|Parent company||Universal Music Group|
|Distributor(s)||Interscope Geffen A&M
(In the US)
(In the UK)
Universal Music Group
|Country of origin||United States|
G-Unit Records is an American record label, specializing in both hip hop and gangsta rap, founded in 2003 by rapper 50 Cent. Upon its inception, it operated as a subsidiary of, and was distributed through, Universal Music Group's Interscope Records. In August 2010, the label added an additional distribution with EMI, however, it still maintains a distribution with Interscope. G-Unit Records has a subsidiary label called G-Note Records that caters to other genres of music including R&B, dance and pop. The label's acts over the years have earned RIAA certifications of Gold or higher on 6 of its 12 released albums.
Following the success of 50 Cent's debut album, Get Rich or Die Tryin', he was granted his own record label, G-Unit Records. G-Unit, then consisting of Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo and Young Buck, was signed to the label as a group as well as solo artists. Bang Em Smurf was very closely affiliated with them before they signed to Interscope Records. He claimed that before 50 Cent saw mainstream success, the two recorded a mixtape from which they would earn $5 each, they sold 400,000 copies. 50 Cent allegedly never gave Bang Em' Smurf his share. In addition to this Bang Em' Smurf claimed that 50 Cent did not contact or bail him out while he was in jail. This led to him and his close friend, Domination, no longer wanting to be affiliated with the group. Domination was never an official member of G-Unit but was a close friend of Bang 'Em Smurf during his G-Unit days. After the two had a brief feud with 50 Cent and G-Unit in 2003, Domination and Bang 'Em Smurf were no longer associated with G-Unit. Bang 'Em Smurf was never actually signed to G-Unit as an artist, but rather as an executive, or "under-boss," as he put it.
2003 saw the release of G-Unit's commercial debut, Beg For Mercy, which sold 377,000 copies in its first week of release. It has now sold over 2.7 million units in the U.S. and 6 million copies worldwide. It has been certified double platinum by the RIAA.
After bringing in Game in early 2004, Spider Loc was also signed around the time of Young Buck's album release. As a result of the problems that 50 Cent encountered with Game's falling out with the label in 2005, he was not sure whether or not to sign any new artists to his "family", which was how he perceived G-Unit as a group and record label. However, later that year, the opportunity to sign Mobb Deep and M.O.P. came up.
In 2006, G-Unit Records signed Young Hot Rod. In the same year, in conjunction with Mobb Deep's Infamous Records, they signed both Nyce and 40 Glocc. In 2007, Mazaradi Fox was also added to the label. It was also highly anticipated that Detroit rapper Trick Trick, would sign to the label, though this deal never came to be.
In 2008, amidst rumors of a "beef" within G-Unit between 50 Cent and Young Buck, 50 Cent officially terminated Young Buck from the group, though assuring that he was still signed with the label. Numerous slander songs then arose on the internet from both camps, with Young Buck being included on a track with former rival Game. 50 Cent then leaked a taped phone conversation between himself and Young Buck, which showed one of the true reasons for the falling out; 50 Cent was owed money by the Southern rapper. Young Buck later stated the conversation took place over a year before the leak. The two camps have since released a multitude of songs against each other, while the feud seems to be settling down as of late 2008, with Young Buck stating he's been working on his latest album, which will still be released under the G-Unit label.
In late 2009, 50 Cent's fourth album, Before I Self Destruct, was released; which featured a track entitled "So Disrespectful", which insulted his various rivals including Jay-Z and G-Unit Records artists Game and Young Buck. Also in 2009, 50 Cent would collaborate with former Roc-A-Fella Records artist Beanie Sigel, which would also lead to speculation that Beanie Sigel was signing to G-Unit Records. While promoting Before I Self Destruct, 50 Cent also did a radio interview in which he spoke about the G-Unit Records roster. Within the interview it was confirmed that Game, Young Buck, Spider Loc, Young Hot Rod where signed to the label, while both M.O.P and Mobb Deep were no longer signed to the label. In the meantime, the label would go on to sign R&B singer Governor and Beanie Sigel on the 5th of November respectively. 50 also confirmed this.
In early January 2010, 50 Cent claimed that he was looking to sign new comedians, and authors to the label, expanding outside of the realm of recording artists. Atlanta borne comedian, Young Jack Thriller, would be the first comedian signed to the label, releasing a weekly "So Disrespectful," YouTube podcast. He would also be a regular guest on Shade45's G-Unit Radio, and co-host of the program. Also in early 2010, in reference to his recent affiliation with 50 Cent and possibly G-Unit Records, Beanie Sigel stated that he would not be signing with the label, as he and 50 Cent mutually "used" each other, though no harm to their business relationship was made. Also in early 2010, label signee Young Buck responded to various songs released on 50 Cent's Before I Self Destruct. He released five records aimed at 50 Cent, Tony Yayo, Lloyd Banks, G-Unit, and 40 Glocc.
Though he was previously unsure about signing new talent to the label, in January 2010, 50 Cent expressed interest in signing European R&B singer Jamelia to G-Unit Records, citing that it could not only help her build a reputation in the U.S., but also sign a new female artist to the label, which hasn't had a female artist since Olivia.
