You know the saying "you're always the last to know"? On Monday evening, radio listeners in New York were privy to news that the G-Unit were severing ties with the Game before he even knew.
Late that afternoon, Game had been a guest of Hot 97's Angie Martinez and downplayed the rumors of problems between himself and 50 Cent (see "50 Drops Game From G-Unit; Shots Fired At Radio Station"). Simultaneously, 50 and the rest of the G-Unit were telling a different story on rival station Power 105.1.
"Where does he stand with your camp?" Power 105.1's Ed Lover asked 50.
"Across the street or around the corner," he answered. "He's not in my camp. Not after being that disrespectful."
50 was angry that Game had gone on Hot 97 Saturday and said he was going to make a song with 50's lyrical foe Nas and that he has no problem with people like Jadakiss and Fat Joe, who get dissed on 50's "Piggy Bank" (see "50 Cent's LP Pushed Up, Harsh 'Facts' Sound Like Disses On Leaked 'Piggy Bank' ").
50 went on to claim he wrote on more songs on Game's The Documentary than he was credited for, including "Church for Thugs," "Special" and "Higher."
"I did so much on his record, I did six records," 50, who is featured on The Documentary's "Hate It or Love It," "Westside Story" and "How We Do," scoffed. "To take the time and energy from what I'm doing on my record and create his record, then have him go off at his mouth like that and be disrespectful ... He'll wake up when it's time for him to do his next record."
50 prophesized that Game's sophomore LP would only sell 500,000 copies.
Meanwhile, down the dial, Game was being told by listeners who were calling in that 50 was publicly dissing him. When they asked what he planned to do about it, Game said, "I'mma remain 'hood and keep making that good gangsta music. I'mma let them talk. I'mma play the background, let that man do what he do and keep it Compton."
The Game and 50's marriage was never a natural union to begin with. Game was originally signed solely to Dr. Dre's Aftermath imprint, working on his album for a couple of years before Interscope Chairman Jimmy Iovine proposed bringing Game into the G-Unit fold. Iovine talked to Dre, who called in 50.
"They came up with the idea that I should roll with G-Unit because they already have a crazy buzz and they selling albums," Game told MTV last spring. "They got the East and they got the South; I'm from the West, obviously. I'm young and I'm hungry just like them. 50 is still in the streets, he's still hungry, still blowing up, and [Lloyd] Banks and [Young] Buck are doing their thing, so why not put the kid from Compton with these cats since they already out there? All they missing is the West Coast, and then you have a universal group."
"Game had actually been on Aftermath for two years before they gave me the opportunity to do the project with Dre," 50 told MTV in January. "I think creatively they were stuck a little, but then when I was brought in we were able to add new energy. They got excited about the project, brought him out, we recorded like nine records at the house in Farmington, [Connecticut]. He went back to Los Angeles with the records, Dre liked them, and I just got him re-motivated and he went in and finished up the album."
With Dre and the rest of Interscope fully behind Game's The Documentary, 50 said he felt neglected when it was time for his The Massacre LP to get its proper shine.
"There was points that I felt like the tail was wagging the dog, 'cause I was supposed to come out February 15 and Game was slated for January 18," 50 said. "The energy at Interscope Records feels crazy when you got artists based in the West Coast and they haven't had much come out of the West for a long time. When they start rallying around it, you could feel the energy. And then [Game] being right there from the West, the train runs down one track. So I'm sitting there waiting for that train to roll past me so I can get myself situated."
50 nearly missed the train. Monday on Power 105.1, he openly griped to Ed Lover that he felt a little neglected by Dr. Dre, who was tied up with Game. 50 said he was in L.A. for months waiting to be Dre's main focus. With that taking longer than he expected, the hulk from Queens started gathering beats from a litany of other producers and only ended up with two Dre songs on The Massacre.
"I can't sit there while he's tied up on another project," 50 fumed on the radio. "I love Dre, but if he's confused with what direction he wants to go in after this, my next album will have the same 20 cuts this album has on it, but it will be sold as a double CD. It will fulfill my requirements with Interscope Records. It will be the end of my Shady/Aftermath [deal] and I will move forward in my career as a Shady/G-Unit artist."
