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Tony Yayo

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Marvin Bernard (born March 31 1978)[1], better known by his stage name Tony Yayo, is an American rapper and hype man, and part of the rap group G-Unit.

Biography

Early life

Growing up with 50 Cent and Lloyd Banks, they formed the group G-Unit. They released several successful mixtapes together, slowly creating a buzz for themselves on the streets of New York. With the success of their mixtapes, Tony Yayo quickly made a name for himself in the rap circuit.

G-Unit

G-Unit was founded when childhood friends, Lloyd Banks, 50 Cent and Tony Yayo decided to make a group with each other. They met Young Buck when Cash Money group came to New York and 50 Cent heard Young Buck rapping. After 50 Cent signed his contract with Aftermath Entertainment they signed Young Buck.

Fronted by 50 Cent, G-Unit quickly redefined the urban music industry back to gangsta rap. They produced a series of mixtape albums with original numbers and high quality artwork, making the discs something more than a bootleg, but not quite an independent release.

2005 1104hoopsmania0016

Tony Yayo performing at Villanova Hoops Mania in 2005.

50 Cent was soon granted his own record label by Dr. Dre and released the album Get Rich or Die Tryin. Soon after the group had established their own record label, G-Unit Records, G-Unit released their first official group album Beg for Mercy in November of 2003, which went on to be certified 2x Platinum. [2] [3]

Free Yayo

On December 31 2002, nearly a year before the release of G-Unit's highly anticipated album, Beg for Mercy, Tony Yayo was arrested along with 50 Cent on weapons-possession charges. During a background check, police discovered Yayo had an outstanding warrant for a previous weapons-possession charge. In early 2003, he was sentenced for bail jumping and would remain in jail until the beginning of 2004. As a result, he was unable to record for the album and was therefore only featured on two tracks that had been recorded before.

During Tony Yayo's imprisonment, G-Unit became increasingly popular. They started a campaign called "Free Yayo". Many G-Unit videos featured the group's members wearing "Free Yayo" t-shirts, but Yayo himself was unaware of the attention he was receiving. The prison inmates that Yayo shared a television with preferred watching sports rather than music videos. When Eminem and 50 Cent were scheduled to make an appearance during the Grammy Awards, he convinced everyone to change the channel. It was the first time he saw a "Free Yayo" shirt-this time worn by Eminem.[4] Inspired by the shirt, he started working extra hard on his rhymes while keeping in touch with the G-Unit crew who were letting him know that he would get his chance once he was a free man.

On January 8 2004, Tony Yayo was released from prison, but after presenting a forged passport to his parole officer a day later, he was imprisoned again for a few weeks. Upon release, Tony Yayo was finally able to start work on his debut album. Whilst working on his album, he was also recording on the G-Unit Radio mixtape series in which he announced his return on the street level.

Albums

While his appearances on mixtapes announced his return on the street level, his summer hit "So Seductive" let the rest of the world know. In August, while his single was dominating urban radio, MTV, and BET, Yayo released his debut, Thoughts of a Predicate Felon.[5] The other singles that were released from this album were: "Curious", "Pimpin'", "Drama Setter", and "I Know You Don’t Love Me".

I Am 50’s Tax Write-off is Tony Yayo's second album.[6]

Controversy

The Game

Tony Yayo willingly involves himself in the G-Unit and The Game feud. He has been known to denounce The Game's street credibility in various interviews and diss songs. On his mixtape G-Unit Radio Pt.23: Finally Off Papers, Tony Yayo made some hits towards The Game in the track Mo Money, Mo Problems by poking fun about his album sales being considerably less without the help of 50 Cent or G-Unit. At the end of the track, he finished by calling The Game a "faggot". In an interview with MTV, Tony Yayo aired his feeling towards many rappers who he "doesn’t believe". He said

I don't believe Cam'ron, I don't believe Jim Jones, I don't believe Lil Wayne, I don't believe Baby, I don't believe Game and I don't believe Fat Joe[7]

Czar Entertainment

On March 24 2007, Tony Yayo was arrested for allegedly assaulting the 14 year-old son of The Game's manager, Jimmy "Henchmen" Rosemond. Tony Yayo and 50 Cent were accused of approaching the child, with members of their entourage, and pushing him against a nearby wall. This was when Tony Yayo reportedly slapped the boy several times and said "Fuck Czar Entertainment". Tony Yayo has pleaded "not guilty" and 50 Cent has since proved his innocence with video footage showing him at his Connecticut mansion at the time of the alleged incident.[8]

