Lloyd Banks-F.N.O. (Failure's No Option) (Mixtape)

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If you’re lacking that little bit of bite on your car playlist, or you just want something to make a screwface too, Lloyd Banks is your man. His mixtape work over the last few years has been impeccable in that sense, serving up powerful, speaker-rattling beats under his gristly, versatile raps on a fairly consistent basis. That being said, he’s quietened slightly this year, but pulls through in the final quarter with this overdue mixtape release.

Features are minimal, and that’s just fine. Appearances from Raekwon, Vado and Styles P are about as far as it goes, and across 16 tracks that gives Banks plenty of breathing space to once again show his worth and remind all who are smart enough that he’s about the only G-Unit member left with any shred of relevance in hip-hop (yeah, I said it). He has a sound, he knows what it is, and that’s to be respected- many rappers get caught up in whatever today’s fad is, and tend to leave behind their core competencies, to the point that they never truly recover them. Banks can’t be accused of that, and hopefully, this project will reinforce that belief whilst providing us with some head-nodding hip-hop jams to unashamedly throw up unecessary gang signs to. You do it. Don’t lie.

Lloyd Banks-F.N.O.

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Lloyd Banks-Drop A Diamond ft. Raekwon

Whilst I’ve proclaimed I’m listening to very little hip-hop these days, one act has endured this and remains a fixture within my go-to playlist. That man is Lloyd Banks, whose mixtape work gets regular play in my car and house, and though he’s been very quiet this year, this release is hopefully a sign that more new work is on the way.

The production is a great mix between opulence and speaker-rattling, throwing together rather gentle, easygoing piano work and bassy, driving percussion for a contrasting blend that works rather well. Not to say either of them suffer with any particular type of production, but it’s the sort of beat that really does suit both acts, allowing them to play up their lavish lifestyles whilst giving them enough hard-hitting elements to still have the gritty factor that sets the two apart. Whilst Banks’ raspy tones are indeed a good fit for the production, it’s probably Rae that swings this one, purely for his slightly offbeat flow and more dulcet tone adding a controlled sense of ‘I literally do not care about you’, and hence makes for entertaining listening. Hopefully, that A.O.N. Vol. 1: Failure’s No Option mixtape is coming soon.

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Funkmaster Flex-Who You Mad At? Me or Yourself? (Mixtape)

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56 tracks. Seriously.

Fair play to Funk Flex for this though, as the lineup is unbelievable and essentially a snapshot of mainstream hip-hop at this moment in time. Appearances include A$AP Rocky, Joey Bada$$, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Childish Gambino, Fabolous, Action Bronson, Slaughterhouse, Young Jeezy and many, many more; for a full list, check out the back artwork over at Funk’s place. Many of the tracks from this tape have leaked out individually in the last 24 hours too, and thankfully they’re tagless versions, with one notable example being the Joey Bada$$ effort on the mixtape. If you’re after any of the other individual tracks, I’m sure a quick Google search can help you there, otherwise grab the bumper project for free below.

Funkmaster Flex-Who You Mad At? Me or Yourself?

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Havoc-Life We Chose ft. Lloyd Banks

havoc
Having fallen out of love with hip-hop a little (we’ll end up back together, as we always do), it’s been a while since I’ve had the pleasure of posting some rap with a nice speaker-rattling bang to it.

Cue Mobb Deep’s Havoc, and the latest single from his upcoming 13 album, due on 7th May. The production is going to be a real winner with the hip-hop heads, taking a somewhat grand sample and allowing it to spread through the intro and the hook, whilst distorting it into a darker vibe for the verses. The latter sections also benefit from great percussion, with low, bassy drums that add a ton of power and drive to proceedings, whilst the transitions either side of their introduction help segment the song extremely well. Hav’s verses are as gritty as you’d expect, with his aggressive lyricism being a welcome change from hip-hop’s recent output, whilst Banks is a great fit on this pounding production, with his distinctive tones complementing it well throughout his verse. A good slice of rap for those heads looking for something a little hard to knock in the car, and be sure to check that album out in a few weeks.

