Starting in 2003, 50 Cent unleashed a new barrage of mixtapes in the form of the G-Unit Radio series. It was a continuation of his guerilla marketing tactics that allowed him to amp up the release of Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ and subsequent G-Unit releases, both as a group and for solo members. Nothing was off limits: NBA stars would appear on interludes, disses towards Murder Inc. and other artists were abundant, beats would get jacked, and even Eminem would show up a couple times. 50 knew how to get your attention.
With the return of G-Unit and their highjacked freestyles, it’s worth remembering how they began gaining steam. The G-Unit Radio series wasn’t exactly their defining stretch of time, as they’d began with tapes like Automatic Gunfire and God’s Plan, but it was the period in which their legacy solidified and became what it is today. Every month they had heat for the fans. We looked back at all 25 G-Unit Radio mixtapes to rank them from worst to best. Sada pop.
The Olivia chapter. Nothing to see here.
The Spider Loc edition. There’s no chance that anybody has ever played this entire tape front to back. Not even once.
It pained QB fans to see P and Hav bow to 50 for relevance. That’s really all that can be taken away from this. It shouldn’t have happened.
This was just sad. Mase said things like he was getting more money than Diddy and that he was from the A now. Getting blackballed out of New York will make you say crazy things.
What was even the point of this? Don’t bother checking this one out or else I’ll feel guilty for making you believe you should waste your time with it.
50’s music often suffered from beef as much as his career profited from it, and so is the case on Hate It Or Love It. He uses Juvie’s “Ha” flow to evil excess on “Paper Chaser” and just sounds distant from the melodic hooks that everyone loved. He even says he runs Interscope on “5 Heartbeats.” Yikes.
Any “return” that isn’t “Return Of The Boom Bap” sets itself up for failure from the jump, and this tape was no different. The feeling was gone, Banks was off his game, Game was beefing with 50, and G-Unit was going through a rebuilding period that consisted of Spider Loc, Lil’ Scrappy, a washed up Mobb Deep, and other wack acts. You know it’s bad when both of the best songs on your 2005 mixtape are by M.O.P.
Only two years after Get Rich Or Die Tryin, “Window Shopper” was something of a miracle that found 50 balancing his street snide with a catchy hook. The rest of this tape is booboo, though.
This was bizarre. The intro is a sermon resting hip-hop to peace because…50 Cent killed it. Interesting premise. But again with the beef – eight months after giving Mase his own mixtape, 50 calls the deal off on the second song. He goes on to throw shots at Diddy multiple times, ending the tape with a recording of a drunken Puffy dissing Lindsay Lohan and Jessica Simpson for using ProActiv…like anybody gives a shit.
For whatever reason, Yayo was better before and in prison than he was after it (save that chilling verse on “Runnin”). The more he yelled about being the talk of New York, the less he was, and by the time Whoo Kid had Shade 45 popping off, G-Unit was no longer a rebellious movement – they’d been initiated into the mainstream and gave away their own edge. So is the price of success.
Mobb Deep’s time was beyond up by 2006, but at least they squeaked out a minimally tight record in “Pearly Gates.”
Why did this happen, again? Freeway was getting on songs with Lil’ Jon – shit was all bad. “Freezer Pimpin” and the songs with Beanie Sigel were cool, though.
The final chapter of G-Unit Radio found 50 embroiled in beef with Cam’ron as Curtis hit stores in 2007. G-Unit was essentially neutralized (the god-awful Terminate On Sight would poop out the following year) and the tape was more of an advertisement for 50’s album than any type of respectable mixtape harkening back to the group’s golden days. Oddly enough, the Unit would go on to make better tapes like Return Of The Bodysnatchers and Elephant In The Sand once G-Unit Radio ran its course.
G-Unit kept on trying to force this narrative of a return to greatness, when in fact that storyline only reinforced the fact that they’d fallen from grace – hard. Still, songs like “Thuggin’ Til’ I’m Gone” and “Emotional” can be salvaged from the wreckage of this tape. This also marks the beginning of rendering G-Unit members as video game characters on the cover. A dark time, indeed.
