Back in December of 2005, it was just another day at the office for 20-year-old Rod Toole, when his cell phone suddenly rang. On the other end was Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson urging the Arizona-based MC to quit his day job as a mortgage broker to take a shot at hip-hop stardom in New York City.
“I’m at work like, ‘Are you serious? Shut the fuck up!’” says Rod, who is still in awe seven months later. Unlike most new bucks, Hot Rod’s golden opportunity didn’t stem from mixtape notoriety or the underground battle circuit. Instead, he took a more conventional route and sent a copy of his homemade CD to the G-Unit office. “All the way up to that point everybody that I talked to said the whole demo thing was a wrap,” says Rod, about his disc that ended up in the hands of his future boss. “I was the type of nigga like, ‘Whatever, I’ll send a demo because I know my shit was hot.’”
It was Rod’s singsongy flow and party-and-bullshit rap style that reminded 50 of his own favorite rapper. “Rod’s music sounds like somethin’ I would do,” says Fif. “If he had the same aggressive content that I have in his music, then I would say he’s tryin’ to copy my style. But his music is a reflection of his actual lifestyle.”
With his Mary J. Blige–assisted lead single, “Be Easy,” kicking off his LP, Hot Rod is confident that his product will fly off the shelf. “I’ll probably sell 2 or 3 million,” he says. “That’s all I’m worried about. I like the finances.” It’s a good thing he answered his phone..
RAPINDUSTRY.COM: What up pimp?
Hot Rod: I’m good what’s goin on?
RAPINDUSTRY.COM: So let’s jump right into it…you have an interesting story. Is it true u mailed in a demo to G-Unit?
Hot Rod: Yea I sent em a demo. The last time that worked was with Eminem (laughs)…but basically I was always online networking with people, cause its about who u know that’s the name of the game. You can be hot, but if u don’t know anybody ya ass is gonna be at home…..but anyway, there was this website, and on that site there was an engineer for G-Unit. He posted a message stating that he was accepting demos for G-Unit.
RAPINDUSTRY.COM: Ok and u sent it to him. When did 50 come into the picture?
Hot Rod: He hit me back, tells me its hot and says ima give it to Sha Money. So Sha hears it and gave cd to 50, who at the time was listening to beats. So on a flight from LA to NYC, he’s listening to my demo…and says I gotta contact this guy.
RAPINDUSTRY.COM: Where were you when u got the call from 50 cent?
Hot Rod: At work! (Laughs) He called me and basically told me me to quit…..(Laughs)
RAPINDUSTRY.COM: That’s an amazing story! So you’re the youngest member on G-UNIT, do they treat you like family?
Hot Rod: Yeah, well Fif acts like my older brother for real, I’m actually staying at his home right now, Everybodys supportive, from the studio, to on tour, its all love…
RAPINDUSTRY.COM: How did working with Mary J. Blige come about?
Hot Rod: Olivia wrote that part, and we were throwing names round, and Fif said what about Mary J Blige?
I was like hellz yeah, that’s perfect, so we sent it to her and she got on it.
RAPINDUSTRY.COM: What’s ya style of music like?
Hot Rod: 50 said one of the reasons he signed me was because I reminded him of himself, not the content, and subject matter, but as far as melodies and hooks, I’m inspired by the greats, BIG, Jay, and 50…
RAPINDUSTRY.COM: Me and 50 go back a ways as well, I met him on a movie audition for Black Gangster, that Donald Goines movie. Then I was in the studio when he recorded “Fuck You” produced by Clark Kent…he told me to holla at him about my beats…
Hot Rod:For real? Wow. Ima link yall back up….that’s all we do is listen to beats from big name producers to up and comers alike, so, ill definitely holla at him about you….G-Unit is the only camp that does that. We aint into names if it’s hot, it’s hot…
RAPINDUSTRY.COM: Thanx fam, I appreciate ya gangsta.
Hot Rod: No doubt, Flex, send me them beats…
RAPINDUSTRY.COM: Oh yes sir! Thanx for your time and much success on ya career…