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Lloyd Banks-V6: The Gift Mixtape


Few rappers saw their stock rise more across 2010 and 2011 than Lloyd Banks, and though his 2012 has been a little quieter, he’s back in the limelight with his latest mixtape release.

If his aforementioned form of recent years is any indicator, this should be a very enjoyable hip-hop project, both for Banks’ raps and from a production standpoint, and though the list of producers isn’t instantly recognisable, Lloyd’s ear for a beat somewhat eases any fears about the production quality. The features are more eye-catching, with ScHoolboy Q, Jadakiss and Fabolous among the contributors, giving listeners even more to look forward to. Can’t wait to give this a go, and the free grab is below.

Lloyd Banks-V6: The Gift

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Sh*t You Forgot About: Episode 1


We’ve seen many weekly series come and go here at OTU, but it’s been a while since we’ve launched a new one, which frankly isn’t in keeping with our ‘we do things differently’ mantra.

That would be the marketing spin on this. The truth is, the thought occurred to me that as modern-day music listeners, we consume so much music on a daily and weekly basis that there have become two clear pools of choice when picking something to listen to: either a classic, old-school track or something relatively new. “What’s wrong with that?”, I hear you cry. “The vast middle in between those two”, I reply.

There are countless songs that lie in that grey area of being a little old, but nowhere near aged enough to be considered ‘classic’, and often they get overlooked. Several tracks may have been ‘ahead of their time’, and you’ll find them an almost brand new listen in today’s climate, or it may simply be revisiting an excellent track to recrete that ‘first time’ feel once again. Welcome to your friendly reminder of tracks we may have once loved (or even completely ignored), and enjoy the fresh yet familiar feeling that accompanies each one.

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Lloyd Banks-The Cold Corner 2 Mixtape


Hugely anticipated mixtape (who would have thought that phrase would be associated with Lloyd Banks a few years ago?), and I’m really looking forward to giving this a listen.

Banks has become one of the most consistent rappers in the game, and the quality of his material has been genuinely excellent. Shock The World was one of the first tracks released from this project and opened things with energy, whilst Make It Stack followed up with a more laidback style that remains extremely replayable.  The latter now features a verse from A$AP Rocky, marking one of the Rocky’s bigger co-signs to date and adding an exciting new element to the track, whilst Prodigy and Styles P also hop along for a couple of features. Grab the entire 18-track mixtape for free below.

Lloyd Banks-The Cold Corner 2

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Lloyd Banks-Make It Stack


I’ve had Banks’ Shock The World in steady rotation since its release, and when popping up on a shuffle earlier, I had a moment not too dissimilar to this: Banks’ beat selection has been absolutely excellent for quite some time now, and with each track he releases the affinity for him as a solo artist grows into a real fandom.

Almost expectedly, the beat will engage you right from the off. A drifty, nimble melody opens over a quietened, threatening synth, and shortly after the track explodes into life with an upscaling of both elements thrown together with a luscious bass and sharp additional percussion. Lloyd’s raps are laidback and very easy-on-the-ear, fitting the mellow production exceptionally, whilst his echoed hook has a similar effect. The end result is a very replayable hip-hop effort that will be thoroughly enjoyed on those dark journeys back from work.

Lloyd Banks-Make It Stack

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Lloyd Banks-Shock The World


Bite your bottom lip, screw your nose up and nod your head. This is one of those Banks tracks.

Mr. Hit-and Miss himself, Swizz Beatz, seemingly helms this one (based entirely on his inclusion in the intro), and serves up a jaw-rattling, pounding production with sharp, distorted keys, crashing percussion and a healthy dose of bass, combining for one of his better beats in recent memory. Banks has released some of his finest material in the last 12-18 months, largely down to a renewed focus in his raps (and improved beat selection), evidenced once again here with an enjoyable set of bars that synergises with the superb production thanks to a well-chosen set of flows and accessible lyricism from start to finish. From Cold Corner 2, coming soon.