In an interview with MTV, 50 Cent announced that he is looking for new artists, "You'll see new faces, because I'm looking for new artists now. I'll sign new artists and take them with me and kinda groom them. Some of the stuff you can't teach a person; they gotta have it". While he was on tour, recently made affiliate Beanie Sigel confirmed after a long awaited wait, that he would be finished signing to G-Unit when 50 got back from tour.
In August 2010, amidst the controversy surrounding Montana Fishburne's entrance into the adult film industry, co-porn star, Brian Pumper, released several rap songs shouting out 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo. Pumper repeatedly stated his wish to be signed to G-Unit. However, the members of G-Unit have repeatedly stated they are not interested in signing Pumper. Also in August, Tony Yayo discussed how he and The Pack member, "Lil B," had hooked up and worked together in the studio, along with Yayo's newly proclaimed protoge, "Danny Brown." He also stated that there was a large possibility that Lil B might be signing to G-Unit Records, and spoke as if Danny Brown was already signed. Despite this, Brown confirmed that he is not signed to G-Unit yet, but he is talks of possibly signing to the label. Also in September 2010, there was quite a bit of speculation that R&B singer Mýa, was in the process of, or already signed to the label. Lloyd Banks later in September would confirm that Mobb Deep member Havoc was in talks to negotiate a new contract for the group in terms of signing to the label.
In early March 2011, rapper Shawty Lo reported in an interview that he was in talks with the label about signing. On June 8, 2011 it was confirmed by both Shawty Lo and AllHipHop.com that he had signed a deal with the label. He had this to say about signing with the label, " “This is like something before the album, my new situation with G-Unit was just solidified and I got off the phone with 50 yesterday, I just signed a really large deal,”. It was later confirmed by Shawty Lo that he had not signed to the label as an individual artist, but so that his label D4L would be under and part of the G-Unit Records roster.
It was rumored that Lea Sunshine, the singer who was featured in Lil' Flip's hit single "Sunshine", was signing to label. After touring with G-Unit and being featured on G-Note Records singer Hot Rod debut single, she confirmed on her Twitter account that she had signed with G-Note.
After a cameo appearance in Tony Yayo's music video, "Haters", it was reported by MTV that former Young Money affiliate, Kidd Kidd, had signed with the label. As well as this young and upcoming rapper Genasis, reported via his Twitter that he had just inked a deal with 50 Cent and the G-Unit Records label after 50 Cent seen a video of Genasis performing.
In December 2011, G-Unit signed Jersey Shore (TV series) star DJ Pauly D to produce three of labels pop-related albums.   On December 9, 2011, the label also released a 50 Cent mixtape, The Big 10. Guest appearances include Kidd Kidd, and G-Unit member Tony Yayo,. It also introduced G-Units newest signee, Paris.
In April 2012, after being ousted from the crew back in 2008, Young Buck has entered talks to work with the label. Days after indicating that he would be open to re-teaming with his old crew at G-Unit Records, Young Buck now confirms that he has begun negotiations with the label about making his return. Buck provided the update in a recent interview stating "I'ma be honest with you," he said, "Finally we're at a point where we're having some kind of negotiations with what they're going to be able to do for us at G-Unit." The Nashville, Tennessee native said he was ready to make his return to music, whether as a part of G-Unit or not. "Y’all are gonna be hearing from me," he said. "I don't want to put a timing on it, but the wait is absolutely over, and we're just trying to figure out what's the best situation for us, where I'm gonna go." Buck stated in an interview after a concert in California April 4, 2012. Young Buck's last album was the 2010 independent release The Rehab. It’s been a rough go for Buck since he was expelled from 50’s crew in 2008, he has run into financial troubles and he recently escaped an attempted drive-by shooting in his hometown. Although it doesn’t look like the rapper has straightened out his relationship with 50 Cent, but he says the label has finally agreed to negotiate. The negotiations may not lead to a new deal between Young Buck and G-Unit, but the rapper remains optimistic and explained that it’s only a matter of time before he ends up finding a place to take his talent.
On August 13, 2010, in an interview with MTV News, Lloyd Banks announced that G-Unit had signed a distribution deal with EMI in North America. The distribution deal is strictly with artists Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo, as stated by 50 Cent in an interview, that G-Unit as a label is not completely distributed by EMI, as he and G-Unit are still obligated under the Interscope G-Unit Distribution. In 2012, 50 explained the reason the label was released from Interscope was because, "The deal I gave them was so well-put-together for them that they were to receive $750,000 in advance on the next albums - each one of the artists. They gotta remove that in this climate of record sales". In 2012, EMI was purchased by, and absorbed into, Universal Music Group; rendering it the sole distributor of G-Unit.
In 2010, G-United launched a subsidiary label called G-Note Records, which focuses on R&B and Pop artists and music. Artists signed to this label are Governor, who was signed to G-Unit Records in 2009 and Hot Rod who originally was signed to G-Unit Records in 2006. In early 2011, Lea Sunshine was signed to the label. In the beginning of December 2011, DJ Pauly D was signed to G-Note Records.