50 Cent rattled the cages of Hip Hop’s mainstream with the release of his debut album Get Rich or Die Tryin’, but one standout song nearly didn’t make the cut.
During a recent appearance on Big Boy’s Neighborhood, 50 confirmed that Dr. Dre didn’t believe the Nate Dogg-assisted “21 Questions” was a fit for the acclaimed 2003 project, but the G-Unit boss’ intuition said otherwise.
“He said, ‘I don’t know why you want?’ Why I wanted the record,” he explained. “I’m like, ‘Damn, I gotta do all these muthafuckin’ push-ups?’ Dre would say this is N.W.A… ‘We didn’t do that.’
“Like they didn’t have to reach to make a commercial record or anything that sounded like a commercial record. And that’s just in his DNA. Like on his path, he’s like, ‘We don’t need that.'”
View this post on Instagram
Produced by “Dirty Swift,” the storytelling love ballad would prove 50’s gut right and “21 Questions” became his second Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hit as the single topped the chart for four weeks and remained on the Hot 100 for 23 weeks.
Dre allegedly didn’t understand how a love song could fit into 50 Cent’s gangster persona, but 50 always wanted to maintain a duality and commercial appeal.
“Dre was, like, ‘How you going to be gangster this and that and then put this sappy love song on?’ ” 50 recalled in 2005. “But I told him, ‘I’m two people. I’ve always had to be two people since I was a kid, to get by. To me that’s not diversity, it’s necessity.'”
While “21 Questions” could be a lethal go-to track to play in a Verzuz battle, don’t expect to see 50 Cent in one anytime soon, according to Tony Yayo.
“I think 50’s on the level where he’ll never do a Verzuz, bro,” the G-Unit cog said. “He’s not interested in certain things like that. I just think, you know, that guy sold a lot of records, he gets a lot, a lot of money — and not saying that anything is wrong with Verzuz I just think he’s not interested in doing it, you know?”