Lloyd Banks-Shock The World

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DJ Suss One - Champion ft. Jadakiss, Lloyd Banks, French Montana, Junior Reid & Floyd Mayweather


What a line up. Here’s DJ Suss One’s latest drop from his upcoming album, The Feature Presentation. Production on this is has that epic sound to it, which is perfect for Jada, Banks and Montana to flex their lyrical and bravado-filled muscles.

Not much else to talk about here, other than the seemingly pointless feature from Floyd Mayweather (just give us that super-fight we all want already!). It’s your standard decent posse cut right here, those who enjoy that sort of thing (like me) will enjoy it, those who don’t, won’t.

DJ Suss One – Champion ft. Jadakiss, Lloyd Banks, French Montana, Junior Reid & Floyd Mayweather

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Lloyd Banks - Trouble On My Mind (Freestyle)


Firstly: WHAT a photo that is.

Secondly: Banks spits some bars on the excellent track Trouble On My Mind (originally by Pusha T & Tyler the Creator). Following from his Dreams Money Can Buy freestyle, Banks gives some solid content. To be honest though, if you even claim to be a decent emcee there isn’t a single excuse in the world for not being able to perform on an immaculate beat like this, and I hope this freestyle kicks off some more attempts from Lloyd Banks’ peers to hop on this track as this one is a little short for my liking.

Lloyd Banks – Trouble On My Mind (freestyle)

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Lloyd Banks-Dreams Money Can Buy Freestyle


It’s been very difficult to dislike Lloyd Banks over the last 18 months (not that I ever particularly did dislike him), as he’s really elevated his status with a slew of enjoyable remixes, freestyles and original material.

He’s been quiet in the last few months, but returns to the scene with this enjoyable freestyle over Drake’s memorable original. Banks brings some catchy rhyme schemes throughout, and keeps his content diverse with a couple of personal lines alongside the expected bragging raps, giving this short track a well-rounded feel, whilst revisiting this production gives it a welcome refresh, and a pleasing reminder of its quality. The sombre style works nicely alongside Banks’ naturally laidback tones, making for a good, easy-listening effort.

Lloyd Banks-Dreams Money Can Buy Freestyle

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Tracks From Lloyd Banks' Cancelled Cold Corner 2 Mixtape


This picture represents Banks turning his back on what he’s good at: the mixtape scene. I’m talking specifically about cancelling his Cold Corner 2 project in favour of another subpar album. I know I’m a little late on this, but it’s hard scrutinizing every tweet of each emcee you follow. Trust me, I feel just as cheated as you. I had been ignoring the following four tracks as they dropped earlier (around April/May) this year as I often do with projects I want to keep fresh from start to finish. Anyway, Banks comes heavy on each joint as he always does with his mixtape material and recaptures that gritty sound which went a little missing on HFM2. Getting To It Mandatory is gutter.

Getting To It Mandatory
Misery
Spread My Wings
Money Chase ft. Fabolous

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Lloyd Banks and Pusha T-Home Sweet Home Video

The audio was released during Banks’ fantastic run of form towards the end of last year, and few would deny that this was comfortably one of the standout tracks of that hugely consistent period. A very well-rounded track, with strong verses from Banks, a soulful, mesmerising production and a worthwhile addition in Pusha T combining for a strong piece of hip-hop.

The video adds some decent imagery to accompany the audio, with dark, gritty scenery combined with flashes of grainy camera work to throw in an old-school vibe, enhancing that genuine hip-hop vibe emanating from this effort. Fairly simplistic, and rightfully so with the raw vibe of this track. Audio can be found on Banks’ Hunger For More 2 album, available on iTunes now.

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Maino-Yes Yes Y’all ft. Lloyd Banks


This is a track that sounds exactly as you’d imagine to before feasting your ears upon it.

Two of New York’s best ‘gangsta’ spitters collaborating on a banging track. I don’t have much to add on that; consider it easy listening. Download below.

