The New Classics

May 2, 2009

Mixtape Review / Download: Lloyd Banks, 4-30-09 Happy Birthday

05.01.09

Lloyd Banks-4-3-09
Trying to stay relevant in today’s rapidly changing, extremely fickle rap world, G-Unit’s best lyricist Lloyd Banks drops his second mixtape of 09, this one being a double cd. A few of the problems from January’s The Cold Corner have been fixed this go-round, and it’s Banks close to his best.

Back in his mixtape groove similar to 2002 when the Unit was all over the circuit, Lloyd Banks needs to stay aggressive to keep up with today’s artists. He hasn’t had an official album release since 2006, and Rotten Apple wasn’t anything to brag about. On ‘4-30-09’, he’s free from the watchful eye of 50 Cent and reminding us why he’s no Tony Yayo.

My biggest gripe with The Cold Corner was the beat selection, and thankfully that’s kicked up a notch here. There’s actually a few songs that sound out of the box for Banks, which is good for him to show what he can do. ‘My Way or Nothing’ and ‘Life Goes On’ differ greatly from anything on his last mixtape, and are among two of this release’s best.

His rhymes are still sharp, I’ve never had any complaints in that department when it comes to Lloyd Banks. He’s among the best on the East Coast, but I question most of the guests – interestingly none of them G-Unit voices – hopping on some of these tracks. Uncle Murda and Jay Rock both spit boring, forgettable verses on ‘My Way or Nothing’ and ‘Real Recognize Real’ respectively, while Ron Browz is his usual terrible self with a terrible autotune feature. I swear, Browz has made the EXACT same song about 9 or 10 times in the past year, and ‘Luv Witch Ya Boy’ is another disposable piece of garbage that he’s put together and tried to pass off as hip hop music.

The best song on the mixtape is actually borrowed from the GLC song ‘Flight School’, with the same name. It’s only a minute and a half but I like hearing Banks over a Kanye West beat; it just feels oddly right. The Naughty by Nature vibe of ‘New Era’ is another track that works for him. It’s no different than any other shit talking trunk blaster that saturates most of his work, except for it’s standout melody, which is what a lot of his work is missing. There’s still a few cuts where the beat is too dull and flat to really care about Banks’ knockout punchlines, like ‘Me and My Strap’, ‘M.B.A.M.’ or ‘The Raw’; all songs that could be interchanged for one another.

Where he SHOULD be fired up though – the Rick Ross diss ‘Officer Down’ – he sounds like he’s just going through the motions: fighting 50 Cent’s battles for him once again, for a beef that he doesn’t really seem to give a shit about, and probably shouldn’t, because no one else does.

Banks’ style hasn’t progressed. DJ Whoo Kid’s ad libs and shouts over the tracks haven’t gotten any less obnoxious. But for what it is, 4-30-09 is the first good G-Unit release since 50’s Sabrinas Baby Boy mixtape in 2007. Unfortunately, Lloyd Banks is still spinning his wheels being signed to Interscope, where he’ll always be seen as 50 Cent’s little buddy. A deal with Amalgam or Duck Down would change that, and undoubtedly improve most everything about his music, but unless he suddenly turns on 50 I don’t see this happening. I’m sure there will be plenty more Lloyd Banks mixtapes in the future, but when it comes to where it really counts – an album – I don’t think we’ll see another solo for a long time. And that’s a shame because I still believe that a focused Lloyd Banks – that means no meaningless adopted beefs or 50 Cent interruptions – with a good production team behind him could really put something great together. Instead it’s just talent being wasted.

Album: 4-30-09 (mixtape)
Artist: Lloyd Banks
Label: G-Unit / Interscope Records
Featured Artists: Red Cafe, Uncle Murda, Ron Browz, Jay Rock, Nipsey Hussle
Highlights: ‘My Way or Nothing’, ‘Flight School’, ‘Reborn’, ‘Life Goes On’, ‘New Era’
Rating: 6.0

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2 Comments »

  1. this tape is dope dude. The fuck is wrong wit this review? He disses Banks in every paragraph and then adds the “buts” to make up for it. I hate wen reviewers try to focus on one concept and says every rapper has to follow it. Shitty ass reviews. I should start makin my own. Banks is known for puttin out classic tapes (my fav: Mo Money in The Bank and Cold Corner). They pass this off as a weak mixtape by a mainstream rapper tryin to be a mixtape artist. SMH

    Comment by ace — August 1, 2009 @ 9:21 pm

  2. Yeah you should start makin your own.

    Comment by gM — August 14, 2009 @ 10:09 am


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