G-Unit Radio 10 was the beginning of the end – after all, “Candy Shop” was the first song on this bitch and “Disco Inferno” was the last. Out of 18 songs, Banks is on exactly one, and the only thing that saved this tape was 50’s beat selection and a couple hooks on songs like “Bitch, What U Know?” and “Put A Hole In Yo’ Back.”
The return of Lebron James cursing on a G-Unit mixtape. Buck was a special mixtape character because he wasn’t afraid to get deep while 50 and Banks stuck to the same old tough guy subject matter. “Soldier Story” is fire and “It Is What It Is” is also worth rewinding.
The second installment had G-Unit feeling themselves, so the tape is weighed down by live performances from Summer Jam, Hawaii and Los Angeles where 50 takes steady shots at Ja Rule and Murda Inc. Lloyd Banks highjacks Biggie’s “I Got A Story To Tell” for a tale of robbery and David Banner’s “Like A Pimp” gets the remix treatment with an ultra slow-flow from 50, but Snoop kills “Southside To Long Beach” with an indelible opening line – “I flash back to the crack house, with the bucket / wear the same clothes four days and say fuck it / hot dub in my pocket but I gotta tuck it / tryna get a hundred dollars outta bitch like Kirby Puckett.”
This was probably the peak for these covers. King Of New York was, up until that point, filled with the most unremarkable records of the series. They rapped over a couple College Dropout beats but there wasn’t enough Lloyd Banks, and he was clearly the main attraction for a majority of these mixtapes.
Again with the verses from dead rappers – Eazy-E pops up on the first song of this Game-centric tape. Steve-O of Jackass fame hosts this one in hilarious fashion, but The Fifth Element was too long to sustain itself. Game didn’t turn out to be as nice as we thought he’d be, but tracks like “My Confession” and “Die Too Soon” are still enjoyable today. And there’s always “Get Yo Money Right.”
Following the release of Beg For Mercy in November 2003, the gears were sit in motion for each individual member to release their solo album. Banks was up first, hence his prominence on the cover of part six. Banks jacks two different beats from The Black Album on this, and Hunger For More would drop a little over two months later. Also included is more of that strange “unreleased” 2Pac shit they loved including with “Help Me Change” featuring Young Buck.
Lloyd Banks was a goon who 50 would sic on any and every beat across G-Unit Radio tapes. Meanwhile, 50’s shit talk was getting better with every new tape, and Tity Boi and Big Gipp were on a freestyle over a Dre beat. At this point, Beg For Mercy was on shelves and 50 was telling Ja he only had months left.
Two months after Hunger For More dropped, Young Buck’s slept-on solo album Straight Outta Cashville hit stores. It’s weird that they put out a Game tape before Buck’s when Game didn’t drop The Documentary until January ’05, but G-Unit City still does an excellent job of highlighting Buck’s propensity for colorful, arresting raps. Buck added a foreign element to a group that claimed the East Coast while having aesthetic allegiances to the West and the South, and he proved himself to be the most underrated one in the crew.
The same year that he won MVP at the McDonald’s All-American Game, Lebron hosted G-Unit Part 3, famously declaring, “G-Unit Radio in your motherfucking mouth” at the start of the tape. This one was stacked with dope freestyles, plus “Dick Will Do” and a continuation of the not-so-subtle Southern jocking on “Calicos.”
The first G-Unit Radio is a certified classic. Uncle Snoop had the groups back since day one, as evident by highlights like “Let’s Get High” and “Crip Hop,” but the best song on here is “True Loyalty,” with a standout verse from the then-incarcerated Tony Yayo and an impeccable flow from the Punchline King Lloyd Banks. I also could not have been the only one who searched in vain for Smokin Day 1.
All Eyez On Us marked the first appearance of Eminem on a G-Unit mixtape, and he popped up three times – once for a “Wanksta” freestyle,” again for an eviscerating diss towards The Source, and finally with a D12 exclusive. The Unit would also continue their ‘Pac obsession with a “secret track” while Olivia and Stat Quo were introduced for the first time.