Johnny Nunez, WireImage
Over the last few years, the Queens, N.Y. MC has frequently questioned the manhood of West, criticized his adventurous fashion sense and slammed him for his 2009 VMA outburst. But recently 50 has seemingly warmed up to West, as news that a joint European tour between the two superstars is in the making. For Banks, the intriguing union came as no surprise. He says there has always been unspoken reverence for West amongst the G-Unit clique.
"I wasn't shocked to be honest with you," Banks tells The BoomBox of 50's future collaboration with West, who tweeted in early September that Banks was the most underrated MC in the game. "Kanye was always dope to me. His music has never been questioned. It was more about entertainment, not beef. 50 and Kanye both at times have expressed the respect they had for each other as artists. It's all about timing. That's what hip-hop is all about, change."
During their recording session, Banks and West hammered out songs that will be featured on both of their upcoming releases -- 'The Hunger for More 2' and the tentatively titled 'My Dark Twisted Fantasy,' respectively. "The Kanye track that will be on my album is called 'Trackstar,'" Banks explains. "I think that certain records are just a little more special when they are waited on."
These days, success has tasted sweeter for Banks. Following his 2004 double platinum debut 'The Hunger for More,' the album sales of his G-Unit contingent have steadily declined. "I've had sunny spots in my career and I've had dark spots, too," he says of the music industry seesaw. "I think that to experience both you appreciate the good things that happen from here to the future a little bit more."
Indeed, after Banks found himself parting ways with his longtime label home Interscope, he achieved a coup selling over 500,000 copies of his independent single 'Beamer, Benz or Bentley.' Now the rapper is gearing up for the release of 'The Hunger for More 2' due out November 23 -- a work that will feature the likes of Fabolous, West, Swizz Beatz, Pusha T, 50 Cent, Eminem, and R&B crooner Lloyd. "I was being counted out before I was actually in the race," Banks says of his comeback. "But 'Beamer ... ' proves that I have stood the test of time. To be counted out by everybody including your record label, it's a good thing to comeback on your own."