50 Cent has been at the forefront of hip-hop culture since he signed with Shady Records in 2001 and was arguably one of the biggest MCs of the early-2000s. His debut album, Get Rich Or Die Tryin’, overshadowed albums from the likes of Jay-Z and others. However, 50 Cent (real name Curtis Jackson) wishes that there was another rapper who blew up like him.
When Jackson first emerged, he made sure to bring attention to his crew, G-Unit, comprised of Tony Yayo, Lloyd Banks, and Young Buck. Although 50 achieved an unfathomable amount of fame with hits such as ‘In Da Club’ and ‘Candy Shop’, looking back, the lyricist wishes his counterparts had been allowed to succeed too.
Jackson grew up with Tony Yayo and Lloyd Banks in South Jamaica, Queens and, as teenagers, they began rapping together, eventually forming G-Unit. Following the release of his debut project in 2003, the trio released their collective body of work, Beg For Mercy.
50 Cent used his success and popularity at that moment to draw attention to his peers. However, in an interview with Big Boy on The Neighbourhood, Jackson admitted that he remains sad that Tony Yayo never reached the same level as him. During his conversation, he stated, “My solo album took off so big that I just brought them with me. So it was clear that it was me creating opportunity for everybody else in the crew, but we was all together. I wish it would have been Yayo because then I coulda did all of the business.”
He continued, “If he woulda did what 50 Cent did, then I would have been running the whole thing. It would still be two of us,” he added. “He’d still be 50 Cent as the artist, and I’d be the largest asset to us.”
Tony Yayo had some moderate success but only released one solo studio album, 2005’s Thoughts of a Predicate Felon. However, he never managed to reach the heights of 50 Cent.
Despite all of this, Tony Yayo was never bitter towards Jackson’s success and, in an interview on the Only Way Out podcast, admitted 50 Cent helped him and others ensure that they stayed out of trouble. You can watch Jackson reflecting on his G-Unit peers below.