How to Rob

Power of the Dollar

How to Rob‘ is a 1999 song by American hip hop recording artist 50 Cent. The song serves as his debut single and the lead single from his album ‘Power of the Dollar’ (officially unreleased but heavily bootlegged).

The album, which was originally set for a 2000 release, was supposed to be his debut with Columbia Records, but was cancelled after 50 Cent was dropped from the label when Columbia discovered that he had been shot. ‘How to Rob’ was produced by Tone & Poke of Trackmasters and features D-Dot, also known as The Madd Rapper. The song was also included on the soundtrack to the 1999 film ‘In Too Deep,’ staring LL Cool J and Omar Epps.

In the song, 50 Cent comically explains how he would rob many prominent figures in the music industry. After giving ‘R.I.P.’ shout-outs to Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur, he talks about robbing, in order: Lil’ Kim, P Diddy, Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston, Brian McKnight, Keith Sweat, Cardan, Harlem World, Mase, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Foxy Brown, Kurupt, Jay-Z, Trackmasters, Slick Rick, Stevie J, Big Pun, Master P, Silkk The Shocker, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, Timbaland and Missy Elliott, Joe, Jermaine Dupri and Da Brat, DMX, Treach, DJ Clue, TQ, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah and RZA, Sticky Fingaz, Fredro Starr, Canibus, Heavy D, Juvenile, Blackstreet, R. Kelly (though not by name), Boyz II Men and Michael Bivins, Mike Tyson and Robin Givens, Mister Cee, Busta Rhymes and the Flipmode Squad, and Kirk Franklin.

The song originally also mentioned R&B singer Mariah Carey and her ex-husband Tommy Mottola with the lyrics ‘I’ll man handle Mariah like ‘Bitch, get on the ground’ / You ain’t with Tommy no more, who gon’ protect you now?’ When the song was released, the line was replaced because Mariah Carey threatened to leave her label if it wasn’t changed. The new lyrics are: ‘I’ll man handle Case like ‘Duke, get on the ground’ / You ain’t with Mary no more, where you gettin’ chips from now?’ referencing R&B singer Case Woodard and his former girlfriend Mary J. Blige.

The song may have been a tribute to the infamous 1980s gangster Kelvin Martin, whose nickname ’50 Cent’ inspired 50 Cent’s own name. Martin was infamous for robbing celebrities. 50 Cent said that he intended the single to be a joke, and not meant to disrespect anybody. Nevertheless, a number of rappers mentioned on the song responded on record. The comments made towards the Wu-Tang Clan were responded to on the Ghostface Killah album ‘Supreme Clientele’ on a track called ‘Ghost Deini’ and even more directly on a skit called ‘Clyde Smith’ which included one of the Wu-Tang Clan members talking about how they intended to harm the rapper, which is identifiable as Raekwon when the track is sped up.

A supposed diss song, ‘Who the Fuck Is 50 Cent,’ which circulated the web in the beginning of 2001 was rumored to be by the Clan, but was proven to be recorded by Polite of American Cream Team (Raekwon’s then-side project). Jay-Z also reacted to the comments in the track called ‘It’s Hot (Some Like It Hot)’: ‘Go against Jigga yo’ ass is dense / I’m about a dollar, what the fuck is 50 Cents?’ In an interview, however, 50 Cent claims that Jay-Z told him he loved the song, and that Jay asked permission to respond before he did.

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