When 50 Cent signed G-Unit artists Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo
over to EMI, the plan was to set up his longtime Queens, New York, cohorts as artists who could work independently, without his help.
Fif told MTV News that Banks' The Hunger for More 2
, which was released last November, was the project that set the trend. "Banks' project is the beginning of them flying solo, flying without my assistance so much," 50 said on the Atlanta set of Tony Yayo's upcoming "Haters" video.
In the past, Fif lent his guidance as well as his voice to his artists' albums. Back in 2004, the G-Unit General appeared alongside Banks on "On Fire,"
the first single from the Punch Line King's platinum debut
. He did the same with Yayo's first single, "So Seductive,"
the following year. "Like on all their other albums and singles, I was featured on their projects to help bring attention to it and get 'em off into the right space," he said. "This go-around is, like, for them to go away from me and do it on their own. They're setting up shop on their own on this project."
It's been reported that Banks' and Yayo's EMI deal is structured much like an indie. Even though EMI is a major distributor, G-Unit has taken the reins when it comes to positioning both rappers in the marketplace. Even though 50 has championed G-Unit's independence, speculation has swirled about whether Banks would sign to Def Jam where former G-Unit president Sha Money XL now resides as the Senior VP of A&R.
50, without saying it directly, shot down the notion of a Def Jam deal, citing the label's supposed-financial woes. Recently, the legendary rap label has gone through a bit of restructuring with former head honcho L.A. Reid leaving and Barry Weiss stepping in as chairman and CEO. Regardless, Fif doesn't seem too optimistic for a future at the label.
"Well, Def Jam, I'm not even sure what that system — that system is not in a good space right now. They're like $80 million in the hole," he said, before laughing, "Don't tell them I told you."