I decided to avoid the obvious questions that will be answered in every other interview and ask some more open ended ones as G-Unit gear up to release "Terminate On Sight" next month.
MVRemix: In a recent interview I read with Yayo, you were basically quoted as saying it's "no longer the year of the bad guy," how do you guys feel about today's music?
Tony Yayo: I don't think 'cause... That was Banks that quoted that...
Lloyd Banks: Yeah.
Tony Yayo: But he's absolutely right. I'ma let Banks tell you why he's quoted that.
Lloyd Banks: I just feel like, to be honest, nowadays in music it's just like everybody's agreeing to disagree. I don't know where a lot of the unnecessary heat comes from or the backlash. I really don't understand it but it's one thing nowadays that's the same with us. We come from a place, an environment where certain things just 50/50. Nobody's gonna take disrespect from no angle from anybody. Not even my Moms or my Grandmoms. Like my Grandmom's will curse you the fuck out if you deserve to. You understand. You be in a supermarket and another lady is pushing her cart and it rolls over my mother's foot and she don't say, "Excuse me," she might get a can in her face or something. These are things that happen and you can't expect anything less or more. It is what it is. I just feel like it's the time of day in music today where aggression is being looked at as a problem. We're dealing with problems every day; look at the Sean Bell situation.
My closest friends have been murdered on the rise to the top, so people only see the success. They don't understand what goes on in between times. So like them stories that should be heard, like my best friends have been murdered or doing 25 or 45 years in prison, I feel like their stories are just as important and as relevant as anybody else's. I just feel like everybody's now pushing that message in reality, and I'm not in denial.
MVRemix: Do you feel like the climate of music has changed as a result? I mean 2003 was really big for G-Unit and more aggressive rap sounds, where as now it's gone to sort of a more watered down southern feel. Do you feel G-Unit are still as relevant as you were a few years back?
Tony Yayo: Yeah hold up - I mean, let me answer that Banks. I feel like we're still relevant, 'cause if you go to Thisis50.com and you look at "Elephant In The Sand" it got over a million downloads in a couple of days. You look at "Return Of The Bodysnatchers," that got over a million downloads. So that just tells you there's over a million people who's at their computer goin' to get our mixtapes. Both times. That's two million people for bodies of work that we're just giving you for free. One thing for G-Unit, I feel we paved the way for every artist in the mixtape game 'cause we're the artists that monopolized the most. We're still relevant. We're definitely still relevant in the mixtape game, you know, and the proof is in the pudding from Thisis50.com how we can put out a mixtape and it can sell more than a guy's album. We're giving it to you for free! We're giving it to you for free. We've got another mixtape coming out called with DJ Drama and DJ Whoo Kid, two of the biggest DJ's. One from the south and one from New York City; I guarantee that's gonna sell crazy. We took a song from "Elephant In The Sand," "Rider Part 2" and put it on a mixtape. That was chosen, and radio picked it up. So we took a freestyle record that we didn't have no plans of making that an album cut, that made it to the album because it got radio spins. Didn't nobody touch it, it was just 'cause people liked it.
I think it's a catch 22 with G-Unit, I think sometimes girl wanna hear "Karma" from Banks and the next time they wanna hear "Warrior Part 2," a more aggressive record. You know, they wanna hear "21 Questions" from 50, then they wanna hear "Guns Come Out" or "What Up Gangsta" from 50. Or they wanna hear "Curious" from me, and at the same time they wanna hear "I Don't Love Hoes" from me, or "I Know You Don't Love Me" and stuff like that. So you know, people like us, we've got the talent to make aggressive records, but we've got the talent to make commercial records too. It's a catch 22 to everything.
MVRemix: Where do you see the group in five years as a result?
Tony Yayo: Where do I see the group going in five years time? I see the group, man, we into all kinds of businesses - it don't stop. We've got the video game comin' out in the winter time, fourth quarter "Elephant In The Sand" [Blood In The Sand]. We're all doing movies right now, Banks is into adult films. He has two AVN awards he had previously. His first adult film was a success, "Groupie Love," and me, I'm doin' all kinds of acting. I'm havin' movies bein' thrown at me. I currently been on the set with [Robert] Deniro and [Al] Pacino and 50 for "Righteous Kill," as well as Donnie Wahlberg. You know, 50 shootin' a movie with Val Kilmer and Sharon Stone right now.
So our hands is into everything, our hands is into real estate. You know, we own homes... We some smart guys here. I see the next step being films. I can see myself bein' a big director or producer or somethin'. 'Cause you know 50, he's gettin' us... That's like our new hustle. But you know we ain't never forget the music 'cause the music is our original love. That's love. That's where I lost my virginity to. Music. Anything else in the game that comes along, we're just gonna go hard. We just have a lot of things goin' on. So in the next couple of years I just see us gettin' more money. Gettin' more richer... and more. I know Banks want more, I know I want more and I know 50 always wants more. So I mean it's all about the hustle.
Lâ€™Orange and Stik Figa â€“ The City Under The City album review
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MVRemix Urban | Online Hip Hop Magazine | US and Canadian Underground Hip Hop - exclusive interviews, reviews, articles