Lloyd Banks

Rotten Apple

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    5
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AllMusic Review by

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."

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