01.) “Ain’t No Click” (feat. Tony Yayo) (4.5 out of 5) Produced by Havoc
Lloyd Banks kicks-off his highly anticipated debut effort with a lyrical assault over a very impressive production courtesy of Mobb Deep’s Havoc. Havoc has really been on a hot streak as-of late. Tony Yayo rides shotgun and offers-up a very impressive 16… It’s great to have Yayo home.
02.) “Playboy” (4 out of 5) Produced by Ron Browz
Ron Browz is another producer who’s been offering-up quite a-bit of heat as-of late. Banks does a very nice job riding Browz’ difficult production. “Playboy” serves as proof that Banks is quite possibly today’s top punch-line MC.
03.) “Warrior” (5 out of 5) Produced by Thayod Ausar
“Warrior” is quite possibly Banks’ best lyrical performance to-date. “So, if that’s ya man warn him/’Cause theres enough bullets in here to hit every NBA patch on ’em” is arguably “The Hunger For More’s” best punch-line. The catchy hook along with the impressive production of Thayod Ausar have made this track a staple in my playlist for the past few months.
04.) “On Fire” (5 out of 5) Produced by K1 Mil
The epic production of new-comer K1 Mil (a.k.a. Kwame) is what’s most impressive about Lloyd Banks’ lead single. Banks does the production justice by dropping two outstanding verses and by providing a catchy chorus along with mentor 50 Cent. I just can’t get enough of this track.
05.) “I Get High” (feat. 50 Cent and Snoop Dogg) (3.5 out of 5) Produced by Hi-Tek
Lloyd Banks does a decent job with this track. It almost goes without saying that he’s capable of MUCH better than these two verses… Especially his second verse. Snoopy drops what may-very-well-be his weakest verse to-date. If you ask me… Snoop has smoked himself wack. What saves this tracks fate is the catchy hook and the typical (but dope) production of Hi-Tek.
06.) “I’m So Fly” (4.8 out of 5) Produced by Timbaland
The irisistable hook and the outstanding production of Timbaland make this an almost too-easy choice for the second single. “You think that bandana makes you look gangsta but all I see is a hankerchief!” and “I’m in the hood with more straps than a Jan-Sport!” are just two examples of how brutally Banks treats Timbaland’s keyboard-driven production.
07.) “Work Magic” (feat. Young Buck) (3.8 out of 5) Produced by Scram Jones
Lloyd Banks and Young Buck (more-so Young Buck) do a very nice job with the bass-heavy production of new-comer Scram Jones. The only problem I have with this track is the repetitiveness of the production… It becomes half-way annoying after a while. I also think that the hook could have been better.
08.) “If You So Gangsta” (3.5 out of 5) Produced by Chad Beat and Sha Money XL
The Boy Wonder is obviously following his mentor’s blueprint for multi-platinum success with this track. “If You So Gangsta” is obviously Lloyd Banks’ version of 50 Cent’s 2002 classic, “Wanksta”. Still, the bouncy beat and the catchy hook make this track acceptable… Eventhough it’s obvious mix-tape material.
09.) “Warrior, Part 2” (feat. 50 Cent, Eminem and Nate Dogg) (5 out of 5) Produced by Eminem
If you have-yet to read the album credits then you may think that this track is produced by the legendary Dr. Dre. Well… It’s not. Eminem has really came into his own as a credible producer. It’s really difficult to decide who to call the star of “Warrior, Part 2”. This is because all three MC’s do an outstanding job with their respective verses. I have one question for you… Is it even possible for Nate Dogg to come half-way wack on a hook? Because right-now I’m thinking that it’s damn-near impossible.
10.) “Karma” (5 out of 5) Produced by Greg Doby
Is it just me or does it smell like a smash hit-single in here? This is my personal favorite track featured on “The Hunger For More”. The chorus and the production on this track are absolutly perfect. I wouldn’t be the least-bit suprised if more people are now knocking on the door’s of R&B crooner KC and producer Greg “Ginx” Doby as a result of this track. Call me optomistic… But I’m thinking right about now that Lloyd Banks must have read my review of “Smile” because he’s really stepped-up his rhyme game on this track… Especially when compared to “Smile”.
11.) “When The Chips Are Down” (feat. The Game) (4.5 out of 5) Produced by Black Jeruz and Sha Money XL
There is no question in my mind as-to who is the star of “When The Chips Are Down”. The Game absolutly MURDERS the outstanding keyboard-driven production of Black Jeruz and Sha Money XL. In case you haven’t noticed… There is a reason why there has been such a massive buzz around this kid. The Game WILL resurrect the West Coast.
12.) “‘Til The End” (5 out of 5) Produced by Eminem
First off… This is the best production featured on “The Hunger For More”. Eminem’s career-best production is proof that he is well on his way to becoming one of the Hip-Hop game’s premier producers. Lloyd Banks does an excellent job crafting excellent verses over Eminem’s bass-heavy piano-driven production. I’m also REALLY feelin’ Nate Dogg’s background vocals on this track.
13.) “Die One Day” (3.5 out of 5) Produced by Baby Grand
It’s easy to ignore the very average production of this track when you pay attention to Lloyd Banks’ outstanding lyricism. Suprisingly… This is the only track featured on “The Hunger For More” that is worth the listen simply for it’s lyricism.
14.) “South Side Story” (4.5 out of 5) Produced by The Diaz Brothers
“South Side Story” showcases Lloyd Banks’ outstanding story-telling abilities. The first verse in-particular is alone Hip-Hop Quotable material. It may very well be the best verse of Banks’ career. The guitar-driven production of the Diaz Brothers is also great. I’m also lovin’ the hook featured on this track. This was a great way to conclude this album.
Lloyd Banks’ debut album “The Hunger For More” features classic material. But is it a classic album? The answer right now is… No. Now, down the line do I think it will creep up into the world of classic material… Possibly. The problem with the album is that it features tracks that just don’t match up to other tracks featured on the album. At times it’s rather obvious that the product was rushed. But it definitly wasn’t rushed to the extent of “Beg For Mercy”. “The Hunger For More” seems to land right-smack-in-the-middle of the status of “Get Rich Or Die Tryin'” and the status of “Beg For Mercy”. Next time around I’m expecting Banks to concentrate on his lyricism to the extent that we were promised that it would be concentrated-on this time around. With the production featured on the album Banks had more than enough inspiration to craft 14 classic tracks… Instead he crafted five classic tracks: “Warrior”, “On Fire”, “Warrior, Part 2”, “Karma” and “‘Til The End”. Now… Is “The Hunger For More” worth checking out? Without a doubt it is! I love this album. If you ask me… “The Hunger For More” is easily the hottest album of Summer 2004. I would DEFINITLY pick-it-up again if I could do it all again. I advise you to do the same as I did and purchase Lloyd Banks’ debut album.
FINAL RATING: 4 out of 5