Maino – Yes Yes Y’all ft. Lloyd Banks

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R&B Fridays: Episode 91


Yeah, we’re delayed again. You’re all pretty much used to it now though. When we hit that 100th episode, I may just have to rename this to something a little less ‘day specific’…

Catch-up: delayed visuals for Usher’s More, the video for Yasmin’s Finish Line and an official remix, very enjoyable video for Musiq and Swizzy’s single, XV’s remix of Erin Christine’s Naked, and finally Wiz Khalifa jumps on a remix with Cee-Lo.

Lots of features and guest spots in this week’s episode, so get your mice at the ready and get clicking below.
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Young Chris-Flatline ft. Lloyd Banks


This surfaced back on Friday night…however I was fairly (very) intoxicated at the time and have been playing catchup ever since.

Young Chris flows along to some blasting production that will be appreciated by many a car speaker. It’s actually perfect production for a rapper like Lloyd Banks to feature on and it certainly enhances the quality of both of their verses. You don’t really need me to hype this up though as you know this is good if I’m bothering to post it 4 days late.

Loving the artwork too; simple but effective.

Young Chris – Flatline ft. Lloyd Banks

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Lloyd Banks ft. Young Jeezy-Start It Up Remix


Following on from the UK Remix of Banks’ smash Start It Up Young Jeezy comes through and add a verse to another official remix.

As well as the Jeezy verse added to the beginning of the joint, which has to be said is fire, Banks has also laid down a different verse than his original which helps to freshen the whole thing up. The new Banks verse is much better than his previous effort, but with the time he’s had to come up with it, it should be. I’d actually say this is a far stronger version overall than the original, so if you liked that (who didn’t?!) make sure you grab this.

Lloyd Banks ft. Young Jeezy-Start It Up Remix

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Lloyd Banks on Wiz Khalifa, J. Cole & Jay Electronica (and the NY Knicks).

A little snippet of Bank’s giving props to Wiz Khalifa, J. Cole and Jay Electronica, as the artists he’s most looking forward to in 2011.

It’s nice to hear established artists such as Banks speaking on the new acts coming up, and actually giving them the credit they deserve. It was also interesting hearing how he was ahead of the game with J. Cole after hearing his stuff before he blew up. He raises an interesting point on Electronica’s flow as well, which I’d have to agree with. Unfortunately I have nothing to add on the New York Knicks, so I’ll just take his word on that situation.

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OTU's Top 15 MCs of 2010


As the end of year lists begin to pop up everywhere, it’s only right that we enter the fray. Murray, Indi, Liam and myself have put our heads together to compile a list of the very best acts in hip-hop this year, and come up with shortlist of who we feel stood up and really did something worthwhile this year. With the differing tastes and perspectives of four writers, you’ll definitely find some good talking points amongst the commentary we’ve offered on our selections, for better or worse (hopefully better!).

Click below to see who ranked at #15 all the way up to #4. The top 3 will be released shortly afterwards. Without further ado, let the mayhem begin!

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Lloyd Banks, Sway and Giggs-Start It Up UK Remix


Another great look for the UK hip-hop scene. Banks grabs two of the UK’s prominent rappers (and arguably the best one in Sway) for the official UK remix to his fantastic Start It Up.

Given that Banks’ verse is the same as that on the original, Sway definitely (and unsurprisingly) has the best verse of the two, coming through with some likeable lines and good diversity in his flow. Giggs’ contribution isn’t bad either, though if you’re not a fan of his slow style, you’re unlikely to change that opinion here as he comes through with the same deliberate delivery. Kanye’s verse is also left in for good measure, and this is definitely one to check out for fans of the original, and of course supporters of our UK scene.

Lloyd Banks-Start It Up (UK Remix) ft. Sway, Giggs, Swizz Beatz and Kanye West

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Throwback Thursdays Vol 41


Inspired by Complex Magazine’s excellent best 25 Lloyd Banks’ verses and on the back of the release of Banks’ heavily anticipated third LP, The Hunger For More 2, I’ve decided to take us back to a time when 50 Cent was merely an underground king and Banks, alongside Tony Yayo, his noble foot soldiers.

