The ’90s rap era was a great time for forming supergroups. From the Diggin’ in the Crates Crew to Murder Inc. (Jay-Z, DMX, and Ja Rule) to Method Man & Redman, big-name rappers clicking up was all the rage at the time.
Perhaps the best known supergroup of the ’90s was The Firm, consisting of Nas, Foxy Brown, AZ and Nature, with production overseen by Dr. Dre and Trackmasters. The concept sounded dope on paper; the best New York rapper at the time linking up with the best West Coast producer, what could go wrong?
Unfortunately, lots of things went wrong – starting with the group’s original line-up. Hip hop heads will know that Queensbridge legend, Cormega, was originally a part of the group – he featured on the group’s first ever song “Affirmative Action” off Nas’ It Was Written – but not many people know that 50 Cent was also part of the group’s early days.
In an interview with Complex, Trackmasters’ Poke & Tone revealed that, because of their existing relationship with the Queens rapper, 50 as well as Mary J. Blige were initially considered for a slot in the group.
“Nas always wanted to get his crew together; he’d been calling it The Firm for a minute,” Tone said. “We had been trying different members out. We had 50 Cent in it for a little while. It just didn’t work out, though we made a record.”
“[The song with 50] came out on mixtapes and the whole cycle,” Poke recalled. “It was 50, Nas, and Nature. Mary J. Blige was going to be a part of the Firm too at one time. She came in, we entertained it. She did a record with us and Nas that we put out with. Nore slipped in there, Mobb Deep. We made it a real Queens thing. That’s why we tried to put 50, because 50 was from Queens, as well.”