Where: Middle East Downstairs (Cambridge, MA)
When: November 22, 2013
Highlight: Hungry MC returns to mixtape form.
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Taking a brief pause between songs, Lloyd Banks boldly challenged the sold-out crowd to prove that they’d been loyal to Banko for the past decade. To punctuate his point, Banks requested all the lights turned up so he could see who claimed true love for the Punch Line King. Given the line-for-line recitation on his unreleased gem “Fly Like the Wind,” this was a room full of believers.
Recently, Banks has given good reason to hope, delivering a strong DJ Drama produced mixtape (Failure’s No Option) on Halloween. It has a more sparse sound than on previous Banks albums, and it plays to his strength as a live MC. The deeper tone matches how Banks delivered his bars on stage, showcased on the new track “Drop A Diamond.” And previously smooth album cuts, like “Any Girl,” were deconstructed as Banks sprayed the crowd with bottled water for a frenetic ”go shorty, go shorty, go!” chorus.
Sweat dripping from his face, Banks stated that since he had exceeded his contractual set time; the past 15 minutes were a gift. But the MC also wanted to provide some public service announcements, urging us to “cut that molly out; it’s crack,” and “use condoms; seriously, use condoms.” It was a genuinely compassionate moment, one that was followed up by Banks taking out his cell phone and pulling up a photo for the front row: cover art for Cold Corner 3, which he claimed could be released in two weeks.
Grinding and grinning the whole night, Lloyd Banks proved why Kanye once tweeted, “[he’s] the most underrated MC in the game.”