As Sickamore pointed out earlier this week, people simply do not like Lloyd Banks. Not on the Internet, obviously, but not in the press either. Rotten Apple has only been out a couple of days and the piss-poor reviews are already stacking up. Critics are complaining the beats on the LP are inconsistent, that “Hands Up” is a lifeless remake of “On Fire,” that playboy’s punch lines aren’t what they once were. Folks are saying dude is a one-dimensional robot rapper—that he lacks excitement, that he lacks charisma, that he’s perpetually on autopilot. They’re saying that Banks has lost his hunger with Rotten Album.

As it happens, they’re wrong. I’m not saying the Boy Wonder is the hottest rapper out. I’m not saying he’s enough to halt the inevitable G-Unit downfall so many have been praying for. (What goes up must come down.) And I’m certainly not saying he’s gonna Bring New York Back! or anything crazy. [1] I’m just saying that Banks is not garbage [2] and any music critic that says so is caught up in negative hype.

People need to sit down and actually listen to the album. It’s not bad. It’s a solid release, complete with some dope beats (“The Cake”) and some clever rhymes (“Enough to make a weak man go mano-a-mano/Guess what? I’m strong as rum out of the bottle”) and some decent car bangers (“Playboy 2”). “Hands Up” is fire for the clubs. [3] “Make a Move” and “Ice Man” aren’t half bad either. [4] The requisite Excuse Me Miss effort “Help” fits the thug-love-for-the-ladies bill.

I doubt Banks will get a smash hit with any of these records, but he’s still young. Sometimes the tortoise wins the race rather than the hare. I don’t think he can be written off just yet.

Can Cheeba Stasher stigma and false rumors about a gay porn tape really hurt a decent rapper that much? Guess we’re about to find out.

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[2] Favorite Banks track: “Til the End”

[3] I’m female, and if you haven’t heard, us females like to dance. Get our Shakira on, and whatnot.

[4] I need some Buck in my life. Not to mention a little Clipse. Jive, what’s up? Are you going to mess around and ruin my Christmas?