Since reuniting for The Beauty of Independence in August 2014, G-Unit has been trending upwards, which, of course, should come as no surprise. When Beg for Mercy dropped in 2003, it cemented the appeal of G-Unit. Sure, it benefited from the insane buzz surrounding 50 Cent at the time, but Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo and Young Buck were nothing to sneeze at either.
Young Buck has had a wild ride since the early G-Unit days. He was reportedly no longer with the group in 2008 after differences with 50. He found himself in subsequent financial trouble, and as if things couldn’t get any worse, he ended up having to do a bid on a weapons charge in 2012. Upon his release, Buck found himself busy and on the independent grind.
So when the group decided to get back together, his luck seemed to finally change for the better. “I think the presence of our music, and just the things that even me and 50 went through was hindering a lot,” explains Young Buck. “It never took the brand down, but it made people have to hold on[to] the brand.”
Looking to put the past behind him, Buck has started anew in 2015. He rang in the New Year with a freestyle, “New Years Cake,” and just released a new video for “Bring My Bottles” featuring 50 Cent and Tony Yayo, a happy celebration of good-times that it seems Buck is experiencing again. Now, the focus is on the upcoming EP The Beast is G-Unit. And, if The Beauty of Independence was any indication, the group’s next effort should be a treat for the fans.
“Me as an artist, I’m doing what I gotta do, and as a team, I’m amongst a team that been doing what we have to do,” says Buck. “We not new to this shit, man. This shit is just our following up and showing the guys that’s doing it now how this shit is really supposed to be done.”
Young Buck Discusses His New Single “Bring My Bottles”
HipHopDX: You’ve got a new single, “Bring My Bottles” you’ve got 50 and [Tony] Yayo off of The Beast Is G-Unit. It’s a fun music video. How has it been received thus far?
Young Buck: I mean it’s crazy, man. I expected the record to do well, but it’s doing really well. Honestly, I wanted to have more club records. I feel like “Shorty Wanna Ride” has been my biggest record to date, and it’s one of those feel good records, whether you play it in the club it’s just a good party song. I wanted to focus on having one of those records being that I was given the opportunity to kick off the EP with a solo record. I said, “Okay, let me do something. This is my opportunity to kinda give a record where the club, the deejays—almost like a no-brainer. Almost like a “In Da Club” record if I’m gonna compare a record: a record that you hear and you automatically know the minute that it comes on that this is it. This is one of those.
But the “Bring My Bottles” title in itself, it came about really about my day-to-day life when I’m in a club—I wouldn’t say day-to-day— but when I’m in the club, and you know, me and my guys when we do go to the club we like to have a good time, so we buy a lot of bottles and sometimes when you spending your money, you like, “Yo, where my bottles at? Bring me my bottles! Hold up, man! I’ve spent all these thousands of dollars on these bottles, and then they show up with no sparkle” [laughs]. So we just saying honor the fact that when we do come through and we do get with those guys or those people, whatever bottles you buy them. So bring me my bottes, man.
DX: You say, “Picked up a pack and I ain’t look back since ’96 / Since then I’ve been addicted to designer shit.” It’s no secret all the G-Unit cats have expensive taste. Is the video an accurate depiction of a night in the club for ya’ll?
Young Buck: Without a doubt. As far as when you get to — I’m speaking on the hook as far as “Bring Me My Bottles.” It’s catered to the presence of us in the club, and you know, we’re very seldom in the club with a cup. Nine times out of ten, you’re going to see us with bottles, like, “Bring Me My Bottles.” Now to speak on some of the references and the things I reference on throughout the verse, our experience is just dealing with my life.
My experience, Young Buck’s experience and the way Young Buck’s life is that. I always base my music off the reality, the realness. I speak on things and say things that’s really been there, or even are there while I’m saying it. So for me, I always try to add that element, and you always get those same bars in that record as well as others that have that same party feel.
And that’s what separates me from all the Southern artists. A lot of guys cater their music to one thing and nothing’s wrong with that, a lot of guys just come from the trap so that’s all they know, no disrespect to that. And that’s what they give you, and a lot of guys, that’s what they do, they do it in a real way and they do it well. But I happen to be one of those guys that come from the streets and I play the part of everything the street’s have to offer. I didn’t only just come from the trap. I picked up that thing too and had to come see you when it was time for that. I play every part for the streets. So when it come to making music, I’m not a one-dimensional artist.
