Erick Sermon once revealed he could have signed 50 Cent
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Erick Sermon once revealed he could have signed 50 Cent

EPMD lyricist Erick Sermon was a tenacious force during the late 1990s and early 2000s, and with anthems such as ‘React’ and ‘Da Joint’, it is impossible to deny the quality of his music. That said, during an appearance on the Math Hoffa podcast In My Expert Opinion, Sermon made an intriguing revelation. 

Speaking about the early days of his career, the No Pressure revealed that he had the opportunity to sign 50 Cent before Eminem. It is well known that, prior to signing with Shady Records, 50 Cent was a highly sought-after underground act that had meetings with Bad Boy but ended up at Columbia Records.

However, few know that Erick Sermon was working with 50 Cent so regularly that he was ready to welcome him into his collective Def Squad. Sermon explained to Hoffa, “Well, Cory [Rooney, then Senior Vice President of Sony] lived next door to me. Cory was with Sony and The Trackmasters.”

Columbia is a subsidiary of Sony Music Group. 50 Cent (real name Curtis Jackson) was signed to Sony during this period. Continuing his story, Sermon recalled, “So Cory brought 50 to the crib. And you know, this is early Fifty. Fifty used to come to the house all the time, and we’d do records. So, he was Def Squad. Cory just felt that it was best for him to be over here.”

Sermon revealed that he produced ‘Da Heatwave’ for 50 Cent, a 2000 single featuring N.O.R.E. However, this was the last song he did before Jackson’s infamous Queens shooting.

Speaking about the song, Sermon unveiled, “That was his first single before he got shot up. As far as the barking — whoever he was dissing, I didn’t care. If you roll with me, it was cool. I wasn’t tripping on that. If you are with me, then they’re gonna have to say something to me, too.”

During the outro of ‘Da Heatwave’, 50 Cent raps, “Erick Sermon, 2000 shit / Def Squad n*gga, 50 Cent n*gga / What-what n*gga!” Following their conversation about 50 Cent’s proximity to Erick Sermon and his label, Hoffa spoke to the Long Island artist about a misunderstanding EPMD had with Rakim.

Revealing that the Paid In Full emcee thought that EPMD was dissing him on their 1988, ‘You’re A Customer’. Explaining the misunderstanding, Sermon elaborated, “Rakim came out with ‘I Ain’t No Joke’ and said, ‘You could get a smack for this, I ain’t no joke.’ Then we came out with ‘You’re A Customer’ and said, ‘It’s like a Diggum Smack / Smack me and I’ll smack you back.’ The hood took it, and they [told Rakim], ‘You heard what EPMD said? They dissed you.'” 

It led to a subliminal tit-for-tat. However, it never resulted in a full-scale lyrical war. You can listen to Sermon speaking on In My Expert Opinion in the video below.