Lloyd Banks’ “The Last Of A Dope Era Dying” Is Symbolic Of So Many Changes (Audio)
Perhaps second to only the “Hip-Hop as a woman” metaphor, MCs have long employed the parallels of rapping with hustling. The very first song on Outkast’s debut album (“Myintrotoletuknow”) said it plainly. DJ Premier scratched that Andre 3000 line on Jay Z’s more expanded “Rap Game / Crack Game” three years later. From Raekwon to Rick Ross, E-40 to Re-Up Gang, Master P to Too Short, a lot of great metaphor music product has hit the streets—as fans still chase their high.
Lloyd Banks entered the mainstream in the early 2000s, as a key role-player in G-Unit. 50 Cent’s outfit represented ironclad street respect taking its bravery and hard nosed tactics to the studio booth. Bulletproof vests, armored cars, and mean-mugs were part of the image used, transitioning Rap from its late ’90s grandeur to the corner—where money and silk shirts seemingly couldn’t save you. It took fearlessness and talent, whatever your hustle.
In 2016, Lambo Lloyd appears to be standing definitively alone, unlike any point in the last 15 years. Known for song and mixtape series, the Queens, New Yorker is upon “Blue Friday.” This week’s inclusion, “Last Of A Dope Era Dying” is extremely grabbing. Now, the metaphor of dope music and dope dealing is used in the face of changing times. As the streets of New York are fast gentrifying, the images of street respect are changing, and laws are in place making it harder to live outside the law, Banks signals the end. Moreover, attacking a David Axelrod sample-based beat, the MC also appears to be saying that the qualifiers of “dope” music are changing too—so what Heads thought was great, is on its way out in the face of the changing guard.
“Blue Fridays” is a lead-up to Banks’ fourth solo album, TRU. It will be his first LP in more than six years, and first without G-Unit.