It ain’t a one-minded thing. And maybe just outside of that, through streets as an artist in and of itself I’ve never been scared to try different things. I’ve always felt like the excitement for any artist or for any fan, I think the excitement for the fan is to see the artist to really dig themselves the next time around. So that’s what I think is exciting about Young Buck. Just to know that he has so much experience in different areas and so much going on and to see him dedicate all of his energy into this music, it’s like, “Damn, man.”
It’s magic, homey. It’s a special thing just to stay focused with G-Unit, not only Young Buck, but with the crew: with Lloyd Banks, with Tony Yayo, and with Kidd Kidd, because we actually really, really really got a whole sound on this thing. I think people have always understood the G-Unit sound, I should say. It’s like, when I speak on the G-Unit sound, it’s almost like a worldwide thing where you mix the East, West, and the South, as well as the Midwest all into one I should say. It’s not just one sound that’s Southern driven beats, or West Coast driven beats, but you get that now. You get to hear 50 Cent on some of these Southern driven tracks, or you get to hear Banks on these West Coast driven tracks or Southern tracks. We’re open to working in different areas that we just didn’t experience in the past. And it’s exciting, it’s fresh, it’s new, and it’s the shit, man.
Young Buck Talks About The G-Unit Reunion In 2014
DX: I’ve definitely got a couple questions for you along those lines. But before that, you mentioned being from the trap and from the South and how you’re different from the rest. On the new single “On Tha Way,” that has a real Southern flavor to it. When you’re doing stuff like that versus G-Unit, does the song-writing process change at all?
Young Buck: Without a doubt. “On Tha Way” is not a single thus far. “On Tha Way” is only a record that I choose to give to the streets. It’s like one of those records where you like, “Okay, here you go while you wait on what’s to come.” Honestly man, I am so loaded over here that when it come to music that I almost feel like I’m cheating the fans by sitting on all this material. And the “On Tha Way” record, if you listen to the title it’s the same thing, and even the hook, I’m saying, “Everything is on the way.” The G-Unit EP is on the way, and everything else is on the way. So that was one of those records I said, “Let me throw this out here just to give the people something to be able to sit on.”
The writing process is totally different. I fucks with guys that lyrically — especially Banks, man, [he] is lyrically blessed, I should say, in a real way, and it keeps me positive ‘cause when you surrounded amongst guys like 50 to Banks to Yay to Kidd Kidd, it keeps you on your game. Everybody has their own style, their own way of delivering the message and getting their point across on the mic. But everybody’s shit is real, and everybody at the same time has this, I would say… competition against each other, but it’s almost a friendly competition. It’s not that as if [we’re] against each other, we’re all competing just to show up. We all aware that the opportunity doesn’t really come around too much for individuals and we’re very, very much aware that we have to take full advantage of the opportunity that we’ve been given, even by the fans allowing and wanting to see the movement of G-Unit. So yeah, man. It’s on point right now.
DX: Obviously G-Unit had a big year in 2014. They even won HipHopDX’s Reunion of the Year award. When did ya’ll first start talking about doing it, and how did it develop?
Young Buck: It wasn’t a “We talked about doing it” type of situation. I spoke on it in the past, and I was real open about letting it be known that if it was ever a possibility of it happening, I was open to it. I never got a direct answer from 50 to say yes or no, but that wasn’t my answer, only because I know 50 that when he didn’t give me that direct yes or no, or, “I’m onto it,” or, “Yeah, I’m with it,” when he wasn’t giving that I thought, “Okay, maybe it’s a possibility,” because 50 is a real straightforward dude, he gonna let you know like, “yeah,” or, “no.” He didn’t really give it to that situation. So I knew that maybe he just didn’t want to answer the question at the time, or maybe he felt like, “Maybe it’s wrong for it to happen.”
So after awhile, time had went by, I’d been to prison and come home. I’d just really got out here with the whole mindframe of, “Regardless, let me push my line, and whatever happens out of my career, my focus is to get Buck back to where Buck needs to be.” I started putting out a few records, letting the people know that I was home. I didn’t have that big “Welcome Home” presence that you get from a lot of artists. It is what it is. I never really got that whole “Free Buck” campaign. Of course I had my people there, and the people that was there for me, but you never really got that full campaign. So I’ve spoken on my incarceration and people been like, “Oh damn, you went to prison!” So you know, that let’s me know that I was all the way off the radar, homey.