50 and Game's relationship got off to a rocky start almost immediately when a freestyle surfaced at the beginning of last year featuring Game and Joe Budden. Game and Budden didn't actually record their verses together, but Budden was accused by the G-Unit of taking subliminal shots at 50, Buck and Lloyd Banks. A lyrical beef between Budden and the G-Unit ensued (see "Mixtape Mondays: Mick Boogie, David Banner, Joe Budden, Game").
In the coming months, Game would adopt many of 50's beefs, including quarrels with Murder Inc. and the Silver Back Guerilla crew's Bang Em Smurf and Domination. Game was even featured on several mixtape records with the G-Unit crew. The machine seemed to be rolling with no problem.
"When we all in the studio, man, it's just crazy creativity," Game said last spring. "I'll use the LOX to kind of explain it, because when you got Jada, you got [Styles], you got Sheek, all these are MCs and they are all street, bringing something different to the table. Then when they jell you never have a problem, you never catch writer's block, you feed off one another. So that's what we try to do when we in there, and it's usually 50 that's the more creative 'cause he's real melody-driven, so it's usually him coming up with the song format.
"Then after that it's just me, Banks and Buck that take it. Now that [Tony] Yayo's home," Game continued (see "G-Unit's Tony Yayo Finally Out Of Prison"), "it just adds more base to a foundation that's already in its mold. It's crazy, man, the creativity, it's easy. We're knocking out three songs in a matter of an hour and a half. "
As early as this past summer, though, rumors about small instances of tension started spreading. 50 has confirmed in magazines and on radio that he vetoed Game appearing on the Diplomats' Jimmy Jones' solo debut, On My Way to Church, and thought Game appearing in the video for Jones' first single, the "Certified Gangsta" remix, was a mistake. According to 50, the public's first look at Game in a music video should have been in "How We Do."
As Game's popularity started growing in anticipation of his LP, more grumbling in the camp started to leak out, with sources attributing the gripes to everything from jealousy to Game's failure to follow orders from the G-Unit captain. Everyone affiliated with the G-Unit publicly denied the friction. Behind closed doors, however, tensions were obviously brewing, and only this year did Game go public, saying that he and 50 do butt heads once in a while and that they even had a shoving match (50 denies any physical altercation with Game).
Game and 50 were able to hold things together, even joining forces to perform on "TRL" in January. Well, there is no more fronting. Game has been banished from the G-Unit permanently, and 50's sentiments of disdain for Game have been seconded by Olivia, Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo and even Young Buck.
Game said Monday on Hot 97 that Buck was the only G-Unit member he was 100 percent cool with, but while Game was giving shout-outs to the Mayor of Cashville, Buck Marley was dissing Game on Power 105.1, saying, "Game is pretty much just a rapper. ... He's not what he says he is. ... He's one of them dudes that throws his bricks and hides his hands."
Later that night, 50, Banks, Olivia and Yayo appeared on Hot 97 with more sour words for Game.
"He went overseas, he heard the people screaming 'Game' and he bugged out on us," 50 fumed to Funkmaster Flex. "I think he has a problem with my position. I think he'd like to be 50 Cent, the head of the situation."
A shooting incident at Hot 97 would later interrupt Flex's show. Listeners could hear a voice in the studio away from the mic, asking, "What happened?" Another voice answered, "They shooting." Then another voice said, "Let's go. My n---as. My n---as!" Someone was gracious enough to say "Flex, sorry about that" as 50 and company were being whisked away.
Game was unable to be reached Tuesday (March 1), but sources close to the investigation said that on Monday night the Compton MC and some of his own crew went to Hot 97 while 50 and company were still on-air. Game and his people were not allowed in the building and, as police tell it, got into a confrontation with a group of men who were leaving Hot 97. A 24-year-old man police identified as Kevin Reed, from Game's hometown of Compton, California, was shot in the left leg and rushed to the hospital. Police said the man was not with 50's entourage. No suspects have been named, and no arrests have been made.
For more on 50 Cent, check out the feature "All Eyes On 50 Cent: The Sequel."