G-Unit (short for Guerrilla-Unit and Gangsta-Unit) is a rap group consisting of 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo, and Young Buck, along with several affiliated artists. The group's main musical styling is based around East Coast hip hop. The group originally had three members: 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks, and Tony Yayo. Young Buck joined the group after Tony Yayo was arrested due to an outstanding warrant. Yayo rejoined the group after his release from prison, officially making the group a foursome.
A common misconception is that artists The Game, R & B singer Olivia (the "first lady of G-Unit") and Spider Loc are members of G-Unit, when, in fact, they are part of G-Unit Records.
The group first garnered a following in the underground and "street" scene in New York by independently releasing several mixtapes. They also appeared on many other mixtapes, including those of DJ Kay Slay and DJ Clue. They now have their own DJ, DJ Whoo Kid.
In November of 2003, the group released their debut album Beg for Mercy. It has exceeded sales of over two million copies. It debuted at #2 on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart. The success of this album led Reebok to release a line of G-Unit Sneakers.
50 Cent is an artist signed to Shady and Aftermath Records. He and Sha Money XL founded G-Unit. The rapper survived nine gunshot wounds, and proceeded to mainstream success. His albums Get Rich Or Die Tryin' and The Massacre were executive-produced by Eminem and Dr. Dre. With their help, G-Unit has become one of the top-selling mainstream hip-hop acts. He is considered responsible in part for the multi-platinum sales of Lloyd Banks, Young Buck and The Game.
Referred to as second-in-command of G-Unit. He is the youngest member of the rap group. Banks is best known for his punch-line verses and his smooth flow and delivery. He is also the only member who is half Puerto Rican. Lloyd Banks' album The Hunger For More featured Eminem, Nate Dogg, Snoop Dogg, and the G-Unit roster.
The artist was mired in internet controversy after a gay porn movie surfaced, in which an actor who resembles Lloyd Banks receives an ejaculation on his face. This footage spread quickly over the internet, forging rumors that the rapper was gay. G-Unit publicly dismissed the claims, and the real actor who performed in the movie, Ty Lattimore, came forth to set the record straight. Lloyd Banks has since been readying himself for his second album, with an as-yet unset release date.
While on tour, Tony Yayo was arrested and imprisoned for weapons charges. The members of G-Unit began a "Free Yayo" campaign while he was serving his year sentence in prison. He was soon released from prison only to be caught with a forged passport and then returned back into prison. When he was released in 2004, he went forth to record his debut album. The album The Thoughts of A Predicate Felon is slated for a Summer 2005 release, featuring G-Unit's roster among other rappers (such as Mobb Deep). He often labels himself the Talk Of New York (T.O.N.Y.). He has been featured as a guest on 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks, Young Buck and The Game albums, as well as G-Unit's debut.
The newest official member of G-Unit, Young Buck is from Nashville. His album, Straight Outta Cashville, was released one month after Lloyd Banks' album. He began his rap career with his partner D-Tay and was soon discovered by Cash Money Records. The deal with Cash Money soured and soon he joined Juvenile's Uptown Players (UTP). After Juvenile left Cash Money officially, Young Buck was left without a label to deal with. 50 Cent, while on tour with Juvenile, finalized a contract, and signed the rapper to his G-Unit.
Sha Money XL
Sha Money XL, is the co-founder of G-Unit. He also is appointed as the president of G-Unit Records. He acts as a business manager for the group, as well as a producer for several tracks on various G-Unit artists' albums. Sha Money is also executive producer for all members of G-Unit. Outside of G-Unit, Sha Money XL has produced songs for Snoop Dogg, Slim Thug, and other rappers.
Olivia is not only the first lady of G-Unit, but also the only R & B artist from the record label. Her album debut on J Records was shelved and she was soon dropped from the label. Soon afterwards, she emerged as member of G-Unit. Her contributions thus far have included the smash hit "Candy Shop" off The Massacre. Her album, Behind Closed Doors, will be her official debut, with features from G-Unit, Dr. Dre and many notable producers, in particular, Scott Storch and Cool and Dre.
Spider Loc is the second member from the west besides former member The Game to be signed to G-Unit Records. Spider Loc, a former Crip member who was once signed as an artist to Death Row Records. He soon would later leave the label as well as Death Row's comeback kid Crooked I. As Crooked I found home with Universal Records, Spider Loc soon met 50 Cent. The two met while 50 Cent was filming one of his videos, and, as the two talked, 50 Cent agreed to sign the rapper on his label. Spider Loc's debut, The West Kept Secret is scheduled for release in late 2005.
DJ Whoo Kid
The official tour deejay, DJ Whoo Kid is responsible for making G-Unit's exclusive mixtapes. Also a member of Hot 97, he is responsible for mixing and bringing new freestyle artists to G-Unit. He also has a show on the Shade 45 radio network.