Production On G-Unit’s T.O.S.

Prior to T.O.S. dropping, I sat down and had a conversation with 50 Cent for Complex.com, and we got on the topic of production.

Complex: On this album and on Curtis, you started working more with big name producers. How does getting production from guys who are known for making hits, like Swizz and Polow Da Don, change the way you approach making a record?

50 Cent: The circumstances of how you get the music. Because I don’t care who produced the record, if you get it or listen to it through an iPod or stereo in a car, you can tell whether you actually want to use it. You get music in the studio, which is the best place for you to actually listen to music because the rooms are designed to play music, you’re gonna hear shit that you’re not going to hear in those other places. And they got a presentation. You come in there, the producer has two or three of his mans there, and they nodding like this is the hardest shit in the world. And that shifts your energy to feeling like you already paid for the session, you spent $150 an hour, and now you like, “Let me get a pad.” You end up writing that record just because of your circumstances of you being there and them playing the record. So I don’t like to be in the studio, I like to get the music and just listen to it and vibe.

People who bought T.O.S. should take note that anything Polow Da Don produced didn’t make the cut (why?). But the Swizz track is still on there, and in my opinion it’s one of the weaker joints on the album. Knowing my taste, it’ll probably end up being the next single or something, but I digress.

To get back to 50′s quote, his line of thinking is both a gift and a curse for producers and artists alike. For producers, it levels the playing field when you know a big artist like 50 is not going to just be sold because he’s in the studio with a producer who’s trying to sell him on some song idea (like Timbaland probably did with “Ayo Technology,” just sayin). It gives the no-name producer equal opportunity, allows them to be judged solely on the music, rather than the bells and whistles that come along with being in the studio and having someone play you a whole bunch of tracks. When you’re in the moment, jamming, everything sounds hot. And that’s the point 50 is making, it’s easier to make the sale when you’re right there in the room. When your shit is on an Ipod playlist with 100 other tracks, the best track wins. That also sucks for the producer, because it winds up just being a crapshoot based on how 50 feels that day…. in essence, what track jumps out at him. That’s like throwing darts at a board with a blindfold on. As a producer, you’d rather play the tracks and be able to make the sale.

For the artist, in this case 50, I think it’s also limiting to just listen to tracks and vibe out to them. That’s sort of a 2003-ish way of selecting tracks and making music, and probably one of the reasons why G-Unit and a lot of other artists in hip-hop haven’t really progressed musically. That whole idea of sifting through a bunch of tracks off a CD or playlist, throwing it in Pro Tools and recording to a 2track…. ah man, that whole process is so uninspiring. I feel like 50, at this point in his career, should really lock in with someone and do a whole album.

That said, I was surprised by T.O.S. I thought it was going to be a let-down, but I’m actually feeling it quite a bit, and I’m not that big of a 50/G-Unit fan to begin with. The beats are all pretty crazy, in that sort of New York mixtape-ish sort of way… and they definitely got the vibe down pat. It’s all hard drums and mid-tempo grooves, that typical G-unit sound. Give it up for the only New York rappers making New York rap.

  • 239allday

    Yall already know I aint a fan of the Girl unit but the production on this album is bangin. Yes I copped the album, a lot of the haters did(how does 50 make us cop his shit, man fuck that nigga!). I can’t even front nigga I am feelin about half the tracks.

    • Rob The Music Ed

      didn’t you call me a dickrider or something of the sort fro writing that 50 post two weeks ago?

      And you copped the album on the first day? Hmmmmmmmmmmm… LOL

  • Pierzy

    Co-sign. I was surprised by the production on T.O.S., especially since I basically hated anything on Beg For Mercy after track 5 (except for the Buck solo), but the shit’s hard.

  • http://www.plasticsquirtguns.blogspot.com thoreauly77

    the same old tired content. i generally don’t talk too much shit, but i have to say that the amount of lil wayne and 50 discussion is sickening. g-unit and 50 is boring. lil wayne fucking sucks. i have an idea, how about xxl do something that every single other mag/site ISN’T doing? that’s just an idea; how about a suggestion? why don’t you review the production off of one of the best releases so far this year, the kam moye EP. it is a totally cohesive project and reintroduces supastition.

  • the r

    what’s the point then…50 cent still can’t rap…he’s knows how to get cheap ass beats and hype them wit some bullshit…how come dre isn’t working with him…they are still lablemates

  • Walt

    “I feel like 50, at this point in his career, should really lock in with someone and do a whole album.”

    I think that’s a good idea, but who should it be?

    Dr. Dre, who’s been AWOL outside a track here and there (and those that have been put there have been pretty mediocre IMO)? That’s the only person I can think of that has a past w/50 and has the ability to produce an entire album.

  • yoprince

    ya’ll wildin’.. that swizz track is the hardest on there besides straight outta southside.. the rest of them joints are EXTRA weak..

    NY mixtape-ish is right.. GARBAGE!

    banks and yayo can officially retire.

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  • Combat Jack

    Co-sign. Album hot.

  • http://www.xxlmag.com Benicio Del Thoro

    Preach Combat Jack! This album is straight cash like Randy Moss!

    G-G-G-G-G-Unit!!!!!

