A Dying Cat And A Nylon String GuitarWritten by John Stockwell
“Music isn’t just learning notes and playing them, you learn notes to play to music of your soul” – Katie Greenwood.
Why are you learning music anyway? Is it to pick up chicks? Is it to fulfill a void in your mundane life? Is it an indescribable calling?
I always wanted to learn drums. I don’t know why, maybe it’s aggressive nature of things. You sit there and bash crap out of them.
As fate would have it I shared a house with Dave, a guitar player, so I decided to learn guitar as I had my very own teacher living in next room. Or so I thought.
I went out and bought a nylon string classical guitar for $70. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing but that never stopped me before.
So I went back home with my new guitar in its cardboard box. And with anything new, you want to play with it straight away, as soon as you get it home.
I also bought one of those guitar case chord dictionaries. You know ones, they have a thousand chords in them and they are designed to confuse rather than actually help you.
So I waited for Dave to get home from work and as soon as he was in door I was at him. “I bought this new guitar and I was wondering if you could show me how to play it” I said.
He just laughed at me but eventually agreed to show me which chords to learn first. He told me to learn open chords A, D, E, G, and C. So I did. I spent every spare moment learning these chords.
Tony YayoWritten by Solof
What’s your life like? Tony Yayo’s is real. G-Unit’s incarcerated scarface, who’s bounced in and out of federal penitentiaries during 50 Cent’s ascension to top of pops, is real, like milk. And his debut album, undoubtedly most long coming and anticipated release from G-Unit, Thoughts Of A Predicate Felon, bleeds this reality. “My album is all fact no fiction,” says 26 year-old Yayo, “Everything on there is things I’ve done or seen—as a matter of fact, most of album was written in jail and that’s why aggressive records are so hard.” Replete with brooding, violent beats, courtesy of super-producers like Dr. Dre, Eminem and Havoc of Mobb Deep, and vicious punch lines, Thoughts promises to be G-Unit’s most street release. “I been with 50 since day one, so I’ve studied way that he makes records,” he says, “So I know you gotta make club records and records for girls, but I also know that what makes G-Unit G-Unit is we make best street records in industry.”
And no one is better equipped to feed street than Yayo. Since a young pup, he let gun buck, and it was this reckless abandon that attracted a teenaged 50 Cent to him back when they ran Southside of Queens. All it took was a chance encounter on a Jamaica corner for two to see their likeness in one another. “50, he could see in me that I live, and we both rapped too, so it was just a natural friendship,” says Yayo, who idolized rap legends like Big Daddy Kane and Kool G Rap, “So we started working together on street and then when he started taking rap more seriously he took me along too ‘cause he knew I was nice.”
During mid-nineties while 50 made inroads to industry, working with Jam Master Jay and then Trackmasters, Yayo got his rep up on battle circuit bringing it to other Queens rappers like local stars, Lost Boyz.. “I was taking everybody out back then,” he remembers. But just when 50 was about make his leap to stardom he was gunned down with infamous 9 slugs. But two, now joined by young boy Lloyd Banks, turned seeming tragedy to triumph. “As soon as 50 recovered we went to work on mixtapes,” says Yayo who loyally played his position despite seemingly insurmountable opposition against them, “and that’s when he created G-Unit.” The trio went to war with industry that was afraid to touch them and recorded “Bad News”, Yayo’s first official vocal appearance, and then went to work on 50 Cent Is The Future, which secured Fif his fortuitous Shady/Aftermath deal. Yayo stood out on early mixtapes due to his unbridled energy and laugh out loud punchlines, which anchored nimble wordplay of Banks and sing-songy fluidness of 50.
But during summer of 2002, just when all pieces were coming into place, Yayo caught a gun charge in his Queens neighborhood. Yayo threw caution to wind and refused to turn himself in, instead recording countless verses for G-Unit mixtapes, as well as hitting road with 50 on his fall tour. He was able to fully establish himself as a primary member of G-Unit, make a guest appearance on 50’s 11X platinum debut Get Rich Or Die Tryin’, and develop close relationships with Eminem and Dr. Dre. But, as he knew it would, Yayo’s charge caught up with him in December of ’02 when 50’s entourage was detained by NYPD outside of Copa Cabana nightclub.