Rapper Lloyd Banks likely to headline Spring Fling

Rapper Lloyd Banks will likely bring his bulletproof vest and tales of street hustling to GW’s largely middle- and upper-class population.

The artist, a prot?g? of 50 Cent who released his own album last year, is slated to headline the Program Board’s annual Spring Fling on April 9, two officials at his management company said.

Program Board Chair Eric Wiegand would not confirm booking Banks, saying he cannot talk about acts until they are signed. He would not disclose how much acts are typically paid.

“Nothing’s been signed yet,” he said. “I can’t confirm it.”

Program Board typically gets rap acts to headline its annual spring concert in University Yard, Wiegand said, and looks for alternative bands and singer/songwriters for Fall Fest.

Last year’s concert featured Kanye West, who won best rap album and best rap song at the Feb. 13 Grammy Awards. Other past Spring Fling acts have included Jurassic 5 and the Roots.

Wiegand said his group tries to sign “someone with name recognition.” He added that GW was fortunate to land West last year.

“We got extremely lucky,” he said. “It’s a tough business to work with.”

One rapper who will not be coming to GW is 50 Cent, whose Web site on Monday mistakenly listed GW as one of his upcoming tour stops. On Monday, an official at ML Communications, the booking agents for 50 Cent and Banks among others, said 50 Cent’s site was showing Banks’s tour dates.

“(50 Cent’s) Web site is completely messed up,” said the official, who did not want to give his name until the company resolved the site errors.

50 Cent’s site (50Cent.com) showed GW as a tour stop until 2 p.m. Monday. Though Banks’s site abruptly removed GW from its list of stops on Tuesday, ML Communications officials said the rapper is still coming to Foggy Bottom. Asked why Banks’s site was not listing GW, Mike Lighty, CEO of ML Communications, said on Wednesday, “They will have to fix it.”

Banks entered the mainstream rap world in 2003, as a member of 50 Cent’s G-Unit. The rapper’s first solo album, “The Hunger For More,” hit number one on the Billboard charts when it debuted in summer 2004. Banks is one of several G-Unit members who has worn a bulletproof vest on stage.

Some students approved the choice of Banks, noting that he is a rising star in the rap world who will draw a sizable crowd.

“Lloyd Banks is awesome since people like hip-hop and rap, and his music is a mixture of both of these,” freshman Ketan Patel said. “It will be good especially if he brings his group, G-Unit.”

“I think it will bring a large crowd. It’ll bring a big hype to GW

because he’s popular,” freshman Aditi Ramchandani said. “It’s also cool because it gives us a reason to brag to other schools – ‘Guess who’s coming to our campus.'”

Senior Liz Castelli said, “GW always gets rappers, and the popularity of Lloyd Banks’ group will draw a crowd. The performances by Kanye West, Busta Rhymes and Jimmy Eat World in past years have been really good.”

-Sonia Gupta contributed to this report.

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