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50 Cent & G-Unit Get Back To Basics

By The Showbuzz's Melissa Castellanos

G-Unit is busting out the rhymes again.

The rap group has reunited and is reinvigorating the underground mix tape circuit while tapping into the mainstream music scene - a move that has proven fruitful for multiplatinum-selling artist 50 Cent.

Far removed from their days freestyling back on the block and in the schoolyard in Jamaica, Queens, G-Unit (50 Cent, Tony Yayo and Lloyd Banks) is going back to the basics with their brand of "Gangsta rap" and hip-hop.

Photos: Celebrity Circuit
And the rap group isn't interested in returning to their roots quietly.

With 50 Cent's controversial response to Alicia Keys' comments about "Gangsta rap" and their ousting of former G-Unit member Young Buck, the rap group certainly isn't shy when it comes to voicing their opinions.

The group is also making some noise with the release of their new boldly titled album "T.O.S." otherwise known as "Terminate On Sight," which is due to be released in June. The album includes collaborations with Timbaland and Swizz Beatz, among other "unrecognized talent," 50 Cent told

Photos: The J.A.M. Awards in New York
G-Unit, who's widely known for the "G-Unit Remix" to 50 Cent's "P.I.M.P." which also featured rapper Snoop Dogg, has released several mix tapes including "Return of the Body Snatchers," "Elephant in the Sand" and "50 Cent is the Future." They have also released albums, "Beg For Mercy" and "Lock and Load."

"G-Unit actually started … the whole concept of it came together after I was shot," 50 Cent said. "Prior to that Tony had been involved with my whole record since the very beginning," he said.

"From the Jam Master Jay, Columbia Days," Yayo chimed in.

"I felt that he (Yayo) was talented. He was able to say things … when he started to write music … that he wouldn't say to me in basic conversation. I felt that he had a gift," 50 Cent said.

Yayo, who brought Banks to 50 Cent's attention with his mix tape, was involved in a rap group during his early days called "Rags to Riches."

"He (Banks) was rapping about content that was relating to what was going on in his life at the time," 50 Cent said. "So he had punch lines that would be effective in the schoolyard rapping (at age 13). He was rapping about things that were relevant to him."

Despite 50 Cent's success, Columbia Records let him go after he was shot 9 times on May 24, 2000. The rapper was in his car outside of his grandmother's house in South Jamaica, Queens when a gunman pulled up and shot him at close range while he was sitting in the car. He was shot in the hands, legs, chest, hip and left cheek.

250 Cent, whose moniker was coined from the projects, managed to redeem himself in the music biz once he healed and stopped hustling. Needless to say, the creation of G-Unit helped the rapper get back on track.

According to 50 Cent when they "started musically showcasing G-Unit" he received a warmer welcome than when he got his start as a solo act.

"The first time that we were representing 50 Cent, they didn't take to 50 Cent - the way they took to it when I came back as G-Unit," 50 Cent said. "There was more to it. It was a movement pretty much, as opposed to being a single person. They were focused on my life away from music … it was the backdrop for the music that we were creating. They didn't know very much about who Tony was or who Banks was."

Most DJs would refer to the group as "The New 50 Cent," since they already had an association with him from his Columbia Records days, but with time that changed.

50 Cent was later signed on as a solo act again by Interscope Records, with whom he released the hugely successful "Get Rich or Die Tryin" album. He didn't forget about his best buds though.

Interscope gave 50 Cent his own record label, G-Unit Records (which later lead to G-Unit clothing and the G-Unity Foundation). He subsequently signed rappers Yayo, Banks and Young Buck.

While G-Unit was making their "Beg For Mercy" album however, trouble found Yayo. He was arrested on gun possession charges and was incarcerated for almost 2 years.

"I still had full support when I was in jail and I was on two songs on the album," Yayo said.

Photos: Stars Behind Bars
"Beg for Mercy" sold 2.3 million copies in the U.S. and 4 million copies worldwide, whereas other projects didn't receive the same hype.

But, after experiencing the highs and lows of fame, it wasn't as easy for all of the members of G-Unit to do a group project again.

On-air comments buy Young Buck generated tension within the group, which lead to his exit from G-Unit.

According to MTV, Young Buck said that "50 Cent added some disparaging words about (rapper) Cam'ron at the end of the 'Hold On' video without his knowledge" (on the video version of the song - but not on the album version). In the video 50 Cent is heard talking about Cam'ron and spreading some unfounded rumors about him. Buck said the original song was not recorded with Cam'ron in mind.

"There's perks of being associated with an established artist that has a big following and fan base. I feel like he (Young Buck) felt he reaped those benefits," 50 Cent said. "There were points where Buck was actually on the radio saying he's cool with people - that it was public 'me and them had issues.' In some ways I felt that he was trying to validate himself as his own man by going against whatever I 'm doing at that point.

"It's more like when someone is disloyal, you begin to have a strong dislike for that person, but I don't feel that way towards him," he said. "I just feel like he is better off being removed from the actual group setting and just focus on his own individual career because that is where his focus is."

Last week G-Unit, minus Young Buck, embarked on a 17-day international tour.

Upon the group's return, 50 Cent will be starring in a film called "Righteous Killers" with Al Pacino, Robert Dinero, Val Kilmer, Mark Wahlberg and John Leguizamo. He will play the role of a police officer. 50 Cent will also be releasing his own album "Before I Self-Destruct."