See, I’m aware of my position, but I’m also aware of this. You’ve got to be careful, man. Sometimes, in an individual sense, you count [yourself] out because sometimes those are the individuals God will allow you to have to count on, and that’s really one of those situations that the game is dealing with right now with a Young Buck anyway. I was counted out by a lot of people, but at the same time while I was counted out, I was still in the clique counting up. I was somewhere counting up while I was being counted out, and now I’m at a point where I’m being counted on and I’m showing up. So [for] me as an artist, I’m doing what I gotta do, and as a team, I’m amongst a team that’s been doing what we have to do. We not new to this shit, man. This shit is just our following up and showing the guys that’s doing it now how this shit is really supposed to be done.
And hey, man, we can’t do it without the cats like yourself, the HipHopDX’s, and all these other guys that get this real shit across to the people that don’t put the two on the two, or sugarcoat the shit. Ya’ll kind of give it to the people the way that you getting it, not like a mothafucka mixin’ the mothafuckin’ words up and shit like that, so I appreciate ya’ll man, straight up.
DX: You mentioned prison and you were off the grid for awhile there, like you said. With everything that’s happened since Buck the World, how does it feel to be back officially with the Unit?
Young Buck: I’ve never felt so good in my entire life, homey. And that’s without putting any kind of extras on it, homey. Being real, I’ve been through it, and it is what it is. I look at everything. I’ve had one of those careers where I’ve been blessed to have a lot in the beginning, and then run into trials and tribulations in the midst of my career [while] on the move and lose everything in front of me.
My shit was getting took, my shit was getting auctioned off, and all kinda crazy shit that was going on that was really outside of my hands and shit like that. But at the same time, it was still my fault ‘cause it’s my life and my career, so I never blame nobody and say, “Yo this is 50’s fault, this is why I’m going through this.” No, this is Buck’ fault. Now let me figure out a way to fix this shit, and then come back around and give these folks something that they’ve always wanted to see from me. And that’s really where I’m at with things now. I’ve never had a problem with accepting my responsibilities — I should say my wrongs either. I damn sure ain’t got no responsibility of showing you my rights, or telling you about them. So it’s like boom, I done gave ya’ll enough of my wrongs, a lot of people helped contributed to showing them. Now goddamn, now that I’ve given you my rights, let me show you I’m [in] the right, ‘cause this is the real deal. And then regardless, even the deal for those that may say, “No, man. It is what it is.”
No! You just can’t stop God’s plan, and if G-Unit isn’t a testimony to that, homey, then I really don’t know what it is that’s gonna work for anybody. It’s like we’re a testimony to this real shit, because this whole G-Unit thing from the beginning was started from real life, and it’s going to end on a real life note if ever that day come, because that’s all that’s involved in the situation, man, in real life and with real individuals, homey. Like I said, no disrespect to the game, but a lot of the music that you hear, and even during the time, I should say, of the absence of G-Unit in a sense, ‘cause we never went nowhere… I think the presence of our music, and just the things that even me and 50 went through was hindering a lot. It never took the brand down, but it made people have to hold on[to] the brand, ‘cause it’s a situation where it’s like, “We love these niggas. We don’t just love one, we love these niggas.” It was like, “Whenever they choose to get their thing back together, then we gonna continue to rock with these dudes.” So that’s where it’s at, man. And you know like I say, man, with all due respect to where the game is at, a lot of the music that’s out right now and that’s being promoted is just being away from the streets.