Tony Yayo made his first court appearance on the morning of April 25 2007 in New York. The case was adjourned to July 24. Tony Yayo’s Lawyer has expressed his belief that Yayo is innocent and commented on the situation in an interview with MTV:

After a thorough investigation, I steadfastly and adamantly state to you that Tony Yayo did not slap anyone, I am hopeful that when the authorities complete their investigation, they will come to the same conclusion. Yayo, as a father, understands the allegations and would never do anything to harm a child… [9]

On April 18 2007, the house of Tony Yayo’s mother was "sprayed with bullets". The attack is believed to be in connection with Tony Yayo’s recent arrest. [10] The Game later released a "diss" track on his mixtape You Know What It Is Vol. 4: Murda Game Chronicles, titled "Body Bags".

On July 24 2007, Tony Yayo attended a court hearing regarding his alleged assault. The prosecution offered him a nine-month prison sentence if he pleaded guilty which he rejected. His lawyer, Scott Leemon, said:

The prosecution's nine-month offer is one Tony vehemently rejected. It's not even a good offer for a guilty person, and Tony denies the allegations absolutely.[11]

One of the men from Tony Yayo's entourage, a co-defendant, admitted that it was him, not Yayo who slapped Henchmen Junior on January 10, 2008.[12]

Cam’ron

Tony Yayo openly involves himself in 50 Cent's Feuds. The most recent example of this would be the 50 Cent Vs Cam’ron Feud. Although Tony Yayo hasn’t released a direct diss track towards Cam’ron he has voiced his opinion through interviews. In an interview with MTV, Tony Yayo commented on what he thinks of the situation:

I feel like Cam’ron is a peon. Let's ask the general public: When is the last time Cam’ron made a fucking hit? It's time for these niggas to pay the piper. Rap is a competitive sport and I play around with it. Sometimes dudes catch feelings, sometimes they don't. Me, I don't understand these dudes. These dudes reach out on the phone and try to call people. After that incident, Jim, he reached out to Buck. This is what Buck tells me: Jim Jones reaches out to Buck and was trying to tell Buck to get me on the phone. I don't do the phone thing. I don't need none of these rap niggas to be my friends. My best friend sells the most records and makes the most money ... I've seen checks for $5.5 million that 50 Cent is generating monthly just from his Vitamin Water. I don't believe Cam’ron, I don't believe Jim Jones, I don't believe Lil Wayne, I don't believe Baby, I don't believe Game and I don't believe Fat Joe[13]

Jim Jones

This feud took off when Tony Yayo yelled "boring" instead of "balling" (a reference to "We Fly High") backstage at a show where both G-Unit and Dipset were performing.[14] Jim Jones responded in an interview on a radio station by saying that Tony Yayo was an immigrant. Jim Jones said:

I don't know if he said that, but if that little nigga said that he need to get his money up 'cause I'm balling for real, you know what I'm talking about?. It's all aggressive competition to each his own, smell me? You dig? That nigga's an immigrant. He's a straight hater, he belong in little Haiti[15]

Tony Yayo took a shot at Jim Jones on Shade 45, claiming that Jim Jones was trash, and that he was disrespecting Haitians.[16] Tony Yayo stated that Jim Jones tried to phone him, but Tony Yayo refused to take the call. He said:

Jim was trying to reach out to me, reach out through other people from the street, but I never accepted his call. He gets on radio and says, "Yayo, you's an immigrant". So you disrespecting every Haitian on the planet. So he played himself like that. I'm like, "These dudes is fools". Jim Jones cannot fuck with me creatively. You can't be serious. Cam'ron, none of them can fuck with me creatively, and I got more money than them. I can call 50 right now and borrow $5 million dollars. It's not a problem.[17]

Tony Yayo later addressed Jim Jones on his mixtape Finally Off Papers (G-Unit Radio Pt. 23) on the track "Mo Money, Mo Problems".[18] He yells "Boring!" in the background to mock Jim Jones as well as shouting other insults towards him at the end of the track. [19]

Tony Yayo and Jim Jones have settled their feud and have even performed together. They also both appeared on BET's "Rap City" which 50 Cent was hosting.[20]

Discography


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