Meet the other side of a predicate felon. While every Hip-Hop fan is familiar with Tony Yayo's criminal background and history within the music industry, AllHipHop.com decided to give you the lighter side of G-Unit's O.G.. While promoting 50 Cent's new video game, Bulletproof and introducing his own game, Free Yayo, Tony Yayo touches on things you won't believe. From violence in the media, to racism, to Big Daddy Kane, to first cars and chick flicks, this is the Yayo that some Rap critics never considered.
Tony Yayo: What's good AllHipHop, what y'all talking about today - Cam getting shot?
AllHipHop.com: [Laughter] That was yesterday, yeah.
Tony Yayo: Yeah, it's f**ked up man. That's why I got a bulletproof instead of a Ferrari.
AllHipHop.com: [Laughter] You ain't getting caught in a Ferrari - huh?
Tony Yayo: Nope, my s**t stops AK's and everything. I'm good. But what's good?
AllHipHop.com: I know you are promoting 50's new video game - Bulletproof - so can you tell us about the game and what the storyline is all about?
Tony Yayo: Well, what makes this different from any game on the market is, it's written by the legendary Terry Winters. He is the person who wrote to the Get Rich Or Die Tryin' movie. So that is what makes it a good game and of course, you know it has a good storyline because he wrote it. And the game has me, 50, Buck, and Banks in it. In the game, I'm an expert on bombs. Banks is an electronics expert who can pick doors and things like that. Buck is like the fastest runner in the game.
AllHipHop.com: What video games did you play growing up?
Tony Yayo: My favorite game was Mike Tyson's Punch Out for the first Nintendo. "Glass Joe" - that was my s**t right there. Cobra was ill. Nintendo had a lot of ill games back in the day. [Then] of course, Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat for the Super Nintendo. I always been a game fanatic though. I just bought Warriors.
AllHipHop.com: Yeah, I heard that's a hot game.
Tony Yayo: Yeah, I am waiting for our game to come out so bad that I had to buy one today. So I just bought it this morning. I also like Live '06 right now. I'm not really into Madden like I used to be, I'm more of a basketball fan. I'm into action games like Punisher, where you have kill moves. That's why our game is so ill, because we have the special kills. I was playing our game for two hours. I just came from Las Vegas because we had 50's movie premier and everybody was there - 50, Jimmy Iovine, Paul Rosenberg, Floyd Mayweather - there was a lot of people. But they had a room with nothing but flat screens and you could play video games. I was playing our game for about two hours - for real.
AllHipHop.com: Many are blaming violent video games, like Grand Theft Auto, for violent acts by younger kids these days. But why do you think people focus on things like video games and Hip-Hop, and say they influence violence, but not movies. I mean, Arnold Schwarzenegger has killed thousands of people in movies, and now he is the governor.
Tony Yayo: Yeah, of course. Look at movies like The Matrix - millions of bullets flying everywhere and you don't hear nobody complaining. People always need something to blame things on. If somebody gets shot, they automatically blame it on G-Unit. We are only giving you the harsh realities of our life and what's going on in the hood and in the streets. I just got out of jail, so right now I'm just chillin'. I'm just trying to get more money and more money. But Hip-Hop always gets blamed. Look at a movie like Scarface. That movie is the reason why a lot of people want to sell drugs. Am I right?
AllHipHop.com: Yeah, that movie has had a huge influence on Hip-Hop.
Tony Yayo: Look at a movie like Godfather III. When that came out in 1990, the Sunrise Movie Theater got shot up. That movie is the reason why they put metal detectors in the Sunrise in Queens. I think it's the media, because they always give us a bad rap, but dudes are just trying to get their money. Now that we are out the 'hood, we are not selling drugs or shooting people, even though the media portrays us as doing so. We are in more trouble now because of the media.
AllHipHop.com: Do you think this boils down to racism?
Tony Yayo: I can't say everybody is a racist, because it's not like that. Some people are racist, don't get me wrong, because I have seen it in my new neighborhood. I live in a White neighborhood now. Some of my neighbors are cool, but some are slimy. Just the other day a White lady told my daughter not to touch her and my daughter is only two years old. It is what it is though. Some people are like that. I'm not racist myself. I'm not in a gang. My gang is G-Unit and that is a universal gang. So I don't' care if you are Latin King, Blood or Crip, it is what it is.
AllHipHop.com: When racism hits your family like that, how do you react? Especially when it?s close to home.
Tony Yayo: Some people are just ignorant and I don't let it bother me. Racism has been around forever - long before mine and your time - and it's always going to be here. Look at [the recent incident in] Toledo.
AllHipHop.com: Nah, what happened.
Tony Yayo: Nazi's walked through the middle of Toledo.
AllHipHop.com: Damn, thats crazy. On aother note, 50 has mentioned that Rakim has had a big influence on him...
