Lloyd Banks – V6: The Gift, A Victory for Rap’s Old Guard
Lloyd Banks just released his latest mixtape, V6: The Gift. After one listen all the way through, it’s clear why Lloyd Banks was once 50 Cent’s wingman. He’s always entertaining regardless of what beat he’s rapping over. V6: The Gift is a victory for rap’s Old Guard. No matter how hungry Banks sounds on V6, which is a testament to his prowess as a rapper, Banks cemented his status on the initial string of mixtapes released by 50 Cent under the G-Unit moniker. If you’re reading this article and you’ve never heard 50 Cent is the Future, Automatic Gunfire, God’s Plan, and No Mercy No Fear, go to DatPiff.com immediately and download these tapes. Lloyd Banks on these four classic tapes was an intricate part in the forming of one of the three groups that would make up the Old Guard: G-Unit. Along with D-Block and Dipset these groups dominated rap music for a period of time from 2003-2006. Although Dipset came to prominence earlier, and D-Block much earlier, these three years, 2003-2006, saw the dominance of all three groups in what will be seen in years to come as rap’s true golden era. Lloyd Banks’ V6: The Gift is a throwback to a time when simpler gangsta rap dominated the charts. As usual, Banks is at his best over the soul beats on the tape that go against the current trend of dark menacing beats. There are also a few of those dark menacing beats on the tape, but the fact that it’s Banks rapping over them makes them less sinister. Lloyd Banks is a thug, sure, but his music is like rap’s equivalent of comfort food. V6 is a welcome sign that the Old Guard is still alive and well. Maybe the best track on V6 is Chosen Few featuring Jadakiss. Jadakiss sums up the mood of the entire mixtape when he dedicates the track “for those not here, for those still here, G-Unit D-Block.” G-Unit and D-Block together would be unheard of a few years ago. The fact that Vado, Cam’ron’s protégé, is featured on another track on the tape is worth noting. Could it be that Lloyd Banks’ V6: The Gift is the first official mixtape featuring members of G-Unit, D-Block, and Dipset? If it’s just a coincidence, it’s a coincidence worth noticing.
The best thing for hip-hop and the Old Guard right now would be a consolidation of power. G-Unit, D-Block, and Dipset should join to become one entity. Then, and only then, does the Old Guard have a chance to compete with conglomerates like Young Money and Maybach Music Group.
Lloyd Banks’ V6 is a victory for the Old Guard, but Banks is still capable of much better. I think a big part of why G-Unit needs to consolidate with D-Block and Dipset is so they have a chance at putting out records where every track is an A-list beat. That’s the advantage that Young Money and Maybach Music Group have. I also think Banks having soul sampled tracks on V6 is a good sign. Hip-hop needs to start sampling soul again. Overall, V6 is a good mixtape. Download it. At the same time, if you don’t have the classic four mixtapes mentioned earlier in this article, get those first, and then you’ll see why Lloyd Banks and G-Unit deserve to be considered part of the true golden age of hip-hop.
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