How to Rob

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"How to Rob"
Single by 50 Cent featuring The Madd Rapper
from the album Power of the Dollar and In Too Deep
Released 10 August 1999 in New York City (unofficially)
Format 12"
Recorded 1999
Genre Hip hop, gangsta rap
Length 4:25
Label Columbia
Producer(s) Trackmasters
50 Cent singles chronology
"React"
(1998)
"How to Rob"
(1999)
"Rowdy Rowdy"
(1999)
Audio sample
file info · help

"How to Rob" is a song by American hip hop recording artist 50 Cent. The song serves as his debut single and the lead single from his album Power of the Dollar. The song, produced by Tone & Poke of Trackmasters, features D-Dot, also known as The Madd Rapper. The song was also included on the soundtrack to the film In Too Deep.

Background[edit]

Roxanne Blandford from Allmusic called it an "uproariously cunning single".[1] The song features statements in quick succession about robbing and mugging numerous prominent figures in the R&B and Hip Hop music scene. After giving "R.I.P." shout-outs to Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur, 50 Cent talks about robbing, in order:

The song originally also had lyrics against R&B singer Mariah Carey and her ex-husband Tommy Mottola with the lyrics "I'll man handle Mariah like 'Bitch, get on the ground' / You ain't with Tommy no more, who gon' protect you now?". When the song was released, this line was replaced (because Mariah Carey threatened to leave the label if her name remained on the song) with the lyrics "I'll man handle Case like 'Duke, get on the ground' / You ain't with Mary no more, where you gettin' chips from now?", referencing R&B singer Case Woodard and his former girlfriend Mary J. Blige.

The song may have been a tribute to the infamous 1980s gangster Kelvin Martin, whose nickname "50 Cent" inspired 50 Cent's own name. Martin was infamous for robbing celebrities.

Note that 50 Cent was previously featured in the Onyx song "React" in 1998, where Sticky Fingaz was a member of the group, but was one of the celebrities mentioned in this song. Since the song's release, 50 Cent has worked with Jay-Z, Diddy, Mase, Busta Rhymes, DMX, Missy Elliott, DJ Clue, Juvenile, Joe, Lil' Kim, R. Kelly and Timbaland.

Response[edit]

50 Cent said that he intended the single to be a joke, and not meant to disrespect anybody. Nevertheless, a number of rappers mentioned on the song responded on record. The comments made towards the Wu-Tang Clan were responded to on the Ghostface Killah album Supreme Clientele on a track called "Ghost Deini" and even more directly on a skit called "Clyde Smith" which included one of the Wu-Tang Clan members talking about how they intended to harm the rapper, which is identifiable as Raekwon when the track is sped up. A supposed diss song, "Who the Fuck Is 50 Cent", which circulated the web in 1999 was rumored to be by the Clan, but was proven to be recorded by Polite of American Cream Team (Raekwon's then-side project). Jay-Z also reacted to the comments in the track called It's Hot (Some Like It Hot), off the album Vol. 3: Life and Times of S. Carter :

"Go against Jigga yo' ass is dense
I'm about a dollar, what the fuck is 50 Cents?"

In an interview, however, 50 Cent claims that Jay-Z told him he loved the song, and that Jay asked permission to respond before he did.

Sticky Fingaz responded to the diss with the track "Jackin' for Beats."

Big Pun responds to this track on his album Yeeeah Baby, in the song "My Turn," in which he states:

"And to the 50 Cent Rapper, very funny -- get your nut off, 'cuz in real life, we all know I'd blow your motherfucking head off...If I'm gonna write a song, it'll be about how I had to beat your mothafuckin' ass. And that'll be the name of the motherfucker: 'That's Why I Had To Beat Your Motherfucking Ass', featuring Tony Sunshine."

Kurupt also responded to the track with "Callin Out Names":

"Now it's 50 mc's that ain't worth shit Get ya ass kicked 50 times, beat to 10 cent"

It was this single that created a lot of buzz for his Power of the Dollar album that was eventually shelved by Columbia Records. The song was also included on The Madd Rapper's debut album in 2000, as well as the soundtrack for the 1999 film In Too Deep, along with his next single "Rowdy Rowdy". Though Jermaine Dupri and Sticky Fingaz starred in the film, they are two of the rappers 50 Cent said he would rob in the song. Before releasing the single, 50 Cent collaborated with Onyx, which Sticky Fingaz is a member of, which was the very first major label appearance of 50 Cent on their song "React" from their 1998 album Shut 'Em Down. The lyrics from How to Rob that were against him was "Tell Sticky gimme the cash before I empty three / I'll beat your ass like that white boy on MTV".

Wyclef Jean referred to the song on "Low Income" from his 2000 album, The Ecleftic:

"Low Income, I stay so hungry that if 50 Cent came to rob me, he'd be part of my charity."

Missy Elliott however responded in a humorous way, in the liner notes for her 2002 album Under Construction; in which 50 Cent is a part of she says:

"I don't know you that well except when you told me to put them hot dogs down (haha). I got on the treadmill for you baby. Thanks for the remix! Love ya!"

Critical response[edit]

Roxanne Blanford was positive by highlighting it and calling it "uproariously cunning single" and "hardcore, comedic robbing spree."[2] Keith Farley also highlighted the song in "In Too Deep" album.[3]

Chart positions[edit]

Charts Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs[4] 62
U.S. Billboard Hot Rap Singles[5] 24

How to Rob '09[edit]

West coast rapper Jay Rock remade the song in 2009 entitled "How to Rob '09". He talks about robbing, in order:

Jay-Z, Lil' Kim, Sean Combs are the only artists mentioned in both 50 Cent's and Jay Rock's versions.

References[edit]

External links[edit]