The Rise and Fall of G-Unit by Michael Partis

Author Michael Partis has written a good retrospective look on how G-Unit rose to stardom and how the failure of their recent album (by mainstream standards at least) has signaled the demise of a once powerful crew.  Read the full article with pics after the jump.

Via: RealTalkNY

All good things come to an end. G-Unit’s run of being rap’s most influential crew is over. Let’s make it clear though. This NOT about 50 Cent’s personal career. This is about G-Unit the rap group; G-Unit the brand name. But before they fell off, hate it or love it, G-Unit revolutionized the game. “G-Unit nigga/that’s what’s up.” That was our first introduction to Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo, and 50 Cent as “G-Unit” on 50’s mixtape “Guess Who’s Back.” The key: it came on a mixtape, not hosted by a DJ. 50 Cent and his G-Unit crew were the first to successfully pull off their own mixtapes as a way of providing new music & generating new fans. They took the idea to another level by introducing the idea of recreating popular songs: keep the beat, change the words, and create a melody. Artist had been freestyling over hot beats forever; but they weren’t remaking the songs. When 50 & his crew began to do this on their mixtapes they provided themselves with a crucial advantage: they made radio-friendly music, but maintained a street presence. That is the combination every A&R, music executive, manager, or artist in the business craves for. G-Unit mastered this. In fact they had all the componant’s needed to be a dominant rap crew. The slick rhyming MC with crazy punchlines (Banks). The goon who provided “street cred” (Yayo was in jail when “Beg For Mercy” dropped). And the leader who had a superior business IQ, knew how to make records, and straight-up personified the “Hustler’s Ambition.” They had their catch phase that everybody knew (G-G-G-G-G-G-G-Unit). And best of all, they were from New York. We all know how much the industry loves to promote New York cats, and we know how much New York loves to hype New York cats. With this foundation, G-Unit attempted to create an empire that would run the rap world & stand out in the hip-hop scene. This required regional expansion, and cross-over appeal. Thus 50 scooped up a former Cash Money soldier in Young Buck to cover the South; he added Game, a Dre-protege straight from Compton. They brought on Oliva, the team’s R&B and female presence. They teamed with Marc Ecko for a G-Unit clothing line. They did collabos with R&B acts like Mary J. Blige & Avant, and Pop superstars like Justin Timberlake for commercial appeal. Then in 2006 came the real power moves. Remember this cover: It felt like the day G-Unit took over the world. It was a major movw. Not because the signings were Hip-Hop superstars, but it was like the top team in the league signing the best free agents in the game. They signed a legendary duo (Mobb Deep), one of NY’s most underrated groups (M.O.P.), brought Harlem back from church (Mase), and even got another West Coast cat (Spider Loc). It was G-Unit’s exercise in “strength in numbers.” These were the soldiers to aid the G-Unit takeover. But it never happened. In fact, it failed miserably. Even before this move, there was the Game/50 beef and fallout. And over time, most of these acts disappeared one by one (with the exception of Mobb Deep). Without making an impact once so ever. No albums, no singles, no nothing. The team’s mainstays even felt the pressure. Banks dropped a brick with his sophomore album; Yayo hasn’t put out any albums since his first, but has got the group plenty of bad press with “alleged” incident with a 14 year old. The ugly situation with Young Buck put more of the group’s business out in the street and ended with Buck exiting the group. And then, there were three.

And they could only push 102, 000 in their 1st week. They couldn’t sell more in their 1st week then Weezy sold in his 4th week. The irony is that 50 built the G-Unit brand based on his idea that they produced numbers. He pointed to hit singles, radio spins, albums sold, anything that could be counted. Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t. The lack of a hit single, the poor album sales, and the overall lack of buzz about the album all point to common theme with G-Unit over the last year: people don’t really care. At least, they don’t care about G-Unit the brand, G-Unit the Hip-Hop crew.

5 Responses to “The Rise and Fall of G-Unit by Michael Partis”

  1. 1 draco October 14, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    What basically led to their downfall was the fact that their leader is an idiot in all respects. The main reason why 50 cent and g-unit got any props was because of Dre’s production skills, Eminems popularity and that 50’s rival Ja Rule started to fall off-Overall, pure hype.
    Despite all the success he got, 50 squandered it by engaging in several unnecessary beefs and lawsuits which he lost, doing pop songs after criticizing Ja Rule for doing the same before him, his arrogance in dealing with the Game situation, defending George Bush openly and trying to face off against a superior artist like Kanye West in record sales. And let’s not forget the dictatorial edict he has his own artists under-which is why a lot of them left. I’m willing to bet that Interscope is going to give him the boot very soon as I imagine they’re all getting tired of him and his group. 50, you had the world in the palm of your hands and you wasted on bullshit-Sorry to break this to you as your ship is sinking but you got what you deserved.
    To the rest of hip hop who glorified him so blindly, serves you all right! 50 was a loser before he got big and he still is a loser after he got big. In other words, a loser with fame and popularity is still a loser. Remember that!

  2. 2 marioluvsurmom2 December 4, 2008 at 10:21 am

    first of all u dont know anything about hip hop if ur defending game second g unit is getting stronger everyday they got sick artist like lloyd banks prodigy MOP freeway 40 glocc havoc gunit has legends on theior label mobb deep n are already well connectd wit other hip hop stars that i have a feeling are gonna get signed g unit records soon lik the alchemist rass kass un pacino damm guy u most b white cus u dont shit fuck game

  3. 3 m douglas January 28, 2009 at 12:04 am

    Fiddy should try and unite G-unit.We love it because G-nit is hip-hop.

  4. 4 jamarkus September 7, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    i still like 50, even though he doesnt rape like he did before.

  5. 5 draco October 22, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    No offense, Mario, but you are in denial if you think that 50 and G-Unit are still going strong because most of the people in the crew either left or got dropped, namely Young Buck, Olivia, Mobb Deep, MOP, Mase, etc. Also, most of G-Unit’s albums bricked in record sales such as Tony Yayo, Mobb Deep and Banks and Bucks’s second LP. Also, I should point out that 50’s current album Before I Self Destruct has been pushed back more times than a Murder Inc album. Why do you think that they pushed Eminem’s album before his this year? Because 50 knows that without hype from Eminem he ain’t shit, bro! He’s still trying to ride Em’s coattails but it’s not working anymore.
    50 tried to compete with Jay Z this year by dropping his album on the same date but quickly realized that it would be like Kanye West all over again and pushed his LP back even further. Doesn’t this tell you that 50 is fading out like G-Unit? If it weren’t for Dre, Eminem, Ja Rule and Jimmy Iovine 50 would’t be where he is. Once most of these guys stop having 50’s back watch what happens to him. The only thing 50 has going for him now is his vitamin water and his clothing line. Stop coming off like a 50 Cent Stan, bro!

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