A street legend before the recording of his debut even started, rapper Tony Yayo is a lifelong friend of 50 Cent and a member of his G-Unit crew.
Yayo had been with 50 during his career-building years in the world of mixtapes. Along with 50 Cent, Yayo was arrested on New Year's Eve 2002 on weapons-possession charges. During a background check, police discovered Yayo had an outstanding warrant for a previous weapons-possession charge. Early 2003, he was sentenced for bail-jumping and would remain in jail until the beginning of 2004. During this time, 50 Cent and his G-Unit crew were blowing up. Videos featured the group wearing "Free Yayo" shirts, but Yayo himself was unaware of all the attention he was getting. The prison inmates Yayo shared a television with preferred watching sports to music videos, but when Eminem and 50 where scheduled to make an appearance during the Grammy Awards, he convinced everyone to change the channel. It was the first time he saw a "Free Yayo" shirt -- this time worn by Eminem. Inspired by the shirt, he started working extra hard on his rhymes while keeping in touch with the G-Unit crew let him know he was going to get his chance once he was a free man. Come January 8, 2004, Yayo was back on the streets, but presenting a forged passport to his parole officer a day later put him back in prison for a few weeks. Out again, Yayo was finally able to start work on his debut. Some mixtape appearances on the G-Unit Radio series announced his comeback at the street level while the "So Seductive" single let the rest of the world know in the summer of 2005. In August and while the single was dominating urban radio, MTV, and BET, Yayo dropped his debut, Thoughts of a Predicate Felon. ~ David Jeffries, Rovi