people
get this sh*t from, man. What we rhyme about the aggression you can go
to some spots in Philly, we can go to Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, we can go to
Soundview in the Bronx, what the f*ck do you see?
Lloyd Banks: Theres certain sh*t that has to happen. Same way they
gotta wear suits in the NBA, [laughs] you got to be real in the rap
Tony Yayo: This is where we from. The aggression is always there. Streets of Baltimore, streets of D.C, everywhere.
Lloyd Banks: Put it like this, if its certain entertainment and you
ask, What the game been missing, right now? G-Unit. Its missing real
ni**as from the hood, who happen to be talented and thats it. Cause
everything else out there is not that. Its forming allegiances.
Tony Yayo: Dont say this record or all the stuff you hear about in the
newspapers and sh*t made us sell records its not that. Its, On
Lloyd Banks: 50 Cent Is The Future, Beg For Mercy.
Tony Yayo: If you go look at that mixtape plaque out there, you can see
how much work we put in. We damn-near started the mixtape game. I mean,
mixtapes was always there, but the way we did it. Rapping over Raphael
Sadiq and like old L.L records, sh*t ni**as thought we wouldnt rhyme
to, we just brung something different.
Lloyd Banks: Rest In Peace Just-O too. That sh*t made me who I am now.
Tony Yayo: First mixtape award
Lloyd Banks: That plaque is the most important plaque I got. You know
what Im sayin? More than a Grammy or whatever the f*ck. Ive been
nominated for all that sh*t and I really dont care. I won it with the
street. If I didnt deserve it, they would have booed. Thats something
you cant take back from a ni**a. You cant say G-Unit didnt change
the game, in every form or fashion, from the mixtapes to the
mainstream. I just dont want the people to get confused. Not the fans,
cause the fans know. The people from the outside looking in that think
that this just happened. Nah, before it happened like this we were
sitting on the block, talking about, When I get this car I cant
even say Bentleys, because at that time it was probably a Benz.
Tony Yayo: You know a house where sprinklers come out your lawn.. we
got Bentleys and sh*t like that now. Things that we never had. Thats
why me, Im one of the most humblest ni**as. You could catch me in
Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx. Im one of the humblest n*ggas there is,
when it comes to my fans, because I remember not having a fan. So, when
we go through hoods like Philly and little kids is screaming at us We
aint superheroes, not even they mom or they dad, sh*t makes me feel
good. That they bought the G-Unit video game, or the Lloyd Banks
album, or the Tony Yayo album, or the Curtis album, we always gonna
have our fans that stay by our side.
Lloyd Banks: We always gonna be making music. Outside of all that rap
sh*t, man, leave me alone, dont say nothing. These [other rappers] are
good apologizers. Thats it.