NEW YORK (AP) — G Unit surprised fans when its members reunited earlier this summer at the year's biggest hip-hop concert, and they have another surprise: they digitally released six new songs Beyonce-style early Monday.
The rap group dropped "The Beauty of Independence" extended play at midnight, mirroring Beyonce's successful surprise release of her self-titled album last year. The 50 Cent-led group disbanded over the years and last released "T.O.S: Terminate on Sight" in 2008.
50 Cent said the group, which released its multiplatinum debut "Beg for Mercy" in 2003, is more mature today, and that enhanced the creativity behind the new music.
"The artists are more developed than they were in the very beginning," he said, adding that member Tony Yayo wrote two hooks on the album, a job usually reserved for 50 Cent.
G Unit surprised the audience at the Hot 97 Summer Jam concert in June by reuniting onstage. The group — which also includes Lloyd Bands, Young Buck and new member Kidd Kidd — released the album independently on the Caroline label, where 50 Cent released the album "Animal Ambition" in June after years of being signed to Interscope and Eminem's Shady Records.
"It's clear that the passion for what we do is there because you don't see the same numbers anymore," 50 Cent said of the record sales. "But it's even more important that you mean something. For me, when I fell in love with (music), authenticity was everything."
The five group members were excited and brotherly, full of laughs and sitting tightly during a recent interview. Try to get a question in and you'd fail. They said aging has helped them realize they needed to revive G Unit, whose hits a decade ago include "Stunt 101" and "Wanna Get to Know You."
Yayo, who was in jail when "Beg for Mercy" was released in 2003, said he grew frustrated with the music industry while the group was split.
"So when Banks stop talking to 50, I'm not talking to Buck, nobody's talking to nobody. Now I'm lost. I'm like, 'What am I going to do?'" he said. "And bad enough, your friends you think are your real friends — the 40-man entourage you paid for dinner for, you took to this and that — where did they go? They're gone. They're out the picture."
He said that helped him realize who is most important: "You get all kinds of industry frustration, but I'll never let it happen again because I realized the only person that ever helped me in my life is 50 Cent, is Lloyd Banks, is Young Buck."