MMG's Meek Mill & G-Unit's Lloyd Banks Backsage Beef Pops Off On Thanksgiving Night!
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Originally, this was going to be a write-up of the Funkmaster Flex Anniversary Show.*
Unfortunately for me (and, I suppose, fortunately for you — why settle for another show review with photos when you can hear about the good, the bad, & the ugly?), it became a TOTALLY different show. At a certain point, I felt like I was in a Fellini movie…it was that surreal.
It started out good enough: NYC rappers Uncle Murda, Juelz Santana, French Montana, & newcomer/rap familial prodigy John Depp (signed to Santana’s Skullgang group, Depp is also the cousin of G-Unit veteran Lloyd Banks — neither of which he played upon that night, choosing instead to win the crowd over with a high-energy performance kinetic enough to knock down a building) paid homage to the legendary Hot 97 DJ as Trav, Ryan Leslie, & Maino joined in at various times.
But then, standing from the stage, watching the swarms of people grow increasingly restless, knowing that the Best Buy Theater has a strict curfew of 1:00AM (as a union house, any time over the prescribed 1:00AM curfew would incur thousands of dollars in fines & overtime, which is a huge liability to a promoter), I immediately followed my press colleagues to the backstage area.
Now, as a veteran of the entertainment industry, I have developed a keen sense of when there’s a set-up, versus when there’s a genuine miscommunication. No, I don’t “originally” come from hip-hop — I cut my teeth on the much-tougher* rock’n'roll circuit — but I’ve been around long enough, and have a finely-enough-tuned BS meter, to know when trouble is on the horizon.
Backstage at this concert, we witnessed this trouble first-hand.
My press colleagues and I witnessed the promoter “negotiate” that Maybach Music Group performer Meek Mills was going to close the show (originally, Lloyd Banks was due to close the show — this per the run of show that was given to each of us) and I overheard the comment of “bigger hits.” We witnessed various “crews” running around backstage trying to make themselves look busy (and failing miserably). At one point, I asked a woman what was going on with the lineup — her answer to me was, “Well, we’re still negotiating with Lloyd Banks. He’s being a bit of a diva, you know how he is, so he may not perform.”
Immediately, I knew that something was wrong: I DO know “how he is,” lady — Lloyd Banks is many things, but “diva” isn’t one of them, I thought, but did not say. Instead, I pressed further, choosing my words carefully to gain as much insight about their line of thought as I possibly could. I proceeded to play dumb as I affected a ditzy tone: “Oh, I see, yes. But there are so many people out there looking to see Banks, and doesn’t that dressing room sign say his name, and look, there are some groupies there just waiting for him, they’re so pretty” (if you consider infected-with-typhoid-fever an attractive look…) “so I cannot possibly see what could not be favorable for him!”
I think I lost a half-dozen brain cells with that statement, but it was well worth it, because she responded (rather brusquely): “LOOK! You want to know anything else, talk to [the promoter]. This is political. You must understand.”
Actually, I MUSTN’T do anything but stay Sicilian and drop dead, I thought, but did not say, as I turned around and re-joined my press colleagues. One leaned over, while looking on his cell phone, and said to me, “I just asked my guy upstairs. They said that they’re giving Banks a hard time deliberately, that he’s upstairs and they’re not letting him down. Someone said they wanted to try to record the f!ght to get it on Worldstar.”
“Who’s ‘they’?” I asked. “And what the hell is going on here? Do the people out there know this? I know there are a lot of people out there here to see Banks, they’re not going to take this well.”
The promoter then walked behind me and whispered to someone, “if we tell them that Banks isn’t performing, they have grounds for a refund. We can’t give them that. We need this money.”
At that point, Meek Mills’ DJ came to the stage & said, “PUT YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR IF YOU’RE A 50 HATER!”*
I ran into the green room and overheard the following statement (definitive source undetermined): “GET THAT n*gga BANKS TO f!ght! k!ll HIS CAREER!”
Oh, my, God, was all I could think. This is BAD. This is REALLY, REALLY BAD.
I couldn’t understand the promoter’s line of thought: clearly, he knew very little about the hip-hop industry if these were his deductions. Maybach Music is all over the various blogs, yet not one artist on that label has gone platinum, let alone gold (with only ONE notable exception: Rick Ross’ Teflon Don album has been certified gold by the RIAA, but no other). By contrast, for all the “hate” that 50 Cent can inspire, G-Unit’s Beg for Mercy has gone double-platinum, 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Trying has sold over 8 million units in the United States alone (it is the fourth-largest selling rap album in the history of modern music), and Lloyd Banks’ debut album has gone platinum (with sales of close to 2 million in the United States alone). Even Tony Yayo’s Thoughts of a Predicate Felon, for all that people make fun of Tony Yayo’s career, has a certified gold sales status.
