Tony Yayo has recalled the time when G-Unit received racial backlash because of their affiliation with Eminem in their heyday.
In an interview with VladTV, the G-Unit soldier started by speaking about his relationship with Benzino and the Hip Hop group Made Men. He then spoke about Eminem’s cerebral ability to process conflicts in music before revisiting the hate they received for working with him.
“We even got called house n-ggas for fucking with Eminem,” Yayo said. “The Source, they would take it to a whole ‘nother level. That’s when the disrespect for me was like, well damn, what does color have to do with anything with music? What does color have to do with anything with people? I don’t care what color or religion you are. That’s just me. We from New York. It’s a melting pot of people.”
He continued: “We grew up around all kinds of people, so I don’t give a fuck what color you are. I don’t look at you as a culture vulture ’cause you white. That could be somebody else’s opinion. It’s not mine. Melle Mel said something about Eminem. [Eminem] did more for me, him and 50, than anybody has ever done in my career.
“Till the day it’s all said and done, I’ma shout-out Eminem. But everybody always blow shots at Eminem. He wouldn’t be on [Billboard‘s Top 50 Greatest Rappers of All Time] list … if he wasn’t a fucking lyrical tyrant. If he wasn’t fucking nice with it, they wouldn’t be mad at him.”
Watch the interview clip below:
Tony Yayo’s recollection of G-Unit’s relationship with Eminem mirrors others forms of criticism the Detroit rap icon faced early in his career.
In a revealing op-ed for XXL in 2022, Slim Shady reflected on his iconic career, which he explained started out a bit rocky due to the color of his skin.
“When things started happening for me, I was getting a lot of heat, being a white rapper, and XXL wrote something about that,” Eminem wrote. “I remember going to one of those newsstands in New York when the magazine had just started out, and I bought that and a couple of other rap magazines. I flipped to the last page first and XXL was dissing me. What the fuck?
“I don’t even know if I read the whole article — I was used to reading things like that about me — but it hurt because I felt they didn’t know me to make that kind of judgment,” he added. “Coming up, I had to deal with that a lot. I wanted to be respectful because what I do is Black music. I knew I was coming into it as a guest in the house. And XXL, The Source, Rap Pages and VIBE were Hip Hop bibles at the time.
“I understood, at the same time, everybody’s perception of a white guy coming into Hip Hop and all of a sudden things start happening for him. So, if XXL would’ve even had a conversation with me, maybe they would’ve understood me more.”