Queens MC [artist id="1689514"]Tony Yayo[/artist] may have an eye for spotting hometown talent. Before Nicki Minaj joined the ranks of Young Money and was still making a name for herself on the underground circuit, Yayo heard some of the fledgling femcee's bars and was impressed enough to jump on a track with her. The G-Unit soldier broke down their near-collaboration during his "RapFix Live" interview Thursday.
"She was out there and she was messing with this guy named Fendi. I was trying to do a record with her, but Fendi was like, 'For what? Why you wanna do something with her?' Then I left it alone. This was a long, long time ago when I was seeing her on the 'Come Up' DVDs, 'cause that's how she started," Yayo explained.
Even if he didn't get on a record with Minaj, Yayo felt that someone needed to scoop up the promising lyricist to serve as the flagship diva of a hip-hop crew.
"You know what's crazy? Like, three years ago, I said to [music executive and G-Unit producer] Sha Money [XL] ... 'You need a hot female artist, rapper. I'm telling you, that lane is open,' " Yayo recalled.
Even though Sha shot him a look of disbelief, Yayo pressed on. " 'I'm telling you, Sha, that female lane, that rapper lane is wide open.' What she did was capture it at the right time, 'cause nobody's out. There's no Lil' Kim out, there's no Foxy ... she just conquered that lane at the right time with the right people."
For Minaj's part, the Young Money queen has seemed open to hooking up with G-Unit in the studio. When MTV News caught up with the "Your Love" spitter over the summer and posed the question of a possible collabo with fellow Queens-bred lyricist 50 Cent, she said the opportunity never came up.
"Our paths never crossed, and it's weird," Minaj said on MTV2's "Sucker Free Countdown." Although she didn't mention chopping it up with Yayo, she has made the acquaintance of one of his fellow Unit brethren. "I did meet [Lloyd] Banks, like, once or twice before."
What do you think a Nicki Minaj/ Tony Yayo song would sound like? Let us know in the comments!