Tony Yayo: Of course, Rakim has had a big influence on the entire Rap game. My biggest influence is Big Daddy Kane. He was one of my favorites back in the days.
AllHipHop.com: I was gonnna ask you that, because you are an artist that makes the gritty street songs, but also the party/sex songs. So Kane has had more of an influence on you than say Kool G. Rap or LL Cool J?
Tony Yayo: I would say Kane because he had records that hit the club, but they were still street. "Warm It Up, Kane" was a big club joint back in the day. So I feel like, as an artist, you can make those gritty street records, but you also have to make them records that can kill the clubs, or the records for the ladies - but at the same time, you are still being you.
AllHipHop.com: Do you remember your first memory of Hip-Hop?
Tony Yayo: I think one of my biggest memories of Hip-Hop was "Self Destruction," with KRS, D-Nice, Queen Latifah, Monie Love [Yayo starts rapping] - "Self destruction, you headed for self destruction." When all the rappers got together and made one record, that was my biggest memory.
AllHipHop.com: What about album wise? Which album did you listen to so much that you broke the tape?
Tony Yayo: Run-DMC's [self-titled LP]. That is when I first had my boom box and me and my brother had to share everything. So we had the boom box with the two cassette players and we had no batteries, so we plugged it up to the socket by the porch - and that tape popped.
AllHipHop.com: Do you think people label you as unapproachable, since you are perceived as a gritty dude?
Tony Yayo: Yeah, a lot of people think I am unapproachable until they talk to me and realize I'm a good dude. I am just a loyal dude. I'm a rider man - that's what I am. If you are my man, it could be me and you in the club against 30, and I'm gonna get my ass kicked with you, instead of saying I was in the bathroom, by the bar, or messing with a girl. I'm gonna get my ass kicked with you and that's just how I am. If you are my man and I'm spending the night at your house, and your wife is walking around, then I'm gonna walk around in sweatpants and a shirt, instead of a wife beater and boxers. That's just me - ya heard.
AllHipHop.com: Do you remember what your very first car was?
Tony Yayo: I never had a first car.
AllHipHop.com: You never had one?
Tony Yayo: Nope.
AllHipHop.com: When did you get your first car, when you were with G-Unit?
Tony Yayo: Yeah, I got an Escalade first. Oh no, I actually had a Hummer first. I was locked up at the time and I never got to drive it because they blew the engine in the car.
AllHipHop.com: Why didn't you have a car before the Rap game?
Tony Yayo: Because I was just busy doing my thing. I was struggling. I didn't have the money to buy the car that I wanted. I had my own apartment though. But the car I wanted I couldn't afford, so why get something and struggle for it. You know how some people go beyond they means?
AllHipHop.com: Yeah, then they are broke and working two jobs because they bought the car.
Tony Yayo: Yeah - I'm not stupid like that. If you can't afford to buy two, then don't get it.
AllHipHop.com: Is there any CD in your collection that may surprise fans? Any different types of genres of music you listen to?
Tony Yayo: Let me think - I listen to a lot of old school Soul mixtapes. Stuff with Gregory Abbott, Anita Baker, The Gap Band, the stuff like that.
AllHipHop.com: Hypothetically - say you're with a woman and you have to put on one chick movie - which one do you grab?
Tony Yayo: I would pick that movie Pretty Woman. Remember that movie, where he takes the hooker and spends all that money? That would be the smartest movie to put on. All females love that movie.
AllHipHop.com: If you could have lunch with any historical figure or celebrity who has passed, who would it be and why?
Tony Yayo: I would say Biggie Smalls.
AllHipHop.com: What would you guys talk about?
Tony Yayo: I would ask him, "How did you learn how to rap like that?" [Chuckles] We would talk about a number of things, like what he would have done in the future? Was he going to start his own label?
AllHipHop.com: With 50's new movie coming out, do you have a role in it?
Tony Yayo: Nah, I'm not in the movie because I was out promoting my album, Thoughts Of A Predicate Felon. Nobody is in the movie from the crew.
AllHipHop.com: When you are not in the studio, what are you doing in your free time?
Tony Yayo: I just chill with my homies, play video games, but I really spend a lot of time with my daughter. She is two years old and I had my daughter in jail. She is real special to me and she gets bigger every time I see her.
AllHipHop.com: I know you are on the road and promoting constantly, so how tough is it to balance your career and your family life?
Tony Yayo: Yeah, it's very hard. But my daughter has to eat and she needs a home over her head. As she gets older, she will understand why daddy wasn't around like that. But for right now, this is my life and this is what I have to do. She will understand when she gets older, because the same money that I'm making now is the same money that will put her through college.
AllHipHop.com: Any last words?
Tony Yayo: I appreciate you interviewing me, I appreciate y'all having me. My album, Thoughts Of A Predicate Felon, is out now. Thank you to everybody who bought it. My next single is, "I Know You Don't Love Me," and the video is going to be real big.