The May 2008 issue of XXL featured a cover story with hip-hop’s ultimate crew, G-Unit. Led by 50 Cent, G-Unit served as both a rap clique and a record label that housed the three other core members of The Unit, Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo and Young Buck. From 2002 to 2007 G-Unit ran the rap game with their overly aggressive attitudes, energy, actions and rhymes, selling over 20 million records as a group and as solo artists. They dominated hip-hop with hit albums and aconstant flood of mixtapes while traveling around the globe to perform for fans anywhere.
But their success and familial unity was too good to be true. By 2008, G-Unit was plagued with whispers of dissension and disloyalty within the group and rumors that Buck was on his way out as he was noticeably absent from the G-Unit’s then newest mixtape Return Of The Body Snatchers. He’d also recently squashed beef with some of 50’s enemies such as Jadakiss and former G-Unit member The Game. In addition, Banks stayed uncharacteristically silent during 50’s then-recent skirmish with Cam’ron. To everyone, G-Unit didn’t have each other’s back anymore like they used to and it looked as if they might be on the brink of breakup.
The cover shoot for the May 2008 XXL happened earlier in the year in February. The shoot went down early in the day in Manhattan and the interviews happened at 50’s famed 52-room Farmington, Conn. mansion that night. Both acted as somewhat of an attempt by Fif to get the guys back together, as did their mixtape Elephant In The Sand, which they also recorded that night. Return Of The Body Snatchers h the first time the core four weren’t all featured on a G-Unit release. The goal was to have all of the artists on the tape since Buck had been absent on Return Of The Body Snatchers.