Lloyd Banks Rotten Apple

"Banks don’t rap with a backpack/I’m in it for the money/The money/The cake”: that, from "The Cake,” pretty much constitutes a statement of purpose from Lloyd Banks. On his debut, Hungry for More, Banks pleased G-Unit fans with his relatively sharp punch lines and proclivity for really long lines, but on sophomore effort Rotten Apple, Banks just sounds worn down. The relentless boasting about unit-moving, not to mention the usual triumvirate of cars, money and women, seems to be just as exhausting for Banks as it is for the listener. People who are really into the whole G-Unit thing will still want to check this out, thanks to the roster of guest appearances (50 thrice, Tony Yayo, some Mobb Deep) and adherence to the G-Unit formula. But for everyone else this’ll be an endurance test, an overwhelmingly bleak, uninspired record on which Bank seems overcome with a Michael-J.-Fox-in-Back-to-the-Future-2 sighing weariness. (Interscope)