20 Years On… 50 Cent-Get Rich Or Die Tryin’

Tom Atkinson

By Tom Atkinson

Tom Atkinson

7 Feb 2023

50 Cent in 2023 is a modern-day entrepreneur known for his business in beverages and the TV show Power. He has established himself beyond the Hip-Hop scene, but the beginning of his journey began in the 90s. Starting off by working with Jam Master Jay, Curtis Jackson received notoriety for his track ‘How To Rob.’ The song focused on him comically talking about how he would rob rappers. As a result, he received responses from the likes of Jay-Z and DMX, while being invited on tour by Nas.

With a track with Destiny’s Child on the way it seemed like 50 Cent was on course for success. But a certain incident that inspired ‘Many Men (Wish Death)‘ derailed all that. Having to start again, he began making his name in the mixtape scene and earned the attention of Shady Records. Having signed to Eminem’s label, he rose to mainstream popularity with the release of ‘Get Rich Or Die Tryin‘.’

Back in 2003, this album was everywhere. The backing of Eminem and Dr. Dre and of course the success of ‘In Da Club‘ made this the case. The album topped the charts in the U.S. and Canada while reaching number 2 in the U.K. It sold a very impressive 12 million copies in 2003 alone while being certified 9x Platinum in the U.S. and 4x Platinum in the U.K. That makes it one of the most popular Hip-Hop albums in history. As a result, 50 Cent went from an underground rapper to a worldwide sensation in a very short time.

But, what made this LP so popular, and has the music stood the test of time? For starters the production goes in hard and unlike some bling-era Hip-Hop, still feels fresh. Dr. Dre and Eminem’s executive production here is crisp and clean, whether their own productions or work with the likes of Sean Blaze and Mr. Porter. Mixing the club-ready beats of ‘In Da Club‘ with the hard-hitting sounds of ‘Blood Hound,’ gives this LP a nice variety. It allowed the project to reach many audiences.

50 Cent dominates the project with his smooth and sleek flows and ferocious bars about street life and his credibility. This is most present on the iconic ‘Many Men (Wish Death‘ and ‘Back Down.’ The latter references his highly publicised beef with Ja Rule, while he rides the beat with style. The former of course has the backstory of 50 being shot nine times back in 2000. The song details this experience and how he has survived this and many others ‘wishing death’ on him, while the man who shot him ‘got shot down.’ It’s a very personal track that goes in hard, showing why despite not being a single, it remains one of this album’s best and most beloved tracks.

As previously mentioned, he had the club scene on lock in 2003 with ‘In Da Club‘ and ‘P.I.M.P.’ With sales to earn 9x Platinum status in the U.S and 3x Platinum status in the U.K, the former was a huge reason behind the success of the album. The bouncy beat made it an anthem, while the infectious hook made it a track anyone can rap along to. ‘P.I.M.P‘ whether the original or the remix was equally fun and addictive. Its use of steel drums for the melody was sensational, while the hook was another one stuck in people’s heads.

The features on the record were all solid from G-Unit members Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo to Jackson’s boss Eminem. But the standout feature had to be the late and great Nate Dogg. Many saw ‘21 Questions‘ as a risk, including Dr. Dre who discouraged a love song on a gangsta-rap LP. However, they were proven wrong by the melodic and catchy hook from Dogg, and Jackson’s cheeky and heartfelt lyrics. Not only was it successful, but it saw Hip-Hop open its doors to more love songs in the mainstream. It wasn’t the first Hip-Hop love song, but it remains one of the most iconic.

Even the bonus tracks here were great, including ‘W***sta‘ from the soundtrack to 8 Mile. With two number-1 singles, and six tracks reaching Platinum status in the U.S., the music is clearly still loved. 50 Cent would go on to have further success with ‘The Massacre,’ ‘Curtis,’ and the soundtrack to the film based on this album. But, when people look back on the career of Curtis Jackson, this album will be the first to come to mind. As of today, it remains one of the finest in Hip-Hop of the noughties. Whether you are in the club, the car, or at the gym, this album should still be in your rotation.

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