Tony Yayo Talks Sex, Patron And The Future Of G-Unit
G-Unit soldiers Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo have signed on to headline Saturday's 4th Annual Hip-Hop For HIV Awareness concert at Reliant Center. Tickets are free, but only with an HIV test at one of the City of Houston Department of Health & Human Services' designated testing locations. A list is available online at www.hiphopforhiv.com.
On the eve of the concert, Rocks Off caught up with Yayo to discuss hip-hop's role in promoting promiscuity, talking the birds and the bees with curious kids and G-Unit's shaky label situation.
Rocks Off: When we heard about your involvement in the Hip-Hop For HIV Awareness concert, our initial reaction was, "What the hell is G-Unit doing at an HIV awareness concert?" It's quite an odd couple.
Tony Yayo: You know, we do a lot of charity work. AIDS is an epidemic in our hood. You got a lot of young people that are influenced by hip-hop, period. I'll never forget where I'm from, you know. I'm from South Side Jamaica, Queens, and AIDS touched some people that we know.
My oldest son is 12. Right now, he's looking at girls. I see him going through the girls thing and I had to sit down and talk to him the other day. A lot of kids in the hood are having babies early. That's so real in our neighborhood. And I feel like us being a part of it is important.
It's important that people see that we're a part of it, because there's kids out there that look up to us and listen to us over grown-ups sometimes.
RO: Was that conversation more awkward for you or for your son?
TY: I think it was harder for him. I'll be honest with you. I lost my virginity at 16. Things were slower back then. Now, it's like kids are watching TV, kids are on the Internet. You know, they're skyping one another, getting on the webcam and talking to each other at night. And they wonder.
So I just keep it real, like, "Look, if you are going to do something, make sure you do talk to me about it, and you better use condoms."
RO: What do you say to the claims that hip-hop promotes promiscuity?
TY: I don't agree with that. You got a lot of rappers that rap about different things. Like, Common Sense is not going to rap about the same thing that Tony Yayo is going to rap about. You got rappers that go their way and I go my lane. I'm going from an aspect that I know.
The best thing about rap is getting a brother from the hood off the streets and getting him in a position that he can take care of his family and entourage, instead of him trying to rob or murder somebody. I look at hip-hop as the outlet. I don't knock anybody. You got kids making dances. Like when Soulja Boy came up with the Super Man dance, I loved that. I never knocked it, because it was a young brother.
The realest thing Soulja Boy said was, "Ay, this took my grandmother out her house and my mother bought her house and helped my friends along the way." People are going to say whatever they want to say, but it's a way out the hood.
RO: So, you view hip-hop strictly as an outlet?
TY: Yeah, I remember having no outlet growing up. Around my way, everyone I knew was a hustler. So, yeah, I was a follower, everyone was hustling. That's all I know. At the end of the day, we had a plan that turned to G-Unit. And now, me, 50 and Banks have nice million-dollar houses and drive nice cars, and we're maintaining that.
I look at it like there was no plan B. G-Unit was a plan A. So, I look at hip-hop like an outlet for a lot of brothers.