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 Gangsta rap
Length 4:25
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Angelettie, Barnes, Casey, Jackson and Olivier
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 the debut single by American hip hop recording artist 50 Cent.

The song serves as 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, and on The Madd Rapper's 2000 debut album, Tell 'Em Why U Madd.

Background[edit]

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.

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.

Reception[edit]

Roxanne Blandford from AllMusic called "How to Rob" an "uproariously cunning single".[1] Keith Farley of AllMusic also highlighted the song in his review of the In Too Deep soundtrack.[2]

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[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 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:

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:

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

Missy Elliott however responded in a humorous way, in the liner notes for her 2002 album Under Construction, on which 50 Cent appears:

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

Chart positions[edit]

Charts Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs[3] 62
U.S. Billboard Hot Rap Singles[4] 24

How to Rob '09[edit]

West coast rapper Jay Rock remade the song in 2009 entitled "How to Rob '09".

References[edit]

External links[edit]