Lloyd Banks is a 39 year old MC from New York City gaining notoriety in the 2000s for his witty punchlines along as well as being an original member of G-Unit alongside childhood friends 50 Cent & Tony Yayo. After the group’s silent disbandment in 2015, he kept himself busy for a little while by releasing A.O.N. 2 (All Or Nothing 2): L.I.U. (Live It Up) & Halloween Havoc 3: 4 Days of Fury just before taking on a 5-year hiatus that really lasted until he received a song placement on the soundtrack for Griselda Records’ theatrical debut Conflicted back in January. Given that & his appearance on the upcoming Ransom EP 7 that’s dropping at the kickstart of next week, Banks is officially making a comeback with his 4th full-length album.
“Propane” serves as a devilish opener with Lloyd jumping on a piano-tinged boom bap instrumental rapping about running cats out the game, but then the next song “Sidewalks” advises listeners to avoid the wrong territory & the keyboard melodies on here are more lavish in comparison to the opener. Freddie Gibbs tags along for the bleakly-produced “Empathy” as he & the Punchline King spit about being strong just before Roc Marciano comes into the fold for the soulful “Early Exit” to address the fact that they’ll always be respected.
Meanwhile on “Formaldehyde”, we get that drug dealer talk accompanied by Benny the Butcher backed by an icy beat just before going out for blood on the malicious “Death by Design” produced by Detroit’s very own The Olympicks. We go into a more trap sound on “Food” as Styles P accompanies Banks going at their competitions before the slickly-produced “Crown” is a unique take on the saying “heavy is the head that wears the crown”. The song “Falsified” with Ransom goes back into boom bap territory as they both explain how they can’t trust anyone while Lloyd expresses his feeling of paranoia on the siren-induced “Break Me Down”.
I think “Commitment” does it’s job as a romantic ballad especially with the gorgeous sample Chase N. Cashe & then on “Pain Pressure Paranoia”, we get a powerful look at his demons. “Stranger Things” has a trippier sound as Banks explains that 50 changed on him & the theme carries it’s way into “Drop 5”, which has a cinematic instrumental & lyrics about betrayal.
The bells on “Panic” are a nice touch as it speaks on “not letting pride kill our vibe”, but then he says “if you’re gonna call yourself family stay that way” on the drumless “Smoke & Mirrors”. The penultimate song “Dishonorable Discharge” with Vado finds the 2 talks about backstabbers over a hypnotic sample & then the album finishes with the title track, which is an impassioning anthem telling you to find which path is yours.
I was wondering if this day would ever come given the 5 year gap between this & Halloween Havoc 3: 4 Days of Fury, but I’m happy it did because I think The Course of the Inevitable is the comeback that Lloyd deserves. He takes it back to the basement in terms of the overall sound & gets a lot off his chest lyrically with of course his clever punchlines remaining intact.