Look, I’ma say this much, because I don’t want nobody to get it twisted and say that, “Oh, just ‘cause you come from the streets, and this and that, and all of that.” Look, some of my closest friends have never seen no parts of the streets, or none of the life that I live, or lived, or come from. But the difference is they don’t portray that life. They don’t look for that life or even act like they lived that life, and that’s what makes them my friend, you know what I’m saying? I respect realness. So a lot of the game that you get right now is a lot of the guys that may have individuals that may be around them and may come from what they may speak on — not them as individuals actually playing the part, meaning they got they hands dirty and dealt with some of the things that they speak on. But some of these individuals are in real positions of power, and when you have that type of individual that’s in a position of power, there’s no other way to say that other than what he giving off to the people is not real in a sense within him, because you may say, “Okay, I’m giving it all to the people, ‘cause this is what your man live.” And that was your man. But I’m more straightforward, those that give it off to the people and say, “Yo, this is who I am,” because therefore I know I’m following the truth. And that’s what they get as soon as they get a chance to follow the truth. Like I say, and I’m saying that I’m not disrespecting nobody or hand-picking nobody out of the game. But I’m just saying from the outside looking in, homey, it’s not hard to see through the bullshit. Just don’t think that the real don’t see that shit. We see that shit, we understand that shit. But we with it and we coming, and when we do get in the position of power, just understand that shit will never be the same.
Young Buck Speaks On His Relationship With 50 Cent
DX: Speaking to that, like you said, it’s easy to make assumptions or even judge a book by its cover for that matter, but you’ll know better than anyone, 50 has got to be like family to you at this point because of how well you know each other and all you’ve been through.
Young Buck: 50 is my brother.
DX: What do you say to people that maybe have ideas of their own of what’s going on that might not even know?
Young Buck: That’s a real, real good question. That’s one of the dopest questions that I’ve been asked in an interview for 2015, being real with you, homey. And I say that because what you just asked is kind of like what I deal with on a day-to-day basis, not only with the fans, but my own individual circle at times. Because you’ve got to understand, all my friends ain’t 50’s friends, homey.
So it’s like even my friends sometimes may say, “Hey, man, what’s going on?” Or, “How is the relationship?” ‘Cause like I said, all my friends ain’t 50’s friends, so they don’t get a chance to really see who 50 actually is and know 50, and I tell them all the time just as well as I tell you, man: we’ll never, and you’ll never in this world see another dude like that. In this game, the Rap game, there’ll never be another 50 Cent. As a friend, I’ll never have a friend like 50 Cent. And I mean every piece of that shit too. You can take everything that I been through with the nigga, the negative shit that you heard me speak on, put all of that in the midst of it and say what I just said, ‘cause I mean it from the bottom of my heart. It ain’t a dollar that’s been given to me from a 50 Cent that’s making me tell you this. My relationship with 50 Cent ain’t based on the dollar, homey. Not just my relationship ‘cause I have to take initiative to speak for the crew on this one, homey. Our relationships with 50 Cent is [sic] not built from the dollar. Not me, not Banks, not Yayo, nor Kidd Kidd.
Our relationship with 50 is built strictly from the heart, from the love first and foremost. And I learned that from 50, 50 deals with his loved ones, from his people. He deals with you from the heart, he deals with everything else from the hand and there’s a reason for that. I understand it now.
That’s how you see me moving as a boss, because I understand everything that I’ve been taught now. It all makes sense to me now, and it’s on. You hear it even when I’m talking to you. It’s like birth if I’m being honest with you, I didn’t understand it at the time a lot of the things that was being taught to me from him. But everything has been taught to me from him, all makes sense. All of it. And It’s crazy to say that, and one of those key things is like I said, which you was asking about was like, the ones he loves and individuals you consider your loved ones, you deal with them from the heart. Period.
And what you consider outside of your loved ones, it’s your choice how you deal with anything else but what I choose to deal with anything is considered outside of my loved ones, I deal with them with the hand. Now that don’t mean that it’s not no respect involved in it; I’m respecting both of them. But anything outside of my loved ones, I deal with them from the hand only because this: when you deal with your loved ones, man, you deal with them from the heart. It take a little bit to get to the heart, homey. You gotta go through the chest cavities, all kinds of different stuff to get to before you get to the heart. When you’re dealing with a person from the hand, it ain’t really too hard to deal with them from the hand, and the special thing about dealing with a person from the hand, if they hand’s dirty and they put some shit on it, shit you don’t like, it’s nothing that won’t wash with grease off. But bro, if you can get in there to wash they heart, man, they gotta cut you open; man, they kill you just to wash it. Do you know your chances when you dealing with that heart? But my hands right now, my G, I’m finna walk in this restroom right now and wash these mothafuckas, homey. So that’s my thing, man, and I got that from 50 Cent. When you hear Buck and you watch me move, just know my G, you watching me move, I’m a mirror. You’re looking at the younger version, bro, of Mr. 50 Cent himself. I’m nothing but a younger repeat all the way around the board, from the business to all this shit. That’s my teacher, that’s my brother, that’s my mentor. All that. So there you have it.
