|Next Project:||T*O*S: Terminate on Sight (July 1)|
Despite the above-average sales total of 50 Cent’s last album, “Curtis,” the project was widely considered a flop by both media members and long-time G-Unit fans. In fact, despite the sale of close to twenty million albums worldwide from his stable of artists, 50’s G-Unit crew has been the subject of harsh criticisms and unfair expectations the past few years.
After recently parting ways with former member, Young Buck, the original and invigorated G-Unit trio of 50, Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo are set release the group’s second album, entitled “Terminate on Sight,” on July 1. Led by the dual singles, “Rider Pt. 2” and “I Like The Way She Do It,” the group is banking on their popular mixtape style translating into commercial success.
In an exclusive interview with DJBooth‘s DJ “Z,” Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo step inside the booth to talk about G-Unit’s status as the “greatest rap group in the world,” why Young Buck won’t be missed, the industry-wide “auto-tune takeover,” and why they can guarantee that fans and foes alike will enjoy the new album.
Listen to the Interview
G-Unit Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on everybody? It’s your boy “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth are two thirds of the original G-Unit crew. Getting ready to Terminate on Sight this July, please welcome Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo – what’s goin’ on, fellas?
Tony Yayo: Yeah, yeah, what’s good? The Talk of New York, Tony Yayo!
Lloyd Banks: Yeah, it’s your boy Lloyd Banks.
DJ Booth: Thanks for joinin’ me, guys. So where’s 50 at? He shootin’ another vitamin water commercial today?
Tony Yayo: Nah, he’s shootin’ a movie with Sharon Stone, and, I forget the other actors, man – I just remember Sharon Stone, ‘cause she got the nice legs.
DJ Booth: Mm-hm, and she’s got some other nice stuff, too.
Tony Yayo: I know he’s doin’ that out of town.
DJ Booth: He wasn’t gonna bring you guys along, maybe a little cameo?
Tony Yayo: Me and Banks can go to the shoot whenever we want to. There’s actually a studio on the set. I was thinkin’ about goin’ there this week, but we’re just runnin’ around, doin’ this radio promotion for this album, July 1st, ya heard?
DJ Booth: Well, I appreciate you two takin’ the time to make sure and get on the phone with me. Let’s talk about the album, right off the top. Very few few rap albums these days, guys, are titled with a purpose, so what is the purpose of the chosen title, Terminate on Sight?
Lloyd Banks: Everybody’s competition. You know, you go through phases where you make a certain name for yourself, and your status goes up so big that you tend to ignore what they consider to be competition. But now hip-hop is at a point where there’s no morals, there’s no standings behind it, there’s no principles. You can just do anything or get away with anything now; it’s to the point where everybody’s considered competition. Anybody can be wiped out, and that’s what Terminate on Sight is about. It’s the sequel to Beg for Mercy.
DJ Booth: Okay, so let’s line this album up side by side next to the group’s first album, Beg for Mercy. What is similar, what is different?
Lloyd Banks: The similarities are the fact that we’re actually recording the project while recording for other projects. Havin’ a lack of records is never a problem. We have too many records, so it’s at a point right now where pickin’ the next single is a problem, ‘cause you got six singles. The difference is-
Tony Yayo: Hey! The difference is Tony Yayo’s home, man! That first album, Beg for Mercy, I was on Rikers Island, incarcerated, I was in jail, and now I’m here. But my boys still kept my face on the album, so I appreciated that. Shout to Eminem, who’s workin’ on his album, shout to 50, who’s workin’ on his album on the movie set. And, you know Terminate on Sight. Just imagine how big that tour’s gonna be, if Eminem comes out, the G-Unit TOS album is out, 50 got his new album out, Banks is comin’ with his solo, I’m comin’ with my solo – we all just go on a big tour! And Dre drops Detox.
DJ Booth: If what you’re saying is true, and I really, really hope it is, Tony, what is the realistic possibility this tour could be unveiled before the end of this calender year?
Tony Yayo: I couldn’t tell you that. That’s on 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks, Eminem, Dr. Dre, me, and the rest of the crew. I know Eminem’s workin’ on his album, I know this ToS album is crazy – it’s gonna be the craziest album. Everybody else better push back, ‘cause I’m tellin’ you, July 1st, we got Polow da Don on there, we got Swizz Beatz on there, we got Lloyd Banks, the lyrical assassin on there, the Punchline King, we got 50 Cent on there, and he’s tellin’ you what’s goin’ on, Tony Yayo, tellin’ you my issues that’s goin’ on with my life – it’s crazy!
DJ Booth: I have no doubt it is crazy, but someone you didn’t mention, obviously, is Young Buck, who has departed from the group. So the three original members, essentially, are back to the beginning…
Tony Yayo: And what’s crazy is, we still gonna let Young Buck get a little bit of money – he’s on the album too. He’s on the album, but he’s on G-Unit the label as a solo artist. It’s a double-edged sword – we the best rap group in the world, so everybody wants to get on us, they get media, they get talked about on the radio. Buck never got this much publicity in his life; every interview we do they ask about him!