2002 was a busy year for 50 and his G-Unit imprint, with the release of now-classic mixtape 50 Cent Is The Future, compilation album Guess Who’s Back, today’s featured mixtape No Mercy, No Fear, before finishing the year with God’s Son and putting the final touches to his 2003 debut album Get Rich Or Die Tryin’. But all this wouldn’t have been possible without the solid footing 50 had in the underground and the lyrical prowess of a certain 20-year old keen to follow in his mentor’s footsteps.

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Skyzoo & !llmind-Speakers On Blast Remix ft. Lloyd Banks & Maino


For some reason, the original to this track wasn’t posted on this site. I guess it got lost in the shuffle, but a chance to put that right has opened up with the official remix. Fellow Brooklynite Maino and Lloyd Banks, a man who has had a superb 2010, feature on this, with Banks in particular having a superb verse to this very pure and yet unusual production. You can listen to it here on the site and also download it below.

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Complete Lloyd Banks Blue Fridays Collection


After dropping Banks’ final Blue Friday earlier, I decided to put together the ‘final mixtape’ which it would leave me with, having collected all the tracks since the series began. Being a stickler for the correct tracklisting I set about putting the individual drops in order when, to my horror, I realised I hadn’t got them all and that meant, neither had you. I haven’t found a complete summary collection of all BF’s anywhere on the Internet so consider this a gift to you, from me.

Hit the jump, recap and enjoy an excellent series.

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Lloyd Banks-Large On The Streets


Having obtained my copy of Banks’ Hunger For More 2, and now having received this joint for his Blue Fridays series, I am disappointed this didn’t make the cut.

For the beat, most blogs have been referencing Vado’s same-titled track but underground heads will recognize the simple, eerie keys from Rudy & Rhetoric’s Levitate back in 2008. The beat is fire regardless and Banks attacks the instrumental with his characteristic gruff vigor, proving he’s very much back to his best and one of the top emcees in the game right now. As this is the last Blue Friday and HFM2 hits stores in 3 days, let’s hope he doesn’t just disappear into oblivion for another 4 years…

Lloyd Banks-Large On The Streets

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Lloyd Banks-Where I’m At ft. Eminem


Some more Lloyd Banks and more Eminem for you today! This leaked a few days back but with hideous dj tags that we all hate so much, so refrained on posting it. Now that the tagless CDQ has dropped, I’ll unleash it for you.

Set to be just an iTunes bonus track from Lloyd Banks upcoming Hunger For More 2 album, all I can really say is how good must that album be to just cast this aside as a bonus track!?

Typically anthem like, yet somehow understated, production from Canadian producer Boi-1da, with Eminem and Lloyd Banks giving us something pretty lyrical to cast our ears to.

Lloyd Banks – Where I’m At ft. Eminem

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Lloyd Banks-Everything You Got


New week, new Banks. Albeit a little later than his initially-intended Blue Fridays (For those of you who don’t know, today is Tuesday).

Banks has dropped so much strong material in lead up to his Hunger For More 2 (Nov 23rd) and this is another welcome addition in tact with pulsating baseline and tough-guy lyrics to match.

Lloyd Banks-Everything You Got

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Lloyd Banks ft. 50 Cent–Payback (P’s & Q’s)


Off Lloyd Banks much anticipated Hunger For More 2 album, here’s his collaboration with 50 Cent (who happens to only be on the hook).

Pretty dope production on this, looking forward to the album dropping!

Lloyd Banks ft. 50 Cent – Payback (P’s & Q’s)

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Lloyd Banks on HFM2, G-Unit and working with Kanye

Here we have Lloyd Banks talking about his soon-to-be-released album The Hunger For More 2 album, how he came about working with Kanye West on Christian Dior Denim Flow (if you haven’t heard it already I highly recommend you do here) and Start It Up which can be found here , as well as his admiration for 50 Cent and the whole G-Unit movement.

A particular highlight for me is when he speaks about walking in the studio when both the aforementioned tracks were being recorded. If ever I could’ve been a fly on the wall in a studio that would’ve been it, the talent on show just sounds ridiculous. G-Unit to go down in hip-hop history though? I’m not too sure. One thing I am sure about though, HFM2 is going to be something special. Props to GWHH for the interview.

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