50 Cent’s 2003 debut album, Get Wealthy or Die Tryin’, immediately made him one of many largest musicians on the planet, however moderately than observe it instantly with one other solo effort, 50 leveraged his new fame to make his subsequent launch a gaggle effort: Beg for Mercy, the primary studio album by G-Unit, the rap group he had shaped in his native South Jamaica, Queens, along with his associates Tony Yayo and Lloyd Banks. The place 50 was the charismatic group chief with a savant-like means to rattle off pop hooks even on mixtape tracks—and Yayo’s hypeman absurdity was chopped, imperfectly, into 16-bar increments—Banks was a consummate punchline rapper, staking his status on two- to four-bar bursts of wit and wordplay.
Within the almost 20 years since Banks adopted Beg For Mercy along with his solo debut, 2004’s The Starvation For Extra, the rapper has tried to refine and deepen this type by a zealous writing routine. “You assume I’m right here ‘reason behind expertise?” he asks on one tune from The Course of the Inevitable 2, his fifth solo album, which is due out at present. “It was the repetition.” GQ spoke with Banks over the cellphone about his childhood in Queens, his adjustment to the primary wave of G-Unit fame, and stepping away from music to give attention to his household.
You talked about entering into plenty of totally different artistic mediums throughout your youth: music, poetry, visible artwork. What activated that aspect of your mind?
There are plenty of components in hip-hop. My uncle used to take us out to Brooklyn, and I used to see them breakdance on the cardboard, break down a bunch of bins and be proper within the sq.. After which graffiti drew me into tagging, be it at school the place I’m not purported to be doing it, or outdoors, or simply in my notebooks. I used to be drawn to the artwork of graffiti, which led to me drawing characters and issues of that nature. Even when The Boondocks was once within the newspaper, I might take psychological snapshots after which create my very own characters. After which the poetry began to kind once I obtained into hip-hop. I used to be heavy on plenty of lyrical-driven artists, the Rakims and Huge Daddy Kanes and Nas’s. I needed to be a author. After I was at school, once I was purported to be doing work, or if I’d completed my work quick sufficient, I might begin writing. After which it went to me strolling round, studying the dictionary. So I can’t actually level out one factor, I simply really feel like I’m an individual who was heavy into artwork as an entire.
What identify had been you tagging with?
Like lazing round?
Nah—I’ve by no means instructed no one this besides the precise particular person I adopted the identify from, but it surely was Layzie Bone. I used to be a giant Bone Thugs-n-Concord fan. Really, the evening 2Pac handed away was the primary main live performance that I went to, at Nassau Coliseum. It was Nas performing, The Agency, The Fugees, and Bone Thugs. That was my first time seeing them carry out. A couple of years again, in Texas, I used to be truly on tour with Bone Thugs, and I obtained an opportunity to inform them that I kinda adopted that identify from that.