DJ Booth: Okay, so let me ask you: on the real here, has his departure, not from the label but from the group, reinvigorated you guys in the studio, or do you feel that there’s something missing, now that you’re recording without him?
Lloyd Banks: I think sometimes people forget that we all are talented individuals. Comin’ into the studio, the traditional song structure is a three-verse song. It’s not too much of a difference. Same when Yayo wasn’t present, you know what I’m sayin’? But that’s not what drives the material; what drives the material is what’s goin’ in our personal lives as well as what’s goin’ on in the industry. Like, there’s so many other things to talk about. The main difference is – I mean, he’s on the record, he’s on the record three or four times, it’s just, where he’s at in his career, he feels like he wants to focus on him as a solo artist, so I guess this is like a head start to his next solo project.
DJ Booth: We know what’s going to be on the album, and what’s not going to be on the album. But what’s the deal with auto-tune? Are you guys all going to be using the voice box on the album?
Lloyd Banks: No, I’ve never tried it. And when 50 tried it, that was his first time usin’ it. We just brought the program downstairs in the studio and played with it. I’m not gonna say I won’t do it, but it’s not something that I’ve done.
DJ Booth: What are your feelings on it? You guys like how artists sound?
Lloyd Banks: That’s something that’s been in the music for years, longer than I’ve been alive.
Tony Yayo: Yo Banks, tell him, Roger Troutman was doin’ that before T-Pain, right, Banks?
Lloyd Banks: Yeah, Computer Love.
Tony Yayo: He was doin’ that before T-Pain! [singing] Whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa! Rider Pt. 2, out right now, and the video is out on DVD.
Lloyd Banks: And if it’s used like ten different times, like I hear a lot of other artists doin’, that’s kinda like overkill. But if you have a record [that] sounds good with it on, then go ahead.
DJ Booth: Well, you mentioned one of the records you have out right now; I’m gonna mention the other, I Like the Way She Do It. Yayo, you spit the line, “I can breathe on a track and make money.” So how much dough we talkin’ about here?
Tony Yayo: It’s true! Even if you listen to 50’s first album, the track where Eminem, 50, Lloyd Banks, [and] me, doin’ the ‘Hey!‘s. I made some money! I can breathe on a track and make money! I didn’t even rhyme! If you listen to a lot of 50’s first record, I’m doin’ just ad libs in the back. That’s why when Buck talks about the royalty thing I get mad, because we got super paper! I can fly right now to Paris, go on a shopping spree, eat caviar – I don’t wanna do that right now! Certain things just get me aggravated, ‘cause we livin’ great over here. Banks got a Lamborghini just the other day! So it’s like, we got paper!
DJ Booth: Banks, what’s the color of the new Lambo?
Lloyd Banks: The color? It’s like a blood red, or a cranberry. It’s a nice color.
DJ Booth: Good choice.
Tony Yayo: I’m waitin’ for him to let me borrow it. He won’t even let me borrow it! He’s stingy with it.
DJ Booth: Well, why don’t you buy your own, Yayo?
Tony Yayo: I got the Bentley, I got a couple toys. But you know what I really want? I really want to wait until next summer and get the four-door Porsche; I’m fiendin’ for that.
DJ Booth: Let’s roll into a new section, guys. It’s called “By Request.” Our members submitted a plethora of questions for all of you to answer, and the first one comes from our member Tallman44. He wants to know, when recording the new album, did the group focus more on radio-friendly material like I Like the Way She Do It, or street-oriented cuts like Rider Pt. 2?
Lloyd Banks: To be honest with you, I Like the Way She Do It was one of the last records that we recorded, for the project, and mainly because we was in the mix tape zone. We were comin’ off of the momentum of Return of the Body Snatchers, and then following that with Elephant in the Sand, which dominated all over the place, and then comin’ into the next mix tape we did with Willie Da Kid and DJ Drama. So a lot of the records that we’re makin’ are in the zone of the mix tape feel, so some of them that might have been made for the mix tape, actually are gonna end up on the album, just because of the quality. We don’t go in the studio and put stamps on [our] music, like, “Yo, I’m gonna make a rated seven song.” No, you go in there and try to knock off a ten every time. I think the mode of our album is hard, it’s real street. At the same time, you do have to have records that’s able to go to the furthest extent and get played. It’s like a contradiction, ‘cause they want their hard sh*t, and when you give it to them it’s censored to the point where you just hear nothing, you know what I’m sayin’? So you don’t wanna hurt yourself completely because the world is not ready for that. The street might be ready for that, but the people behind the TV networks and radio and everything is not.
