50 Cent, Erick Sermon, EPMD, Columbia Records

50 Cent Almost Signed By Erick Sermon Before Inking Deal With Dr. Dre And Eminem

One prominent rapper’s career trajectory could have been different, according to EPMD’s Erick Sermon.

On the Oct. 28 episode of the My Expert Opinion podcast, Sermon, producer extraordinaire and one half of the legendary hip-hop group EPMD (Erick and Parrish Making Dollars) revealed that Curtis Jackson, better known as 50 Cent, was an unofficial member of Def Squad. The producer was primed to sign the controversial rapper after producing one of his earlier songs, “Da Heatwave.”

However, 50 Cent, who was once signed to Columbia Records, was shot several times, and it curtailed any opportunity at the time to go ahead with the plan to get his signature on the dotted line.

Sermon explained that it was through another producer, Cory Rooney, that he connected with 50. Rooney produced and wrote songs for Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Lopez, and The Fat Boys’ Prince Markie Dee. He was also a senior vice president at SONY Music. Living near Rooney led to Sermon’s suggestion to work with the young 50 Cent.

“Well, Cory Rooney lived next door to me. And Cory was with Sony and Trackmasters. So he brung 50 to the crib. 50 used to come to the house all the time, and we’d do records. So, it was Def Squad.”

He mentioned that he produced the track “Da Heatwave,” which was done after 50’s first single released on Columbia Records, “How to Rob.” 50’s first record caught a lot of people’s ears because he described in the song how he would rob many artists, including Jay-Z and Missy Elliott.

“That was the first single that I did after ‘How to Rob.’ That was his first single before he got shot up.”

Sermon recalled that 50 shouted him and Def Squad out on the song he produced. He went on to say that Rooney brought 50 to him because he felt it was the best place for him.

“Cory just felt that it was best for him to be over here.”

50 Cent had an album that was supposed to be released in 2000, but Columbia dropped him after he was shot nine times. Three years later, after Eminem brought him to Dr. Dre, 50 released Get Rich or Die Tryin’ after debuting the lead single, “In Da Club.”