  • Chaka

    Talking about poducers and production.To me,when it comes to producing Hip Hop tracks/albums,the following producers(eight in number) are my all time greats:
    (1)Dr Dre-[No One Can Do It Better(D.O.C's album),The Chronic(Dre's album),Doggystyle(Snoop's album)e.t.c]
    (2)DJ Quik-[Quik's Groove III(DJ Quik),Heartz of Men(2Pac),Addictive(Truth Hurtz/Rakim),Put It In The Air(Talib Kweli)e.t.c]
    (3)DJ Scratch-[Ill Bomb(LL cool J),Party Is Goin' on Over Here(Busta),Scratch Bring It Back Pt.II(EPMD)e.t.c]
    (4)Pete Rock-[The World Is Yours(Nas),T.R.O.Y(CL Smooth&Pete Rock)e.t.c]
    (5)Premier-[Nas Is Like(Nas),Moment of truth(Gang starr's album),The Sun Rises in the East(Jeru the Damaja's album)e.t.c]
    (6)RZA-[Enter the Wu-Tang(Wu-Tang's album),Only Built 4 Cuban Linx(Raekwon's album),Tical(Method Man's album)e.t.c]
    (7)Timbaland-[Big Pimpin(Jay Z),Roll Out(Ludacris),The Jump Off(Lil'Kim)e.t.c]
    (8)Trackmasters-[Street Dreams(Nas),Juicy(Biggie),e.t.c]
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Notabe mention:
    –9th wonder-[Good Ol' Love(Masta Ace),Instigator(M.O.P)e.t.c]
    –Alchemist-[Worst Comes to Worst(Dilated Peoples),No idea is original(Nas),Street Chemistry(Ghostface/Prodigal Sunn/Trife)e.t.c]
    –Ayatollah-[Ms. Fat Booty(Mos Def),Joy(Talib Kweli)e.t.c]
    –Battlecat-[We can freak it(Kurupt),G'd up(Tha Eastsidez),sweet potato pie(Domino)e.t.c]
    –Buckwild-[I got a story to tell(Biggie)e.t.c]
    –Clark Kent-[Brooklyn's Finest(Jay Z),Sky's the Limit(Biggie)e.t.c]
    –Easy mo bee-[Warning(Biggie),Lifestyles Of The Rich & Shameless(Lost Boyz)e.t.c]
    –Eric Sermon-[Can't Wait(Redman),Y.O.U( Method Man&Redman ),Music(Eric Sermon/Malvin Gaye)e.t.c]
    –EZ Elpee-[Bloody Money(CNN),Remember(Nature)e.t.c]
    –Havoc-[Shook Ones Pt. II(Mobb Deep),Don't Need Your Love(The Game)e.t.c]
    –Justblaze-[Song Cry(Jay Z),Oh boy(Cam'ron),Touch the sky(Kanye)e.t.c]
    –Kanye West-[Dreams(The Game),Guess Who's Back(Scarface/Jay z/Beanie)e.t.c]
    –L.E.S-[Life's a Bitch(Nas),Glamour Life(Big Pun),How Ya Livin'(AZ/Nas)e.t.c]
    –Mannie Fresh-[Back That Azz Up(Juvenile/Lil' Wayne/Mannie Fresh),Bling Bling(B.G/Big Tymers/Hot Boys)e.t.c]
    –Neptunes-[Someday(Scarface),Superthug(N.O.R.E)e.t.c]
    –Rockwilder-[Super Lyrical(Big Pun/Black Thought),Da Rockwilder(Method Man&Redman),Do It Again(Jay Z),Imagine That(LL Cool J)e.t.c]
    –Nashiem Myrick/Carlos “6 July” Broady- [Cant knock d hustle(Jay Z),What's beef?(Biggie),On my block(Scarface)e.t.c]

  • Chaka

    Forgot to attach my signature to the above post–Peace an hip hop head in Africa wrote this

  • HAWAIIAN

    Chaka – no Large Professor? you lost homie

    • Chaka

      Large Professor definitely has no place in my all time greats.But it quite normal that i forgot to mention him in my notable mention.After all he has been in limbo for some time now.Peace my brother

  • cuban link

    whats that song with 50 that has the michael jackson sample, i think it was wanna be startin something but i forget

  • http://www.incilin.blogspot.com Incilin

    I always thought 50′s biggest problem in the last few albums was not going with big name producers. Dude will pick any producer at random when he has an unlimited budget to get anyone he wants. Imagine if all of TOS was produced by Alchemist.

    It’s funny you refer to his style as a 2003ish way of making music. It’s really the way all hip hop seems to be made. Dudes will have a different producer for every track. I wish rappers would just settle down with one producer and create a sound and a style. That’s exactly what Carter III was missing, and what Graduation and Return of The Mac had.

  • Rizob

    I hope this is the last G-Unit albume the world has to suffer through. If they are making “real NY rap” then i will pass on it. They put no passion and no feeling in their music. They just do it to make money, which sucks for the listener.

  • http://www.myspace.com/onemanprod ONEMAN PRODUCTIONS

    i feel 75% of the album. its real street. feelin the beats
    Yeah would be a good look if 50 just did half his album with one producer.
    I like the fact that he dont care where the production comes from as long as its hot.

  • geico lizard

    the predictions say lil waynes fourth week will outsell TOS first week but sometimes the predictions are wrong

  • http://www.myspace.com/alsween AlSween

    sitting and listening to beats with no name on em makes for a better product i think. 50 seems to have no bias and picks what best fits him and his crew. instead of saying “let’s get the new wannabe super producer”. no music is for our ears and not our eyes. we shouldn’t decide what we like by reading album credits.

  • chad bro chill

    i think im gonna assassinate 50. he kinda annoys me with all that trash he talks and the garbage he puts out and im just not taking it anymore im gonna kill him.

  • Rex Banner

    This album is really good, I bought it the first day it came out and I am still playing it

  • http://yeswarrior@yahoo.com Benicio Del Thoro

    “Night or Daylight, its hammer time, got ya 9 I got mine!”

    Terminate On Sight!

  • iGotOnMyBackpack79

    this shit sounds like the same shit he been putting out for the past several years. dude ain’t elevated his game @ all. i wasted $10 bucks on this shit.

  • http://www.dynamicproducer.com dynamicwayne

    Wasn’t feeling the album that much