DJ Booth: No, they don’t want it at all.
Lloyd Banks: They gonna give you a song that’s bleeped out, and we can’t say certain things that other artists can say.
Tony Yayo: We got a record [dedicated] to Sean Bell, he got killed in South Jamaican Queens by the police. They shot him about fifty times. That was our neighborhood, so we did a tribute for him, on the album, it’s called Straight Outta Southside, and that’s one of my favorite records.
DJ Booth: Something that will definitely not get radio play, correct?
Lloyd Banks: Yeah, it will – I think it will get radio play. It’ll get bleeped out, but that’s what comes with bein’ the biggest group in hip hop.
DJ Booth: If the record does get bleeped out, though, doesn’t that take away the message that you guys are tryin’ to make in the song?
Tony Yayo: When you tell a kid, “Don’t go around the corner,” you have to tell him why not to go around the corner. And usually, if you don’t, he knows that there’s something around the corner that he might wanna see. So it’s the same thing with the music: if you give ‘em a record, and y’all bleep the whole record out, maybe he’ll go look on the Internet or go buy the album so he can hear [it] raw and uncut. ‘Cause if you’re playin’ it on the radio bleeped out, that means it’s hot!
DJ Booth: [laughter] Definitely. Guys, in all seriousness, casual supporters and long-time listeners, have recently made bold claims that G-Unit is washed up, or they’re stale, or they lost that edge, what do you say to them to completely convince them otherwise?
Tony Yayo: You know what we say to them? We say to them, cop the album, July 1st, TOS. The proof is in the pudding. What are you gonna do without G-Unit? We’ve reigned for years now. From my album, Thoughts of a Predicate Felon, I dropped that on house arrest at eight hundred thousand, from Lloyd Banks, The Hunger For More selling two million, Straight Outta Ca$hville sellin’ a million, Game’s album sellin’ four million, 50 sellin’ ten million – come on, man! It’s either you hate us or you love us, cause the people that hate us is rockin’ to our mix tapes. Elephant in the Sand, Ja Rule got that, Fat Joe got that. Body Snatchers, Baby got that. All these groups got these mix tapes, and they listen to ‘em and they analyze our lyrics. We created the mix tape game, so there’s nothing that any artist or any fan or any media [member] can say we’re washed up.
DJ Booth: You’re absolutely right about that, fellas.
Tony Yayo: So that’s the answer to that. G-Unit washed up? We still buyin’ Lamborghinis and Bentleys! [laughter]
DJ Booth: With all the success that G-Unit has seen, that you just mentioned to me, what is there left to accomplish for the three of you?
Tony Yayo: It’s never enough. Banks will tell you: Banks’s house is two million, mine’s one million. It’s never enough; you want more and more money, you want a bigger house, you want a bigger car. Am I right, Banks, or am I wrong? I don’t know.
Lloyd Banks: As solo artists, though, we all have our own aspirations, and I think sometimes the success that we were talking about overshadows the actual talent, the things that drove me into wantin’ to be an artist – you know, I still have a passion for music. I’m not one who says hip hop is dead, because I’m twenty-six years old, so I feel like I have a lot to bring. That’s how I look at it right now, and I just feel like we got a lot more material. I’m on my second solo album. It ain’t been that many years, you know what I’m sayin’? You got groups that’s still around, artists that – look how long Jay-Z been doin’ it!
DJ Booth: Over a decade, that’s absolutely right.
Tony Yayo: Look how long Nas been doin’ it! Look how long Fat Joe been doin’ it!
Lloyd Banks: Fat Joe got eight albums and I can’t name ‘em, except the last one, ‘cause we had the same title. You gotta make that decision, when you’re done with hip-hop, you know what I”m sayin’? Music is more than just entertainment; it’s a lifestyle. That sh*t gets people through their day.
DJ Booth: Well, you guys have clearly convinced me otherwise. Go ahead, give everyone a website or a MySpace page so everyone can find out more about the brand new-
Lloyd Banks: Thisis50.com, you can log onto that.
Tony Yayo: Look for that ToS album, July 1st. And Banks, tell him about your movies you got comin’ out!
Lloyd Banks: Continuin’ the success I had on Bank Shot Productions with my first film, Groupie Love, currently I’ve actually been [casting] for several releases this year, including a Kama Sutra DVD. You know, that’s kind of educational, and showin’ ‘em [practicing] safe sex, so it kinda ties into the MagicStick condoms that 50 is puttin’ out.
DJ Booth: I thank you so much for takin’ the time to join me inside the DJ Booth-
Tony Yayo: No doubt. We appreciate you havin’ us, man.
DJ Booth: I wish you guys nothing but the best of luck. And Banks, make sure to get in contact with my peoples when you’re tryin’ to cast for that Kama Sutra DVD, my friend.
Lloyd Banks: [laughter] No doubt.
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