There was something special about Lloyd Banks' Hunger for More. It was his hunger. He proved to be mighty with the pen, ready with the clever punch-lines and went on to showcase a charismatic "playboy" persona, all while making millions. And while selling records can't be too much of a negative thing, it can sometimes diminish hunger. Love'em or hate'em, you couldn't really front on the production that backed G-Unit for their first couple years in the game. With their last couple releases, namely Mobb Deep and Yayo, the sure shot production was a round of blanks.
Nevertheless, Banks is here to fend off the infamous sophomore jinx cliché on Rotten Apple. He came out the gates equipped with the radio/club single in "Hands Up." The romantic angle is covered by the Keri Hilson-assisted "Help." Add in a Southern posse cut ("Iceman" Feat. Young Buck, 8Ball and Scarface) and you've got the usual G-Unit formula in full effect. Unfortunately, this time around, it ain't working. The trite love song "Help" fails to convince anyone, especially after declaring you "wouldn't buy a chick a pump who had asthma." Guests appearances from Buck, Prodigy, Yayo and 50 are all forgettable performances and Rakim isn't even really featured on the album - his voice is just sampled in the hook.
All in all, he shows from time to time that he can still get with the multi syllabic rhyme schemes, which can sometimes balance out the uninventive topics. Hearing about guns, money and women gets old fast, but hearing his clever use of multis and punches makes it more intriguing. But it's pretty clear the hunger is no more and for the most part he chooses to sleepwalk through song after song.
Even the usually dependable production falls short for most of the album. Both 9th Wonder and Young RJ provide duds and Ron Browz is greatly inconsistent. Much like Banks' rapping, the beats just plod along. It is easy to expect less from some of his less talented G-Unit brethren, but Banks has shown himself to be capable of a lot. Minus a few moments where he shines, this album is as rotten as the City.