G-Unit’s Lloyd Banks recently spoke on the impact his camp has had on the hip-hop game and why 50 Cent‘s brand is responsible for revitalizing the mixtape circuit.
The “Punch Line King” believes the Unit’s early 2000’s mixtape success set a precedent for other artists.
“We changed the mixtape game. We had a movement in 2001 and 2002 that turned the mixtape into a demo. And I think we were the first people to take a mixtape serious enough to format it in song structure and be able to play our rendition behind whatever was playing. We just found the humor in older records and the aggressive content in the records that were less aggressive. So we just kind of took it and flipped it our own way, and went from being black-balled. So we had to make our own lane and force our way into the industry. I’m not going to say any names, but we didn’t have a welcome mat laid out when we came into the game.” (All Hip Hop)
Earlier this year, Dipset’s Freekey Zekey said his team helped popularize the mixtape game.
“We started the mixtape regime,” Zekey promised in an interview. “We started all of that. Everybody’s got their mixtape things through the Diplomats because we actually was giving y’all free albums. A lot of times when you do a mixtape, it’s called a mixtape because you’re mixing the lyrics you have on a song that’s already played. It’s a mixture of new raps and old beats. For us, we was giving you new beats, new raps and we was killing the streets and that’s how we got on and popped off so hard and 50 [Cent] followed suit and then it was a domino effect from there.” (Dr. Jays)
Last year, fellow New York rapper Fabolous spoke on whether or not mixtape releases had run their course.
“The Drake [So Far Gone] mixtape of course was a huge success,” Fab explained in an interview. “Lil Wayne‘s tape generated a lot of interest. I saw Wayne and just listening to his tape gave me kinda the feeling that people still accepted the mixtapes and wanted to hear it. I guess it’s particular artists that they attach to but I had felt even with the most high-class artists, people were getting so used to getting free music that the mixtape game wasn’t that influential anymore. So when I seen what [Wayne's] No Ceilings did, it let me see that there’s still definitely potential there, there’s still that market there. I think for me it’s definitely there because my albums tend to be a little more mainstream than my mixtapes.” (Real Talk NY)
West Coast rapper Game recently talked about the power behind a quality mixtape.
“A mixtape is pretty much just calling in favors from, you know, some of the biggest rap superstars who happen to be good friends of mine off the mic and them just delivering for me and me throwing it all out there. But an album, you know, I’ve got to take my time because that’s my legacy. I can joke and I can play around with different topics and lyrics and different rhyme patterns and sounds on a mixtape, but on an album I’ve got to take it seriously because that’s who I am, it’s what defines me.” (Rolling Stone)
Check out a recent Lloyd Banks interview down below: