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Combat Jack Presents: True Stories Behind 25 Rap Classics

50 Cent f/ Nate Dogg "21 Questions" (2003)


Produced by: Midi Mafia
"I first heard about 50 Cent back in 1999, when my dude and former client Deric 'D-Dot' Angelettie, a.k.a The Madd Rapper was featured on 50's first single, 'How To Rob.' The next time I heard about 50 was in March of 2000. I received a call from one of my clients who was hired to produce a track for 50 in connection with his first album, Power Of The Dollar. That March, he and some members of his production team were in the famed Hit Factory recording studios with 50 Cent, in one of the smaller rooms. On this particular evening, 50's rivals, members of the famed Murder Inc. were also booked in The Hit Factory, in a different room. Apparently, some members of the Inc. had peeped 50 in the building and decided they would roll up in his session and ride on whoever was present. Right in the middle of recording, 50's session was interrupted by at least five crew members of the Inc. As the goons rushed the room, they decided to cut off the lights in an attempt to further 'shock and awe' 50 and his companions. Shit got real hectic, with the producers and 50 going for theirs in defense against their attackers. When it was over, 50 Cent realized that his beef with Murder Inc. had just escalated to a whole new level.

"The third time I heard about 50 Cent was on May 24, 2000, when he was shot nine times. Dino, my boy who was an A&R at Universal and was the dude responsible for signing the Cash Money Millionaires, had seen the opportunity and was the first exec willing to stick his neck out to sign 50. Dino wanted to lock 50 down with the quickness and 50 needed a lawyer, so Dino called me, asked me if I was interested in meeting 50, or if I was shook like a lot of our fellow industry colleagues on account of 50's beef. I told Dino I wouldn't mind working with 50, especially since the mixtape was fuego. Dino knew that if I was hired by 50, I would make the deal happen unlike some other attorneys who had a rep for drawing deals out, making things difficult for all parties involved. 50 called me shortly after. We arranged a meeting to break bread and discuss whether we could establish a working relationship. On the day of our meeting 50 showed up promptly to my office. Even though he had 'taken some time off' to heal and recuperate, niggas was still out in the streets gunning for him. Because of that, he was rocking a fresh bulletproof vest, accompanied by his manager Sha Money XL and one other dude who mos def looked like he was a shooter.

"Curtis was incredibly focused. Perhaps the most focused person I had ever met during my time on this planet. The man spoke calmly, with incredible clarity as to his immediate and future plans, how he was going to get his family out the hood, put together an album that wouldn't just shock the world but would also make him very rich. How with his newfound wealth, he would put himself in a position of power and build an army to take care of all his rivals who placed him in his current position, a position of having to move quietly, carefully, of having to constantly watch his back. With very little emotion, but with the charisma of a star, Mr. Jackson explained how in a short period of time the tables would be turned and how he would be sitting on top of an empire that would extend far beyond any record deal. No bravado, none of that 'nah mean' swagger that so many rappers brandish when inflating their infantile images to the public, just methodical, well-thought-out, step-by-step plans that would ensure the success of his goals. Curtis conducted the entire meeting looking both me and my partner dead in our eyes, but it was apparent to me that he was looking through us, beyond the here and now.

"I was repping Midi Mafia, a production team consisting of Bruce Wayne and Dirty Swift. Dino from Universal connected them to 50 when he thought Fif was going to sign to Universal. '21 Questions' had already been selected before 50 decided to make a power move and join forces with Dr. Dre and the white boy Eminem. I was glad that the song became a single. Midi Mafia made money, Dino made money for making that record happen, I made money, and 50, well, he went on to becoming one of my favorite entertainers. I didn't say rapper, only because I believe 50 isn't a rapper. The rapper dude died when he got shot them nine times. And as long as he continues to be everything but a rapper, I will continue to enjoy the ever-continuing saga that is the 50 Cent show. 50 Cent the rapper is dead; long live 50 Cent, the world's smartest entertainer."

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