So for any promoter — or anyone else — to even suggest that Maybach Music has “bigger sales” than anyone, let alone 50 Cent or anyone in G-Unit, is laughable at best and purely ignorant at worst.
Regardless of the sales, or lack thereof, of ANY artist, the bottom line is this: Lloyd Banks got the short end of the proverbial stick that night, and for no logical or justifiable reason.
As a respected journalist, editor, & photographer, I would be remiss to not report on this, no matter who sold what albums and where. The story, really, is NOT in who sold what albums — it’s the fact that Lloyd Banks was contracted to perform, the fans were there knowing he was going to perform, and due to some shady dealings & plays off of a “rap beef,” he did NOT perform, thereby leaving the fans disappointed.
The FANS have a RIGHT to know what REALLY happened — if for no other reason than for them to see that, but for the shady dealings & the unfair treatment of Lloyd Banks by the Powers that Be (ref. his Tweets, screen-capped here), he would be performing for them.
I overheard countless fans leave the Best Buy Theater that night who were, at best, expressing their disappointment, and at worst, showing outward venom towards Lloyd Banks for not performing. Everything from “I cannot believe that Banks didn’t perform” to “fu*k THAT n*gga, I’ll bet he was off fu*king some hoe and forgot to perform, that n*gga’s so concerned about fu*king bi*ches that he don’t give a fu*k about his fans so long as he gets pus*y!“
I was then watching people on Twitter promising to never buy another Banks album, calling him out online & accusing him of letting his fans down, and basically making him look like a fool.
That’s when it became incumbent upon me to set the record straight about Lloyd Banks, AND that night — because even if you don’t believe his online statements on the matter, you sure as hell have to believe an editor/journalist/photographer who was there, who witnessed everything firsthand, and who has no reason to lie to make anyone look better.
(My higher imperative — indeed, MY CAREER — is based upon my ability to report the truth, and speak truth to power.)
I have witnessed, firsthand, how much Lloyd Banks appreciates his fans. He has performed in cities that have scared me half to death, played at nearly-inhuman hours no matter how obviously dead-tired he was, and has behaved nothing short of completely gentlemanly to every single fan. He has poured his heart and soul out on stage, has never said anything short of “thank you so much” to every single fan that he has ever performed for, and obliges every request for pictures & autographs.
The thought — the mere suggestion — that Lloyd Banks would behave like a diva, that he would let his fans down deliberately, that he would not show up to a place he was due to perform in, or — worst of all — that he would forgo his fans and a performance that he was contracted for to get some play from a groupie (or a groupie who “starred” in a video & thinks she’s a “model” as a result) is just plain stupid, and is clearly not part of Lloyd Banks’ modus operandi.
I don’t know of an artist who is more loyal to, and grateful for, his fans than Lloyd Banks — and the fans repaid him for his loyalty & dedication by turning on him & a.ssuming the worst at the first chance they got. That, to me, is disgraceful — but it is my sincere hope that they did so because they didn’t know what really happened, and that this article parlays (correctly) the actuality of the situation.
I have no doubt that, sooner rather than later, he’ll play a make-up show, just for the benefit of his fans, just so they don’t feel disappointed…and even then, people will still complain about it because he’s “not following them on Twitter” or some other such nonsense.
Lloyd Banks Tweets throughout and after the show.
I would have thought that NYC — birthplace of hip-hop — would know its native sons better than that.**NYC, I am usually so proud of you…so proud to be a part of you…but for this? You should be ashamed.*If you want to know why NYC hip-hop isn’t “winning,” all you have to do is take a good look at yourselves.
Cliffnote: Banks was supposed to headline but those mmg n*ggas got security & the promoter to keep him out the buliding and tried to start a f!ght so banks could get jumped on tape so they could "end" his career..All so meek mill could close out the show.
They did my n*gga banks dirty, karma will come for those mmg n*ggas only so long fake thugs can pretend.
[pic - click to view] SMAG Exclusive: Setting the Record Straight on Lloyd Banks’ Performance (or lack thereof) at the Funkmaster Flex Anniversary Show | Scoop The Magazine (SMAG)
Last edited by MajorD; 11-27-2011 at 12:10 AM..