V Exclusive: Hot Rod Talks G-Unit To G-Note Transition & 50’s Ultimatum

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Mikey Fresh / December 21, 2010

Last week, G-Unit CEO 50 Cent announced the launch of a new subsidiary label called G-Note Records.

With his artist Hot Rod spearheading the new venture as the alternative label’s flagship artist, the guns and bulletproof vests were purposely left out of this marketing plan.

“G-Unit Records is hardcore street influenced hip-hop music, but with G-Note it’s more of a pop, dance and R&B feel. I’m like a fusion of both. You’re still going to hear me rapping but it’s on a different style of production,” Hot Rod tells VIBE.

Having signed to G-Unit in 2006, Hot Rod struggled to find his lane amidst the gangsta bravado associated with the label. After his Mary J. Blige-featured buzz single “Be Easy” failed to meet expectations, the rapper’s future looked uncertain.

“50 sat us all down—me, Spyder Loc… everyone,” continues the rapper born Rodney Toole. “He told us straight up ‘You got to make yourselves hot. I can’t just be doing everything.’ He wanted to see what we could do independently. This was back in ’07.”

He continues: “That’s when I took to my own grind and found promoters and did things on my own. Touring really was a big part of me getting to this point. I didn’t lose faith, I just realized I had to step up to the challenge.”

Now based in Los Angeles, Hot Rod’s new musical direction draws heavy influences from the electro and house sounds that he became accustomed to while touring Europe.

“G-Note has been established, but we just didn’t go public until now. The whole plan was to put out ‘Dance With Me’ as the first single on G-Note. I’ve been touring worldwide since 2007 and hit over 20 countries on my own. All the influences from the road, that’s what really took me into this new lane.”

Hot Rod is currently working on his debut LP, tentatively titled My Life, and confirmed that he has plans on collaborating with producer David GuettaAkon and Pharrell.

My Life is slated for a summer 2011 release. It’s lead single, “Dance With Me,” is available on iTunes now.