Shawty Lo stepped into a meeting with 50 Cent back in March in New York City and seven hours later, the Bowen Homes, Bankhead, Atlanta rapper walked out with the groundwork for a joint record deal. Eventually, the G-Unit/D4L 50/50 deal was finalized last month.

So, how did L.O. keep ’Fif’s attention during a seven-hour marathon meeting of the minds? By being himself and sharing his story, one that eerily mirrors that of the G-Unit boss himself.

“Basically our similar life stories coming up,” said Carlos ‘Shawty Lo’ Walker in a recent visit to the XXL's offices. “My life, how I was raised by my grandmother and she passed. His life with his mother. Similar situations.

“We’re cut from the same cloth,” L.O. continued. “My grandmother raised me, my mother was on drugs, my daddy was elsewhere, my grandmother died of cancer when I was 17 years old. I’ve been on my own since then.”

After hearing Shawty Lo’s story – one with distinct parallels to his own early life – 50 bought right in and offered him a deal.

“Basically, he told me I’m going to be a main . . . you know a lot of labels have a lot of artists and songs be on the backburner, but he said I’m going to be top prospect over here,” L.O. said. “I feel like what he is to New York, I am to Atlanta.”

That's a bold statement, but then again why shouldn’t Shawty Lo be thinking big? D4L’s “Laffy Taffy” rose to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart back in 2006. Two years later, L.O. smashed the streets dolo with his hit single “Dey Know,” which also earned him a BET Award for Track of The Year. That same year he had a well-documented beef with T.I. that was later squashed. He’s currently touting his B.H.F. (Bankhead Forever) mixtape and working on his new album that will undoubtedly feature 50 and ahe expects will reach stores during the fourth quarter later this year.

With the partnership, L.O. becomes the first Southern artist on the Unit since Young Buck. Although Shawty Lo is cool with Buck, he said he didn’t speak to him about the 50/50 joint venture. He is happy about his new squad, though. “I am on a winning team,” L.O. said with a grin beaming off his face.

Big up to all his haters.–Mark Lelinwalla