Marvin Bernard (born March 31, 1978) is an American rapper, hype man, and member of the hip hop group G-Unit better known by his stage name Tony Yayo. Bernard was born and raised in South Jamaica, Queens, New York, where he met longtime friends 50 Cent and Lloyd Banks. He is currently signed to 50 Cent's record label G-Unit Records, and is also signed with EMI to release his second untitled album. He is CEO to the label G-Unit Philly. His stage name is derived from the 1983 film Scarface, referencing the main character Tony Montana, and Yayo, the slang word for cocaine.
G-Unit boss 50 Cent was granted his own record label, "G-Unit Records" by Interscope after releasing his debut album Get Rich or Die Tryin'. Soon after the group had established their own record label, G-Unit Records, G-Unit released their first official group album Beg for Mercy in November 2003, which went on to be certified 2x Platinum in the United States of America. The album was released whilst Tony Yayo was in prison serving time, but Yayo still featured on the album. The second G-Unit album T.O.S: Terminate on Sight was released in July, 2008 and went on to sell 102,000 copies in the first week.
Though his appearances on mixtapes announced his return on the street level, it was not until the release of "So Seductive" that his return received wide recognition. In August 2005, Tony Yayo released his debut, Thoughts of a Predicate Felon.
Tony Yayo has confirmed that work is in progress for his second studio album. No official name for the album has been decided yet. The first single off the album is "Pass the Patron", and it features 50 Cent. The album will be released with G-Unit Records / EMI who will both promote and distribute the album. On March 2, 2011 Yayo released the second single of off his upcoming album called, "Haters". The song features Shawty Lo, 50 Cent, & Roscoe Dash. The single was released onto Thisis50.com after being premiered on Hot 97 by Funkmaster Flex. The single rapidly started to gain success on the urban radio charts and soon debuted on the Billboard Hip-Hop/R&B chart. A new track leaked recently titled "Just Like 50" featuring newly signed G-Unit artists Mike Knox and Paris this song could potentially be Yayo's next single off his untitled second album.
In 2003 Tony Yayo was signed to Interscope Records, where he released his debut album Thoughts of a Predicate Felon. In 2009, he was later dropped from Interscope Records. After being dropped by Interscope Records it was announced EMI Label Services has signed a deal with 50 Cent’s label, G-Unit Records, in which EMI will distribute and promote releases on the G-Unit roster in North America including Tony Yayo's untitled second album. Lloyd Banks announced this on Friday, August 13, 2010 on MTV News.
Along with 50 Cent, Yayo was arrested on December 31, 2002 for weapons possession. He had a Glock 20 handgun and a Colt AR 15 in the trunk of his car. When police discovered that Yayo had an outstanding warrant for a previous charge, Yayo was sentenced for bail jumping and spent all of 2003 in prison. Yayo served time in the Lakeview Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility and was paroled on January 8, 2004. The next day, he was arrested for possessing a forged passport and served time in federal prison until February 24, 2004. When Yayo was incarcerated, G-Unit and Eminem began a campaign called "Free Yayo". Yayo has said he was unaware of all the attention the campaign was getting until he saw Eminem wearing a "Free Yayo" T Shirt on stage at the 2003 Grammy Awards. The first song Tony Yayo appeared on after getting out of prison is "Runnin'" on The Documentary in January 2005.
On March 24, 2007, Tony Yayo was arrested for allegedly assaulting the 14-year-old son of Jimmy "Henchmen" Rosemond. Tony Yayo and 50 Cent were accused of approaching the child, with members of their entourage, and pushing him against a nearby wall. This was when Tony Yayo reportedly slapped the boy several times and said "Fuck Czar Entertainment". Tony Yayo has pleaded "not guilty" and 50 Cent has since proven his innocence with video footage showing him at his Connecticut mansion at the time of the alleged incident.
Tony Yayo made his first court appearance on the morning of April 25, 2007 in New York. The case was adjourned to July 24. Tony Yayo's lawyer has expressed his belief that Yayo is innocent and commented on the situation in an interview with MTV:
After a thorough investigation, I steadfastly and adamantly state to you that Tony Yayo did not slap anyone. I am hopeful that when [authorities] complete their investigation, they will come to the same conclusion. Yayo, as a father, understands the allegations and would never do anything to harm a child.
On April 18, 2007, the house of Tony Yayo's mother was "sprayed with bullets". The attack is believed to be in connection with Tony Yayo's house arrest. Yayo references the attack on the G-Unit song "Straight Out of Southside", off T.O.S., the group's second album.
On July 24, 2007, Tony Yayo attended a court hearing regarding his alleged assault. The prosecution offered him a nine-month prison sentence if he pleaded guilty which he rejected.
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