Review Summary: Lloyd Banks follows the mold of “Get Rich or Die Tryin’” to perfection
With the success of 50 Cent, it was only a matter of time before his buddies released albums. First was G-Unit’s very average Beg for Mercy,
shortly after, Lloyd Banks’ The Hunger for More
followed. Both these albums try to follow the formula used by 50: hardcore, thuggish rhymes with bouncy club beats and radio friendly songs. 50 made it seem easy with his mega selling debut so he is the executive producer on The Hunger for More
and the rest of G-Unit, as well as Eminem contribute to Banks’ debut.
While not having 50 Cent’s charisma or catchy hooks, Lloyd Banks is a very capable lyricist and his first single, the Eminem produced ‘On Fire’ may not be 50’s ‘In da Club’ but it’s really not that far behind. Following in the same vein as ‘On Fire’ is the bouncy Timbaland produced ‘I’m So Fly’ with clever punch lines like “They boyfriend’s a scrub like Brillo 'cause Banks is cooler than the other side of the pillow.”
Of course having an all-star cast of artists pitching in on your debut album doesn’t hurt like on ‘Warrior Part 2’ with verses by Eminem and 50 Cent as well as an outstanding chorus by the late, great Nate Dogg. Even with all the big names contributing on The Hunger for More,
Banks manages to hold his own and doesn’t get outshined by these heavy hitters.
While the first ten tracks (culminating with the awful, poppy ‘Karma’) seem more geared toward mainstream radio, it’s the last four tracks where Banks truly shines. Game makes an appearance on ‘When The Chips Are Down’ with a memorable chorus “The paint is peeling, when the chips are down, you gotta lose all feeling, your head goes round and round.”
‘Til The End’ is a vivid, bone chilling story of life in the hood where “You know it's possible that you won't make it back in your bed,”
the slow, keyboard-heavy Eminem beat creates a haunting mood that accentuates the themes Banks talks about. If ‘On Fire’ is Banks’ equivalent of ‘In da Club’, then album closer ‘Southside Story’ is his version of 50’s ‘Many Men’. The Diaz Brothers, although known more for their Reggaeton-style production, provide an exceptional beat, using an awe-inspiring Barry White string sample. Far from glorifying the thug life, ‘Southside Story’ talks about the horrors that go on in the streets of New York.
Banks says on ‘Die One Day’, “It's fu
cked up when you're only facial expression is a frown”,
and he doesn’t exactly ooze personality, he may not have the charisma of 50 Cent but he can paint vivid pictures with his words. 50 Cent fell out of favor with most people very quickly, he along with G-Unit was shunned by the majority of hip-hop fans who proceeded to dismiss all releases by any of their members. If you automatically assume that Banks only released an album because he was affiliated with the biggest hip-hop star at the time, you would be mistaken, that may be the reason he got as much airplay but he proves that he is deserving of this opportunity. Most albums are very frontloaded, having their best songs at the beginning, The Hunger for More
has the more popular, catchy songs in the first half of the album; it pulls you in this way and Banks closes it out in spectacular fashion.
Til the End