August 12, 2023

Spread the love

By @mister_factz

16 years ago, 50 Cent almost signed J Cole to G-Unit Records.

Back in 2007, Tony Yayo supposedly brought a young J Cole to Fiddy’s Connecticut addy, for a meeting. During the meeting, Cole played joints from his first mixtape, The Come Up. Fiddy was impressed with Cole’s material — but not enough to offer him a deal. 

Ultimately, Fiddy passed on young Cole. The decision made perfect sense at the time: G-Unit’s roster was stacked with gangster rappers like Prodigy and Havoc of Mob Deep. Adding a conscious rapper like Cole to the mix would’ve been weird AF.

Regardless, Cole didn’t trip. He accepted Fiddy’s decision, but he didn’t let it stop him from pursuing a record deal. Cole kept hustling and, two years after Fiddy passed on him, the future Dreamville rapper landed a deal with Jay-Z’s imprint, Roc Nation. And the rest, as they say, is history: 

Cole would go on to become a critical and commercial success. As of this writing, he dropped 6 platinum-selling albums and earned 16 Grammy nods. Just last year, he won the XXL Award’s Lyricists of the Year honor.

Does Fiddy regret passing on Cole? 

It doesn’t matter. What matters is Fiddy and Cole respect and admire one another. This mutual respect came to a head last night during Fiddy’s “The Final Lap Tour.” 

On August 9, during a sold-out show at the Barclays Center, Fiddy had the crowd going bananas as he performed classics from his debut album, Get Rich or Die Tryin’. During his set, the “P.I.M.P.” rapper brought out — you’ve guessed it — the one and only J Cole.

Wasting no time, Cole went straight into performing his hit, “No Role Modelz.” Before leaving the stage, Cole took a moment to give Fiddy his flowers. He told the crowd Fiddy’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’ was the greatest album — ever. To emphasize his point, Cole said he put GRODT above Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

After reminding the crowd that 50 was “one of the greatest n-ggas to ever do this [rap] shit,” Cole said “Get Rich or Die Tryin’ [is] the best album of all time…It’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’ at No. 1, and…Thriller at No. 2.”

Putting GRODT over Thriller is wild. Then again, maybe not. Fiddy dropped GRODT on February 6, 2003. The album sold 872,000 copies its first week. The second week, it sold an additional 822,000 copies. By the end of the year, the album moved 12 million units worldwide. If Get Rich or Die Tryin’ isn’t the greatest album of all time, then it’s definitely a classic.