50 Cent Explains Why Despite Their Beef Prodigy & Tupac Were Truly Alike (Video)
In May of 2006, Mobb Deep would release their seventh album, a first with G-Unit/Interscope Records. Blood Money would be Prodigy and Havoc’s lone album with 50 Cent. However, a Queens, New York bond seemed especially strong, when Curtis Jackson—at the top of the Rap food-chain gave his borough neighbors luxury cars, plausibly sizable record contracts, and landed them on 2005’s “Outta Control (Remix),” the highest chart appearance in their career. As M.O.P. and Ma$e joined M-O-B-B as a (less fruitful) wing of G-Unit expansion, it was a memorable time. Amidst beef with JAY-Z, Keith Murray, and others, Fif’s label was a safe harbor and a new chapter for the former Loud Records hit-makers.
This morning, 50 Cent appeared on HOT 97’s Ebro In The Morning. Campaigning for his new 50 Central comedy series on BET, the G-Unit honcho was asked to remember Prodigy and their time together, by Peter Rosenberg. At 9:30, 50 Cent opens up. “When P passed…I didn’t even deal with that, right away. ‘Cause I didn’t…I was like, ‘Oh, word?’ I didn’t know how to actually deal with it, ’cause I’m watchin’ everybody else’s response to it. It felt like when Biggie passed, or somebody that meant a whole lot to our culture passed away. And I didn’t feel that energy prior to him [dying]. It was like a new CD came out, because he passed away, that boost of energy that people have. Love me while I’m here; don’t love me when I’m gone.”
50 remembers getting the call this June. “I was in the south of France when they called me [with the news]. I had a tuxedo and stuff on, doin’ some stuff for television; they had a festival out there. I stopped to go outside for a little while,” However, he says some interesting things about Prodigy’s upbringing and artistry. “When I write a book, I’m writing with a writer. Prodigy and Tupac were very similar. They’re really art students that took on the theme of thuggin’. It was too advanced, the craft. The part of their development was too advanced for them to be anything [but artists]. When [JAY-Z put the slide up of Prodigy in dance clothes at Summer Jam], his mother had a dance studio. He was cultured.” 50 Cent thinks it’s not something to be mocked. “That was something that [some people clowned] because of the theme of Mobb Deep. But in reality, it just means that you’ve been exposed to more [culture] as an artist.” He says that like Tupac’s writing of poetry and an unfinished memoir, Prodigy was a true author and editor as an MC. “Prodigy’s case, he was goin’ page by page, writing the book. I’m lookin’, goin’, ‘I can’t do that; I ain’t got time to do that.'” 50 jokes that he’s impulsive and fails to proofread his work until later. Meanwhile, Prodigy commanded his art for 25 years and counting. Prodigy did of course become a published author of a memoir, a cookbook, and additional titles in the last six years of his career.
Rosenberg asks 50 if he considers Mobb Deep’s one album, one mixtape, and several years with G-Unit a failure. Blood Money is not remembered with the reverence of Mobb’s 1995-2005 run, and a departure from some of the grimy elements. “It was a success. They sold more records. It was exposure for them. Look, Mobb Deep had already made it to a space where people already knew what they were gonna receive from a Mobb Deep project. They’re gonna sell, maximum 700,000 pieces—and you get to a point where 500,000 is a success. Every time singles came out, they performed [at] a certain rate. I knew what I was gettin’ into when I got ’em.” In 2009, M-O-B-B announced their departure from G-Unit, following a changing industry. Soon after, they released street LP, The Safe Is Cracked.
Before moving on to other subjects, 50 Cent reveals that his bond with Mobb began around 2001. 50’s manager, Chris Lighty, also handled P and Havoc’s career in those days. As Lighty (who also since passed) left his post at Def Jam Records to build his Violator management company into an imprint, he grouped 50, Mobb Deep, and others artists. “There was a point where [Chris Lighty] paid me to be a part of [Mobb Deep’s] package because he felt like it would get picked up with my participation. So it was the Violator [The Album 2.0], with the [illustrated] faces [on the cover], the Mobb Deep album, then 50 Cent and G-Unit [projects]. That would be enough for him to get the label deal…So we did that for 90 days. We had met with everyone and never mentioned that, ’cause they wanted the overall deal.” As Lighty shopped distributors, 50 Cent got a Friday night call from Eminem. Against the advice of another power-broker, Steve Stoute, 50 Cent accepted Eminem’s offer. Within a year, he would be a superstar. Meanwhile, Mobb signed with Jive Records for lone release, Amerikaz Nightmare, before reuniting with Fif.
Elsewhere in the interview, 50 Cent opens up on his gratitude and respect for N.O.R.E., why JAY-Z’s 4:44 is “too smart” (despite being currently in 50’s car), and why his disses towards Lil Wayne and Birdman were never actual beef.
#BonusBeat: This recent TBD episode looks back at September 11, 2007—and how losing the sales battle to Kanye West and Graduation was a major turning point for not just 50 Cent, but all of Rap music: