Is G-Unit back?
It sure seems like it. The rap crew — consisting of 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo, Young Buck and now Kidd Kidd (ugh) — has been flooding the blogs with music ever since Sunday, when they reunited on stage at Summer Jam 2014.
Hey, young bucks: from 2001 to 2005, G-Unit was the hottest rap crew in the world. We’re not sure if you know this, but they basically invented mixtapes.
Their formula was revolutionary at the time: they took popular songs and remade them. They didn’t just remake rap songs either. Every once in a while, they would grab a Tweet beat or Jonell beat or a Raphael Saadiq beat and just make something gangsta out of it.
To celebrate the G-Unit comeback, here are G-Unit’s 10 best freestyles of all time.
10. Lloyd Banks & 50 Cent “The Banks Workout”
There aren’t many rappers who can take a Jay Z beat and outdo the god. But yup, Banks did that on his solo 50 Cent is the Future track, “The Banks Workout.” The freestyle is so good, it became a franchise.
9. 50 Cent & Tony Yayo “I Run New York”
After he got rid of Ja Rule and Murder Inc, 50 Cent set his sights on The Lox. Rapping over Mobb Deep’s “Cobra,” Fif and Yayo send some sharp darts at the Yonkers crew. (“One more word out of your mouth, I’ll push Styles’ shit back” is just brutal.)
8. 50 Cent “50 Shot Ya”
LL Cool J’s “I Shot Ya (Remix)” is one of the great posse tracks of all time. And 50 Cent damn sure sounds like he should have been on that song, as he spits lethal bars over the Trackmasters’ classic beat.
7. 50 Cent “Put a Hole In Your Back”
Did you know the origin of this beat? It’s a De La Soul and MF Doom song called “Rock Co.Kane Flow.” You didn’t know that, because Fif absolutely owned this beat.
6. G-Unit “Bump Dat”
“G-Unit, I done started my own game.” Ditto for this song. (This was originally a Mobb Deep track.)
5. G-Unit “8 Mile (Freestyle)”
50 Cent and his G-Unit crew have ripped many Eminem beats. But their freestyle over Em’s “8 Mile” track is special. Also, this is the song where Tony Yayo really flexes his rapping skills.
4. G-Unit “U Should Be Here”
It was pretty amazing to see G-Unit perform this classic freestyle (rapping over a Raphael Saadiq song) at Summer Jam 2014. It was only right, too. “U Should Be Here” is the first song off their debut mixtape, 50 Cent is the Future.
3. G-Unit “Funkmaster Flex Freestyle (Lil Kim and Shyne Diss)”
Remember the days when rappers would come up to the Funkmaster Flex show and flex off their lyrical muscle? Those were the good ‘ol days. One of the best Funkmaster Flex freestyles ever occurred in 2003, when the Unit was just coming at everyone’s neck. In this freestyle, they have some choice words for Lil Kim and Shyne.
2. Eminem, 50 Cent, & Busta Rhymes “Hail Mary (Ja Rule Diss)”
This wasn’t exactly the nail in the coffin (that would be 50 Cent’s “Back Down”) but the “Hail Mary” Ja Rule diss was also brutal. Eminem, Fif, and Buss all had bars for the Murder Inc rapper. It wasn’t even a fair fight.
1. Lloyd Banks & 50 Cent “Victory (Freestyle)”
It’s the song that officially put 50 Cent’s right-hand, Lloyd Banks, on the map. From “this shit gonna get uglier than a Master P sneaker” to “leave 12 shells in your mouth like a carton of eggs,” there are just lines for days from Banks. The remix was so good, Puff Daddy threw 50 and Banks’ verses on “Victory 2004,” which was on Bad Boy’s 10th Anniversary album.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty