He didn't say T.I.'s name — but the general consensus by hip-hop fans, journalists and bloggers is that 50 Cent took a jab at the King of the South on the G-Unit's album cut "You So Tough." Fif's alleged implication about Tip? The unbelievable: that T.I. is a snitch who's working with the authorities to get a lighter prison sentence.
On the record, which appears on the Unit's new Terminate on Sight LP, 50 raps "Nowadays this rap sh-- ain't adding up/ How n----s get caught with 10 machine guns, only get 12 months/ Oowee, don't talk to me/ You talk to him, you talking to them."
"I got the best lawyers that money can buy," 50 rapped on Monday, finishing his verse for MTV News, alongside Tony Yayo and Lloyd Banks. "They say at best they would've got me 10 or maybe nine/ I said, 'How do you explain how homie breezed?' They said, 'You keep your mouth shut or you eat the cheese.' "
Of course, everyone is inferring that 50 was talking about Tip's recent legal woes. Charged with a slew of gun-possession charges, the Atlanta rapper would have faced a severe sentence if he had gone to trial and been found guilty. However, with a plea bargain, T.I. is only expected to do a year in prison, starting his sentence sometime in 2009.
So why the swipe at Tip, who 50 has been known to be cool with? Fif noted that he didn't mention anyone's name and even clarified that he had no beef with T.I.
"It's like 'CSI': You use real-life situations to create something that's entertaining without being specific," 50 said. "When have you known me to be indirect with an issue? If I had a problem with any artist, trust me, they would know. I take [that situation], and I write that because a lot of people think that. They're not saying it because they're cowardly people. When you write it and put it there and leave and say, 'Let me watch and see what happens.' There's so much controversy around it, and you didn't say anything. Then you go, 'See, they think that.' They just won't say it to him because they're a bunch of punks."
Back to the question at hand: Is the "him" Fif was referring to T.I.? "[It's] absolutely for the public to decide," 50 said. "My intentions — you know me, you know my MO — I would just say something. It's not really directed at him. It's me taking real-life situations. These things are relevant to hip-hop, period. I make something that's interesting enough for people to sink their teeth into, and I move forward."
The next single from the album might very well be the one Yayo likes the most, "Straight Outta Southside," a tip of the fitted cap to N.W.A. as well as the slain Southside Queens, New York, native Sean Bell.
"My favorite, hands down, is 'Straight Outta Southside,' " Yayo said of the track, which was leaked a couple of weeks ago. "Rest in peace to Sean Bell. It's a tribute to him. It starts off the album. It's real aggressive."
"My favorite song? It changes, [but] right now it's 'Closer,' " 50 weighed in. "It's a song Banks kinda created the chorus for. It was one of the last songs we recorded. That could have something to do with why it's one of my favorites, 'cause we just made it."
Banks himself said he's partial to the title track. "It's so bouncy," the former Boy Wonder said. "Each one of our flows is completely different. It's hard, man."
"This is the first album we actually made together," 50 added about working with Yayo and Banks. "Yayo was incarcerated while we did Beg for Mercy. He was only featured on a couple of pieces. He missed out on that one. He was there in spirit, but he wasn't there."
"I treated him like a younger brother," 50 said. "For him to say and do the things he did — made a whole 'nother space for him. I pardoned him a lot for the things he said and was doing. Finally, he exhausted it."
MTV News will have much more from our sitdown with G-Unit in the coming days — and head here to find out what happened during this interview to make 50 say, "I get to kiss all the lovely white girls!"