J. Cole Went From 50 Cent’s Basement To Rap Royalty Without A Chain, Tony Yayo Says

J. Cole

J. Cole deserves to be an honorary member or G-Unit.

J. Cole recently popped out during 50 Cent’s concert at Brooklyn’s Barclay’s Center, where he compared him to Michael Jackson—but according to Tony Yayo, their relationship runs deeper than just their bond as rap peers.

During an appearance on The Danza Project Podcast, Yayo followed up his bold claim that he’s the innovator behind popularizing BBL culture by revealing J. Cole nearly signed to G-Unit. While remarking on Fif’s Barclay’s Center show, Yayo broke down how he got a front row seat to watch J. Cole maintain his indenting throughout each stage of his career because the Dreamville lyricist was locked in with 50 Cent early on. In the process, Yayo made the case that part of the reason J. Cole is so cool is because he has never had to wear jewelry.

“Y’all don’t think rappers like J. Cole is cool?” Yayo questioned. “Like nobody wants to be them? They don’t gotta wear no jewelry. Like, J. Cole came out to the Barclay’s—It’s funny because he gave me mad props and I remember him being at 50 Cent house in the basement.“

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Yayo continued, “We was going to sign J. Cole and he was like, ‘Yo, you seen it you seen it,’—J. Cole I need a verse. And to me, J. Cole is one of the dopest MCs, he’s loved by everybody. He don’t gotta wear jewelry—muthaf###a is in Manhattan riding bikes. You know, stop at the ball court, playing ball at the ball court in Manhattan. I mean, that’s the life man.”

Yayo is definitely not cappin’ when it comes to the J. Cole nearly signing to G-Unit scenario because 50 Cent even spoke about it. Apparently, back in the early 2000s when he was in his prime, 50 Cent was skeptical of signing conscious rappers. Not because he didn’t believe they were dope, but because the only examples he had to follow were the semi-obscure careers of artists such as Mos Def (Yasiin Bey). Can you imagine what J. Cole’s Born Sinner era would’ve been like under the guidance of 50 Cent? Or if he would’ve replaced The Game on the roster!?

Anyway, check out the clip below for more context on J. Cole and G-Unit’s woulda-coulda-shoulda story.