Even the most ardent hip-hop fans may have trouble keeping up with the drama and accusations between 50 Cent and fellow G-Unit rappers Young Buck, Tony Yayo and Lloyd Banks. For years, the on-again, off-again crew has cycled between amiability and vitriol, with 50 himself saying in April that they were officially “dismantled.”
But in June, the group reunited (alongside newest member Kidd Kidd) at the annual New York hip-hop concert Summer Jam and began releasing new music, most notably their The Beauty of Independence EP in August.
“My interest wasn’t there for a while,” 50 tells Rolling Stone. “It took for Yayo to say things publicly to me that I didn’t understand [at the time] for me to reevaluate everything. I did so much for them that he didn’t have reasoning for it. It’s not that I have a problem with them, but I know, when I assess everything that’s happened overall in my life, some people have developed unbelievable senses of entitlement.
“With the guys, at points, people are extremely loyal to their comfort more than their loyalty to their friendship with you and a lot of times, people will take their feelings out on someone who’s close to them,” he continues. “So the person who loves you will do something wrong to you and say, ‘I’m sorry, you know I love you.’ Then I’d rather hang out with people who don’t love me.”
The rapper says having to manage the group at the same time as its members’ solo careers took its toll on him, and despite past differences, “something extreme” would have to happen for the group to break up again. “They’ve spent enough time on their own to feel what that feels like,” 50 says. “I’d rather everyone have their separate people.”
50 has already pushed back the release of his next solo album Street King Immortal to 2015 to put out the next G-Unit EP, The Beast Is G-Unit, later this year. (“I didn’t want to lose the momentum connected with everyone being back together.”) The crew has recorded 38 songs, six of which will be released for Beast.
Asked the one thing he would have done differently in his past dealings with the crew, the rapper is characteristically blunt. “I wouldn’t have built something that required me as their center,” he says. “I would’ve built it so it functions on its own. When you look at it, they’ve sold millions of records on their own. If they weren’t so strongly associated [with G-Unit], they’d probably have crews under them. They didn’t really have an interest in doing that because they [already] had a strong association and had so much fun in the position they were in at that point.”
More than a decade after Get Rich or Die Tryin’, the rapper, who just finished wrapping up roles in Paul Feig’s action-comedy Spy and Antoine Fuqua’s boxing film Southpaw, understands those who would dismiss his other endeavors in film, business and philanthropy. “I’ve already accepted that some people don’t pay a lot attention,” says the rapper. “Those are the conservative people who don’t listen or see what’s going on in their culture. The people that are well aware of it see you move and see the transition and they see you change into things that you experience in life. You can’t stay the same. We’re like plants, man. We have to grow.”