DX: Going back to G-Unit, what’s the creative process like as a group? When you were making The Beauty of Independence, was that something ya’ll were in the studio for, or is that more something that you can create-as-you-got?
Young Buck: Nah, we all happened to be in the studio for the process, and even with the EP that’s about to hit the streets in a minute. The Beauty of Independence we made at 50’s house. The reunion had just went down, and everybody was just really back getting the feel amongst each other period, it’d been years since we’d been amongst each other. So it wasn’t really just based on the music, it was even more than that, boom, we out just having a good time and just enjoying each others’ friendship. I think there’s a few things you may have seen around the time on the Instagram where I’m barbecuing and shit at the house and all kinda things. So we really focused on our time versus that going in to making music. And then the process naturally starts. You say, “Okay, boom!.”
You know what? The ultimate picture, here it is: I think the focus in the beginning wasn’t us. The focus was making sure and just getting back with each other the genuine of it all, and then everyone realized, “Man, this shit is really genuine. I really miss my fuckin’ brothers, bruh.” And most other people looking back must’ve been like, “Damn, man. How in the fuck did we go this long? This is some bullshit” [laughs]. So that’s what drives the force to saying, “Turn them goddamn mics on, man. Where the goddamn beats at, man? Like damn, how did we allow ourselves to do this?” So it’s like, “Oh shit, let’s catch up, ‘cause we let these niggas slip up and get in the way. It was our fault we kept our foot on you niggas and we slipped up on our own. You niggas didn’t fuck us up. By far, ‘cause we done never been fucked up.”
But we all, I think, realized that together we’re strong. We’re very strong together and we don’t, I don’t think we could ever separate from each other in the manner or the way that you’ve seen in the past.
DX: And this is not the G-Unit I grew up with only because Kidd Kidd is in the group now. What’s the inclusion of Kidd Kidd been like?
Young Buck: This is the G-Unit you grew up with!
DX: Of course it is! But you know what I mean.
Young Buck: [Laughs] Nah, nah, nah, I’m just really fuckin’ with you bro. Nah, I know exactly what you saying, bro.
Let me put it this way: let’s say you’ve got a Rolex. You got this Rolex, right? And this mothafucka a presidential Rolex and over the years you done grown and got bigger, so your arm done growed a little bit. But this mothafucka still a presidential Rolex and it’s like it don’t change from being a presidential. I mean it’s got the DBS bezel that go along with it, the whole nine, but your arm is a little bit too big for it now. So now you have to go add a link just to make it fit right, know what I’m saying? And you add that link and once you add that link you put it on and step outside and it’s like, “Oh shit!”
Kidd Kidd is that missing link that we had to have. That we needed. And he’s one that can hold his own. Kidd Kidd is not no freshman to this Rap shit. Kidd Kidd has been pushing his line for a long time, a lot of people hear him on the “Mrs. Officer” record back with Lil Wayne. He was featured on that, and even before then Kidd Kidd has been in these streets, he been in the South for a long time. And New Orleans love him. His shit is real, his life is for real. So it made sense once I came around and seen and met Kidd Kidd, it made sense to me exactly what 50 seen when he met the nigga from the beginning. I seen it from the beginning like, “Oh shit. Okay, this is what it is.” I would’ve done the same goddamn thing. So yeah, Kidd Kidd is a special dude. I’m excited just to see him blow and see him moving ‘cause I feel like he’s like me. We underdogs. We haven’t really got our just due out the game, but we blessed to be with an individual that’s allowing us to do that, man.
