25 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About G-Unit
When talk about East Coast hip-hop from the early 2000s, you have to think of G-Unit came to mind. After a bullet-riddled 50 Cent connected with fellow Jamaica, Queens natives Tony Yayo and Lloyd Banks, the trio spearheaded a movement the likes of which have rarely been seen in the genre's history. Going on arguably the greatest mixtape run ever for a group with '50 Cent Is the Future,' 'No Mercy, No Fear' and 'God's Plan,' among others, the crew would gain a fan in one Marshall Mathers and the rest is history.
Rappers Young Buck and Game would be added (and subsequently dropped) along the way. Following a rocky period for the group in the latter half of the '00s, many believed the G-Unit brand would never be a hot commodity again. But after a reunion at Hot 97's Summer Jam Concert last month, G-Unit has now banded together, releasing a slew of one-off freestyles with plans for a comeback album slated to drop later this year. With the rap regime back in the game, we decided now would be a perfect time to share 25 Facts You Probably Didn't Know About G-Unit.
50 Cent's rap name is inspired by an infamous Brooklyn stick-up kid named Kelvin Martin. Nicknamed 50 Cent due to his diminutive size, it's been alleged that he robbed popular rappers such as Rakim and LL Cool J during the '80s and can ironically be spotted on the cover of Eric B. and Rakim's debut album, 'Paid In Full.'
On New Year's Eve in 2002, Tony Yayo was arrested on gun possession after police found multiple weapons in the trunk of his car. After discovering that Yayo had an outstanding warrant for jumping bail, Yayo was subsequently charged with bail-jumping and spent all of 2003 in prison, causing him to be absent for the recording of G-Unit's 'Beg For Mercy' album.
In the middle of their legendary mixtape run, G-Unit introduced a female rapper named Scarlett O'hara. The Harlem representative was featured on the 'No Mercy, No Fear' cut 'Elementary.' Both sides would split due to artistic differences soon after and the song would prove to be her only notable appearance on a G-Unit project.
On the first verse of his hit single 'Wanksta,' 50 rhymes that he "did a three to nine [year jail sentence], but actually only did six months in a rehabilitation program called Shock to avoid the potential three to nine-year jail sentence.
Casual fans may not know that years before being introduced to the masses as a G-Unit capo, Young Buck was once a cog in the Cash Money Records army. Discovered by Bryan "Baby" Williams during the late '90s, he was relegated to the bench before Juvenile took him on as a part of his UTP movement.
As a youngster, 50 Cent was nicknamed Boo-Boo by family and neighborhood friends.
Lloyd Banks was the victim of a shooting outside of a Jamaica, Queens nightclub on Sept. 11, 2001. He was shot twice, once in the back and once in the stomach before getting himself to the nearest hospital.
As the rap game's hottest prospect in 2002, 50 Cent had a bevy of record deal offers from various labels, one of which included Diddy's Bad Boy Records. 50 would eventually opt to join Eminem and Dr. Dre at Shady/Aftermath instead.
Tony Yayo and 50 Cent were already familiar with each other since they grew up in the same vicinity of Jamaica, Queens. Yayo initially caught Fif's attention as a rapper after he witnessed his rhyming talents at various neighborhood BBQs and decided to take the wild-card under his wing as an artist.
Despite actually being a native of Nashville, Tenn., Young Buck was once a part of the Cash Money Records UTP Playas before breaking away from the house that Baby built.
Like fellow rappers Noreaga and Fabolous, Lloyd Banks is also of Puerto Rican descent. His mother is Puerto Rican and his father is African American.
More than a half decade before his alliance with Aftermath Records, 50 Cent was a fledgling rapper signed under the late Run-D.M.C. DJ Jam Master Jay on his JMJ Records imprint.
Many fans of G-Unit may be soley familiar with DJ Whoo Kidd as G-Unit's go-to DJ, but in the earlier stages of his comeback, he also worked with a popular Queens DJ named Cutmaster C. Known for his mixtapes filled with the latest exclusives, he played a big part in re-introducing 50 to the masses, featuring him on his mixtapes and was the man responsible for the classic 'Best of 50 Cent' mixtape.
While building his G-Unit empire, 50 worked closely with former Def Jam exec Sha Money XL, who served as 50 Cent's manager and President of G-Unit Records.
In 2002, during his resurgence as a potential star, 50 Cent recorded vocals intended for a guest appearance on Jennifer Lopez's single 'I'm Gonna Be Alright.' He was eventually replaced by Nas in the video and on the album version. It has been speculated that the move was due to black-balling on the part of Murder Inc. Records.
Due to a plethora of rewind-worthy freestyles and appearances on various mixtapes, Lloyd Banks was named the 2003 Mixtape Artist of the Year at the now defunct Justo's Mixtape Awards.
Following appearances on various high-profile mixtapes, Los Angeles upstart Game signed a solo deal with Interscope Records. Unsure of how to promote his new signee, he suggested that he be introduced as the newest member of G-Unit, with whom he would release his debut album, 'The Documentary,' before being unceremoniously ousted from the clique.
In a recent interview with Power 105.1's 'The Breakfast Club,' 50 admitted to ghostwriting LL Cool J's lyrics for his 2002 hit single 'Paradise.'
In 2002, what was perceived as a subliminal diss towards Lloyd Banks from Joe Budden led to a series of disses between the two cliques, most notably between Budden and new G-Unit recruit Game. The beef between the two was eventually resolved with the two collaborating on a track called 'The Future' off of Budden's 'Padded Room' album.
While touring the country with Juvenile and his UTP crew, Young Buck met with 50 Cent during the New York City stop on the tour and was offered a potential spot on the Unit roster. Being that Juvenile was going through legal woes and couldn't offer Buck the proper push he needed at the time, both agreed to amicably split. Buck would go on to co-write and appear on the 'Get Rich or Die Trying' track 'Bloodhound' before joining the roster full-time.
During the recording process for his second solo album, then titled 'The Big Withdraw,' Lloyd Banks infamously lost a demo CD containing a number of tracks intended for the album. Banks would blame the slip-up on being involved in a threesome with groupies, stating "I'm assuming it had to be from one of those situations when you got too much going on around you. Maybe I'ma just stick to one girl from now on. That's the only explanation that makes sense. Sticky fingers."
Despite only releasing one album under the G-Unit umbrella, Game remains the crew's biggest commercial success outside of 50 Cent. 'The Documentary' outsold all solo G-Unit releases combined excluding 50 Cent as of 2014.
In 2004, following the release of G-Unit's 'Beg For Mercy,' Young Buck appeared in the accompanying music video to R&B singer Monica's single 'U Should've Known Better.' Soon, rumors of the two being an item surfaced, but after going on a few dates together, decided to go their separate ways.
In the video for his solo single 'Smile' from the G-Unit debut album 'Beg For Mercy,' Lloyd Banks' younger brother played a younger version of Banks in the clip.
In 2009, after reading and being influenced by author Robert Greene's popular book, The 48 Laws of Power,' 50 Cent linked up with Green to collaborate on 'The 50th Law.' The book, which was co-written by 50 and Greene, debuted on the top five of the New York Times bestseller list and was critically acclaimed by many media outlets.