Lloyd Banks’ recently released album is not a totally “rotten apple,” but it definitely has some bruises. His newest solo album dropped on October 10th and falls short of what he achieved with his solo debut.

It’s missing one of the key components that made his first album so popular and helped it sell almost two million copies: it has no energy. Many of his songs follow a predictable G-Unit formula and have slow unimaginative beats. On the other hand, several of his songs pick up the pace and the energy, giving the album a few redeeming highlights.

He explains it best himself on the title track, “Rotten Apple” when he raps, “When I come through I’m comfortable…we don’t permit outsiders in our crew.” If you aren’t a fan of G-Unit then this is not the album for you.

He doesn’t try anything new or different, and sticks with the same style and song format for many of the tracks. Even the featured artists, mostly other members of G-Unit, stick to the same style and themes.

Banks himself is the featured theme in his songs, rapping about how great he is, how much money he has or how sweet he is. After a while, this gets pretty boring.

To be fair, NY rap is not about the catchy choruses or party hits that helped Southern rap explode onto the popular scene. But East coast rap is usually full of imaginative lyrics and punch lines, typically where Banks shines, which are missing from a majority of this album.

Songs like the underground hit “The Cake,” the already popular “Hands up,” “Make a Move,” “Iceman” and “Help” are all bright spots on the album, recapturing some of the energy of his solo debut The Hunger for More. These songs make the album worth listening to.

Rhymes like; “It’s the American way I go to bed with the ‘K/ I got red blue and white don’t even ask about ice/ I look like a cop car flashin’ his lights,” from the track “You Know the Deal” are reminders of the skills Banks has.

Banks is originally from Queens, NY and a member of G-Unit since its beginning in 2002 with 50 cent and Tony Yayo. He was the 2003 Mixtape Artist of the Year and has had 5 songs appear on the Billboard Hot 100 list. “Rotten Apple” debuted at number three on the Billboard and already has three hits: “Hands up,” “Cake” and “Help,” the one song that features a female artist.

The good songs remind us why Banks is still around after three years on the scene. He has potential as a hip-hop artist and skills to spare if only he’d step out of his comfort zone for more than just a few tracks on this album.

Three stag rating!

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