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Rotten Apple

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Album Review

After a promising debut, G-Unit soldier Lloyd Banks hedged his bets, subdued the hungry, punch line-filled style that defined him, and delivered a so-so effort that coasts on the G-Unit formula. With an EP's worth of heat — the infectious single "Hands Up" with 50 Cent being the hottest — Rotten Apple is no disaster, and there's no doubt the G-Unit faithful will get twice as much out of this than everyone else, especially with the G-Unit universe guest list and the numerous raw, freestyle-flavored productions that sound like they fell off a G-Unit Radio mixtape. The long, word-filled flows are here, as are the humorous stingers Banks likes to drop, but his delivery is surprisingly weary, and often on the more street tracks, the production is drab, making it easy to drift away from the words no matter how sharp. Luckily, G-Unit's bag of hooks just keeps on giving, and when Rotten Apple goes for polish, it succeeds. Besides "Hands Up," there's the cool "Help" — a "one for the ladies" track with Keri Hilson — and "You Know the Deal" with Rakim, which sounds exactly how Mobb Deep's G-Unit debut should have. Rocking it with a trio of Southern ballers — Young Buck, Scarface, and 8Ball — Banks offers the excellent "Iceman" before closing with "Gilmore's," one of those loose, casual, and satisfying numbers G-Unit members always seem to drop at or toward the end of their albums. "Iceman" and "Gilmore's" suggest Banks is the last soldier who should fall into the "I own this/I own that" or "I moved this many units/You didn't move nearly as many" ruts G-Unit is famous for, but he does, too often to ignore. The highlights are way high, but the album as a whole is "fans-only."

Customer Reviews

3.5 Stars

Listening to Rotten Apple, one can't help but compare the sophomore LP to its freshman precursor. Where Hunger For More started off with the energy of "Ain't No Click", the new album opens with the subdued boom bap of the title track. "What a way to double up, headed for my second win," brags Banks. On "Survival" the G-Unit soldier rides the track effortlessly, giving the listener a tutorial on how he learned to protect himself from haters: "Poppa was a rolling stone, never came back now I'm on my own/So I had to learn a few things 'bout survival like the ice pick gun or the bottle." Blue Hefner doesn't disappoint on the wordplay boasting that he's got "TV's the size of Kevin Garnett," among other gems. Banks successfully switches up his style on the true school inspired "Make A Move", and pulls Musiq Soulchild out of the Witness Protection Program on "Addicted". "Help" shows a mature Boy Wonder touching on the prospect of settling down with a woman he can trust, a noble gesture from the man who claims to sleep with one female a day. With success, however, comes a tendency to get complacent and lose the fire in the belly. "Hands Up" and "Cake" are examples of stellar uptempo production that allows Banks to spit his best bars. Unfortunately, there aren't enough of these tracks on Rotten Apple. "Playboy 2" finds Banks revisiting the stop and go flow of the original. "These haters still won't give me my props, I'm shocked/I do it for the concrete, the curb, the block/All I got is the street, my word, my c**k." The song ends the same way as its predecessor, unfortunately the production doesn't match the celebrator" tone of the original. Tony Yayo guests on "NY NY”, a slow moving Eminen track with equally unhurried rap from Banks. The high energy of Tony Yayo is sorely missed as he makes a low-key eight-bar appearance. "You Know The Deal" continues the laid back production theme, further disappointing in that Rakim, who is featured, only appears on the hook. Banks' nod to the South "Iceman" is a sleeper compared to Hunger's "Work Magic". Listening to Rotten Apple, one can't help but compare the sophomore LP to its freshman precursor. Where Hunger For More started off with the energy of "Ain't No Click", the new album opens with the subdued boom bap of the title track. "What a way to double up, headed for my second win," brags Banks. On "Survival" the G-Unit soldier rides the track effortlessly, giving the listener a tutorial on how he learned to protect himself from haters: "Poppa was a rolling stone, never came back now I'm on my own/So I had to learn a few things 'bout survival like the ice pick gun or the bottle." Blue Hefner doesn't disappoint on the wordplay boasting that he's got "TV's the size of Kevin Garnett," among other gems. Banks successfully switches up his style on the true school inspired "Make A Move", and pulls Musiq Soulchild out of the Witness Protection Program on "Addicted". "Help" shows a mature Boy Wonder touching on the prospect of settling down with a woman he can trust, a noble gesture from the man who claims to sleep with one female a day. With success, however, comes a tendency to get complacent and lose the fire in the belly. "Hands Up" and "Cake" are examples of stellar uptempo production that allows Banks to spit his best bars. Unfortunately, there aren't enough of these tracks on Rotten Apple. "Playboy 2" finds Banks revisiting the stop and go flow of the original. "These haters still won't give me my props, I'm shocked/I do it for the concrete, the curb, the block/All I got is the street, my word, my c**k." The song ends the same way as its predecessor, unfortunately the production doesn't match the celebrator" tone of the original. Tony Yayo guests on "NY NY”, a slow moving Eminen track with equally unhurried rap from Banks. The high energy of Tony Yayo is sorely missed as he makes a low-key eight-bar appearance. "You Know The Deal" continues the laid back production theme, further disappointing in that Rakim, who is featured, only appears on the hook. Banks' nod to the South "Iceman" is a sleeper compared to Hunger's "Work Magic". There's nothing like hearing an emcee spit bars with a purpose. Banks shows up to play, but he sounds too comfortable, a product of the production. No sophomore jinx here, but those spoiled by the energy of the first album might be left at a stalemate.

Dis is da best efa

this album is amazing. it is thie best of lloyd bank$. the best songs are cake and you know the deal get the unedited version g

rotten apple

the lyrics are hot

Biography

Born: April 30, 1982 in New Carrollton, MD

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Lloyd Banks was raised in Jamaica, Queens, by his Puerto Rican mother; his father spent much of his son's childhood behind bars. Like many young men amid the poverty and ruin of his community, he found solace through ghetto poetry and the work of rappers like Big Daddy Kane and Slick Rick. He dropped out of high school at the age of 16, finding the structured environment a hindrance to his developing talent for rhyming. After appearing on numerous local mixtapes, Banks, along with childhood friends...
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Rotten Apple, Lloyd Banks
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