Look, man, we can look at the Rap game right now and see how easy it is for — whether it’s the money, whatever the fuck it is, to make shit get fucked up. But to have a mothafucka like 50 Cent on your side, honestly, man, I don’t put two on two, I don’t make 50 no business and he always rich. You know why? ‘Cause I don’t have to. And I tell you this shit ‘cause it’s the truth. Being 100 with you. To have a person on your side pushing you to go make your own shit happen. That will give you whatever push that you need from him to make your own shit happen, as an artist, what the fuck more could you ask for? I’m being real, so I don’t play that shit when it come to speaking about my homies. Hell yeah, straight up, let this shit be known it’s time for it to be known. Because these niggas be on these labels, these niggas is starving. These niggas got stomach pains. I know because I come off of stomach pain, nigga. But I didn’t have a 50, I had myself and a chance to be away from a 50, and to come back and to really respect what I have in a fucking boss, homey. You understand what I’m saying? It take that sometimes, homey, for you to get your ass thinking and get back at that.
You know, for me, I realize, “Oh, damn.” And I say that just ‘cause, like I say, a lot of these dudes, they sit in front of these cameras, they rap in front of the cameras and they feelings. They really in they feelings. They mad at the nigga that standing beside them that shinin’ with them. Don’t get this shit fucked up, bruh, this Rap shit is crazy it is. But over here, it is not that, it’s the real deal. And mothafuckas gotta get that off, ‘cause I’ma make sure they understand. Period. And I’m telling you! I’m telling you they gonna get it regardless. I’m gonna push my line. I’m pushing, ‘cause they gotta understand what this mean. You’ll never see shit like this again in your life, homey. Straight up. You know Big Meech gave it to ya’ll when he came with that real shit. The whole movement of being the best, he was in line. When you put a lot of real niggas together, real shit happen, you get real results. This shit, you’ll never see this shit in the Rap game again in your life. Straight up. ‘Cause there’ll never be another 50. So I’m being honest.
Young Buck Describes His Independent Grind & Today’s Industry
Young Buck: I take pride in it too because I’ve had a chance to really, really understand the game. I come in this shit young. I’ve been doing this shit since I was 13 years old. I come from the independent grind. It used to cost me $300 to print up a thousand CDs. I sell them shits for $10 a piece in front of a Citgo gas station right beside Tennessee State University, homey. I did that shit to the point where I would put my numbers on the damn CDs, I’m hand-to-handing these goddamn CDs, and I build a buzz up in my CDs where I put up my numbers and people liking it. They calling and I’m selling more CDs than I was selling the fucking dope. And then I realized, “Damn, this shit is outselling, I ain’t even got a risk with this shit. I can ride around with a pack of CDs and bang this shit off and have no worries and ain’t gotta worry about none of this shit.” Listen, I dedicated all my energy to that shit then. Straight up. So for me, I come from the independent grind. I’m saying that to you to say [that] the game right now has shifted. If you have no knowledge as an artist to be able to capitalize off of these numbers that the game is actually being soft, like your 50,000s, your 30,000s, your 20,000s, your 60,000s, if you have no knowledge as an artist, man, to be able to capitalize off these numbers, or you have no knowledge to be able to maneuver in this game with where the game is at being with those gigantic checks and shit like big budgets and shit is not there, then you’re at home, you know where to be found. Not G-Unit. We right here. We not only right here, homey, we making more money than all you mothafuckas, and no disrespect, but half of these mothafuckas got major deals, they’re going out and flopping on they 30-40,000, and the big dog at the label is calling and saying, “Hey, man, I’m sorry to tell you this, but it’s nothing we can do, man, we’re in debt.” Not all of ya’ll that’s relevant is still here, but with an individual like 50 Cent, that’s just Don Gottem status and shit, strictly business man and strictly has this marketing genius shit going on with himself. To have an individual like that, man, that’s able to know how to strategize the markets, strategize not only to be able to make the artist money, but to be able to give the world good music, man, that’s a blessing. And it need to be televised. It need to be spoken on like I’m speaking on it.
So it’s like — look man, the interesting part, bro, honestly, is the excitement to not know what the fuck is about to happen with G-Unit. I’m telling you this ‘cause that’s where I’ve been with it. You don’t know what this dude is gonna do, bruh. I could hang up the phone right now with you, and ain’t no telling—that’s what makes G-Unit, and always makes G-Unit be the total focus. How could you not paint a picture to us, when you got an individual like 50 that could be like, “Hey, everything’s cool right now, but fuck talking for that shit is the best thing”? And really mean it and have a true reason behind saying it. Not just to say it just to get some publicity, but really give you a reason behind his “fuck you’s.”
DX: That’s incredible, man. Last question: who are your Top 5 Tennessee rappers?