How to Rob
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|"How to Rob"|
|Single by 50 Cent|
|from the album Power of the Dollar and In Too Deep (soundtrack)|
|Released||10 August 1999|
|50 Cent singles chronology|
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 pop 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.
Emphasizing the humorous nature of the song, the song's own producers, the Trackmasters, are listed among the intended victims. Sticky Fingaz, who is also mentioned, had collaborated with 50 Cent the year before, as part of the group Onyx, on the song "React" from their 1998 album Shut 'Em Down. Sticky Fingaz also appeared in In Too Deep, which featured "How to Rob" in its soundtrack, as did another celebrity mentioned, Jermaine Dupri.
Of the other celebrities mentioned in "How to Rob", 50 Cent has worked with Jay-Z, Diddy, Mase, Busta Rhymes, DMX, Missy Elliott, DJ Clue, Juvenile, Joe, Lil' Kim, R. Kelly and Timbaland since the song's release.
The single created a lot of buzz for 50 Cent's Power of the Dollar album, though it was eventually shelved by Columbia Records.
Response from artists
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 the beginning of 2001 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 in the song "My Turn" from his 2000 album Yeeeah Baby, which was released posthumously. In the song, 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
|“||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!||”|
|“||Low income, I stay so hungry that if 50 Cent came to rob me, he'd be part of my charity.||”|
|U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs||62|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Rap Singles||24|
How to Rob '09
West coast rapper Jay Rock remade the song in 2009 entitled "How to Rob '09".
- "Power of the Dollar album review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-10-22.
- "50 Cent's "How to Rob" Billboard history". Billboard. Retrieved 2011-10-22.
- "50 Cent's Billboard singles history". Allmusic / Billboard. Retrieved 2012-10-22.