It seems like everyone is weighing in on the Greatest Hip-Hop Song (Of The VIBE Era) Tournament. Lloyd Banks has his own take on the battle for rap anthem supremacy. After viewing our competitive East Coast bracket, the respected lyricist believes that G-Unit leader 50 Cent’s “In Da Club—which was trumped by Method Man & Mary J. Blige (“I’ll Be There For You/You’re All I Need”) in the first round—deserved to take the W. According to Banks, the enormous 2003 track and no. 7 seed not only transformed 50 into a global phenomenon, it totally changed the hip-hop landscape for years to come.
“In Da Club should have won,” says Banks to VIBE of the Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ Dr. Dre-produced mega single. “If you are going to say the overall impact, that song has to be no. 1. ‘In Da Club’ generated 11 million records sold with one album.”
He continues: “It was bigger than just a club record or a radio hit. That was the record that took me to Africa. It was so crazy. A lot of tours came just off of that one song. We did the Roc The Mic tour with Jay-Z, the Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ tour. That literally took us all around the world. We toured from China to Iraq to Africa to Kazakhstan, and Russia. Prior to that, I had never been out of the Tri-State [laughs].”
That’s not to say Banks overlooks the other great tracks 50 had to compete with.
“I respect those other songs. Method Man’s and Mary J. Blige’s ‘I’ll Be There For You’ is a classic record. Didn’t that win a Grammy? Wu-Tang Clan’s “C.R.E.A.M.” is definitely important. I still remember watching the Wu on my little TV, which was huge to see. [A Tribe Called Quest’s Tribe’s] “Scenario,” Biggie’s “One More Chance,” and [Nas’] “If I Ruled The World” [in the East Coast bracket] are classic records.”
As for his own musical happenings, Banks is gearing up for the November 23 release of The Hunger For More 2, the sequel to his 2004 double platinum debut.
“I’m excited,” he says of the upcoming project, which has already spawned the gold single “Beamer, Benz or Bentley.” “I put a lot of thinking into this project. Every verse on my album that I got for a feature is crazy. The Kanye West joint ‘Trackstar’ is crazy. The song actually features me, Kanye, Swizz Beatz and Fabolous. I got Pusha T on a song called ‘Home Sweet Home.’ He’s very underrated; Pusha has been doing it for so long that he’s in a similar space as me. Everybody knows the Clipse as legendary rappers. Now he’s beginning a new legacy with his solo career. And I’m doing the same thing.”
Other guests on the album include 50 Cent, Eminem, Raekwon, Ryan Leslie, Akon, Jeremiah and Styles P. “The success I’m having now has been sweeter,” Banks adds. “You never know where you are going to be in this business.”—Keith Murphy
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