Lloyd Banks may be considered a veteran in the game by most accounts, but the Southside Jamaica, Queens rapper is still showing and proving a decade into his career. He's primed for a return to prominence with his next project, The Cold Corner 3 mixtape.

Once considered among the hottest young prospects in the rap game as G-Unit's resident rhyme animal, the mixtape legend and punchline king has endured everything from costly album leaks to internal strife with his crew and has managed to remain stoic. He's built a catalog filled with quality street albums and maintained his rep as one of rap's better lyricists, which he'll showcase on his upcoming solo efforts.

"Right now, I'm working on The Cold Corner 3, the third installment of that series that I started," Banks tells The Boombox during a sit-down in the New York office. "It was a part of that five mixtape bracket that I had put out, so I wanted to work on that. I actually pushed it back. My first DJ Drama mixtape that came out, called A.O.F.N.O. -- All or Nothing, Failure Is No Option. It was all me rapping over kind of Down South production."

However, Banks felt that his vision at the time wasn't what his hometown wanted to hear. "I just wanted to show I could do it, but at the time, it was kinda resistance in New York. They was kind of going on that point where they were like 'Yo, we wanna hear that real hip-hop!' So I had to push that to the side, create a whole 'nother mixtape, which ended up being the A.O.F.N.O tape, but that material was similar to The Cold Corner, so I had to get that out the way and then start all over again."

According to members of the Unit, the next order of business is The Cold Corner 3, which doesn't have a release date yetBanks seems noticeably excited about its release, relaying the message that fans can expect the mixtape "real soon." When asked about the actual roll-out for the tape, he plans to release a few "visuals and interviews," but prefers to keep it simple and not force the issue when it comes to his free releases. "I've never done promotion for a mixtape," he shares. "So I'm gonna treat this like a mixtape and then it's gonna help me segue into my actual album."

When pressed for specifics on the new LP, Banks is mum on details, but does confirm that the recording process has begun. "I don't have an actual title, but I'm writing. One record could change the whole feel of an album. Like The Hunger For More 2, the last album, "Home Sweet Home" was the first record I recorded. So that right there I was like 'Yo, I'ma go this way with it.' But definitely, they can look forward to a couple of solo projects from Banks."

Mixtapes are all good and dandy, but die-hard fans have been clamoring for a major release from the P.L.K., whose last release, 2010s The Hunger For More 2, came nearly five years ago. And with only three solo albums released within the span of a decade, Banks is at that pivotal juncture in his career where he has the opportunity to create a story of redemption and reignite his buzz or be relegated to underground acclaim; a rapper that is lauded for their rhyme skills and had all the tools for stardom, but lost their luster along the way. And with a new wave of spitters changing the tide and making their own imprint on the rap scene, the clock is definitely ticking. If we had to bet our cold hard cash, we'd say that Banks has more than a puncher's chance of making good on his solo return.

"This is my set-up for it. See, the thing about it is, I don't wanna be lucky, I wanna be ready. Because when I dropped "Beamer, Benz, or Bentley," I didn't have the rest of the album. Think about it, I had dropped that in January [2010]. I had to go in now and make my album. My s--- ain't come out til November [2010], same day as Nicki and Kanye. If I would've had the bulk done, I might've could've dropped that in June [of that year] by myself. So keeping that in mind, I wanted to take my time [with the album]."

Watch Lloyd Banks' "Beamer, Benz, or Bentley" Video Feat. Juelz Santana

The MC also touches on the pressures of following up a successful debut, which he experienced during the recording of his sophomore album. "A lot of people, they in the system and they're rushing cause they ain't got no choice," Banks says. "Like, if you look at a Big Sean or 2 Chainz and all of them, there's no such thing as a sophomore jinx. That's bulls---. It's just when you have an impact your first time, you're batter up. If you had the most success [on your first album], you gotta come back around. So they need you to go 2 Chainz, they need you to go Big Sean and everybody else.

"But the thing about an artist going on your second album is you're like, 'Damn, if I miss this, when the f--- is my next one coming out? Do I gotta wait til 2016?' So I think that's what kinda happened with me kinda too with my second project. If I could go back and do it again, I would wait, but I didn't have the luxury. You in [the] cycle; but now I'm an independent artist, I finally get a chance to sit back and watch everyone else fight, you know what I'm saying? And then pick my spot."

Fans looking for a new solo LP from Lloyd Banks may have to wait yet another year until his it touches down, but in the meantime, G-Unit's lyrical assassin is fully focused on providing quality material with The Cold Corner 3, which shows he's still hungry and motivated as ever.

"That overall was the whole message with the music, just to show that we love it. We're just having fun," Banks explains. "And just dating back to the Summer Jam show... we love the fans, but if you don't love what you do, they're not gonna receive it the same way. You can tell. You can tell when somebody's just there, like, 'I'm here' [laughs]. They don't really wanna be there. We're still in love with the art and we still practice our craft 'til this day. We in the studio all the time and we're gonna be on the road again. So I feel the overall message is to just put that stamp back out there for people who forgot."

His supporters are certainly hungry for more.

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