Discography Check: 50 Cent

By @TrueGodImmortal

Though he's not known as the best lyricist or in the greatest of all time category, 50 Cent has maintained a level of relevance in the game for the last 14 years since really arriving on the scene with G-Unit. 50 has been around almost 20 years now however, since he signed with Columbia and worked with Trackmasters through the late 90's.

*Power of The Dollar

-This was to be his first release on Columbia, and though it never got an official release, 50 definitely did his thing on this album, considering the time period. For a traditional rap album in the late 90's leading into 2000, this album had basically everything you needed. Minus a few cheesy tracks like "Material Girl", "Thug Love"(which were standard for hip hop then anyway), and maybe one or two more, this album was truly a solid debut. My favorite songs here are "The Hit", "Da Repercussions", "I'm A Hustler", "Slow Doe", "Corner Bodega" and "The Good Die Young", but the album overall is heat. It's a shame we never got to see what it did sales wise or if 50 would have impacted the game the same way with this one. I think it's very possible to say he would have made a splash in the game and sell decent, likely gold or possibly platinum with the right single, but I truly doubt if he would have reached the heights he would later see on this project. Solid effort regardless.  

*Guess Who's Back

-I can't lie. This was a collection of songs of 50 in his absolute prime and I love every minute of this album. There aren't many songs I skip here or even dislike, it's just that solid of a project. Every song hits hard, and despite his unfortunate shooting and issues after, you wouldn't tell anything happened to 50 because he's as defiant as we've seen in the past, probably more so here. He takes jabs at Jay-Z on the smooth yet aggressive diss "Be A Gentleman", allows G-Unit in its original form kill shit on "That's What's Up", and of course, the controversial classic "Ghetto Quran" is featured here as well. Other favorites on this project include "Fuck You", and the Nas/Bravehearts assisted "Who U Rep With" and the Nas and Nature featured "Too Hot". There are a few leftover tracks from Power of the Dollar here, as well as some songs from the actual album, but this collection of tracks served notice that 50 was a force to be reckoned with from this day forward.

*Get Rich or Die Tryin'

-His biggest album and the biggest moment of his career. 50 had signed the big deal with Shady/Aftermath/Interscope, and he seemingly had the world at his feet. Backed by Dr. Dre and Eminem, 50 set out to create something special and what he did was create one of the greatest hip hop albums of the 2000s. I personally don't feel like this is best album overall, but I'm sure that's the consensus, due to the moment in time that this album represents. 50 sold nearly 2 million copies over the first two weeks and it seemed like everyone was bumping his album when it dropped. Every car that rode by the block was bumping 50, especially since the G-Unit mixtape run had turned him into what seemed like the voice of the streets for a little while.

As far as the actual music on the album? Nothing but heat on this one, as he weaves through standard topics, but adds a bit of flavor and appeal to them. He was the hardest rapper out at the time, and his ability to capture the essence of the hood and the aggression in his vocals made him something special. My favorite songs were "Heat", "Blood Hound", "What Up Gangsta", "Patiently Waiting", "High All The Time", and the scathing Ja Rule diss "Back Down". This album sold 15 million worldwide and made 50 the biggest name in hip hop for the time being. This is the most noteworthy project in his discography.

*The Massacre

-Personally, this is my favorite 50 album. There's absolutely nothing that I dislike about this album, aside from maybe 2 or 3 songs. It's not like this album is perfect, it's just the feel of this album was exactly what I wanted to hear from 50 at the time. It was the perfect mix of the commercial side of 50 and the street side of 50. His singles on this album honestly wasn't the best, and I'd say "Candy Shop" is actually one of the weaker songs on the entire album, but it was definitely a hit. I enjoyed "Just A Lil Bit" and "Disco Inferno", but it's the middle of the album where 50 really hits his stride, as he wins with back to back to back classic tracks with "Ski Mask Way", "Baltimore Love Thing", and "Ryder Music" in succession. This is the apex of the album and three of my favorite songs on the project. I'll admit that I know some people do not like this album, as they feel it was way too commercial and while I understand that viewpoint, I think it's truly a great album, and that up until this point in his career, 50 hadn't missed once. All of his projects, even his G-Unit mixtapes were solid and hitting on all cylinders.

*Get Rich or Die Tryin' Soundtrack 

-Keeping the vibe up and consistency strong, 50 and company combined for what's essentially the most slept on project in the whole G-Unit catalog, the soundtrack to 50's biopic. The story of 50 is very interesting and while the film isn't necessarily the best thing to watch, the soundtrack exceeds extremely. You had the greatness of 50 in what felt his second prime, along with the new G-Unit recruits Mobb Deep and M.O.P., along with the usual suspects in the Unit. Songs like "I Don't Know Officer", "Talk About Me", "When It Rains It Pours", "I'll Whip Ya Head Boy", "You Already Know", "Hustler's Ambition", and "What If" makes this soundtrack a near classic. There's only maybe 2 or 3 tracks to skip here and overall this is one of his best projects (I count this as a 50 album/project because it's the soundtrack to his film) period. If you haven't heard this one, check it out ASAP.


-At some point, greatness falls. This is where 50 saw his greatness take a huge hit. I'm not quite certain what motivated this album, but I do know 50 made much better music on the G-Unit mixtape that followed right after this album. The music isn't terrible here on some levels, but we've heard this all before. While 50 makes some solid music throughout this project like "Man Down", "Fully Loaded Clip", "Curtis 187", "Follow My Lead", and the big single "I Get Money", but this album just feels too safe for 50. There's nothing special and the songs are all in the same fashion of his previous work. I think after the hint of depth he had shown on The Massacre and the GRODT soundtrack, along with some of his mixtape tracks (Puppy Love, Family Matters, etc), this album was lackluster overall. There was no progression from 50, just more commercialized songs to go in an entirely different lane than what the fans wanted him to. This album would be infamous for its big battle with Kanye West and his Graduation album, but as a musical work, it is unfortunately forgettable and the worst project in his catalog.

*War Angel LP

-This is technically a mixtape, but unlike his previous tapes and the one that followed this (Forever King), this featured 50 on all original tracks giving us his brand of murder music. With murderous production, soulful hardcore knock backed by straight to the point lyrics and catchy hooks, this felt like a return to form for 50 after his mishap with Curtis. Songs like "I Line Niggas", "Talking In Codes", "Get The Message", and "Redrum" all feature 50 in his bag once again, while songs like "I'll Do Anything" and "I Gotta Win" show 50 in a smoother vibe than usual. This was exactly what 50 needed going forward and War Angel was the perfect "welcome back" statement.

*Before I Self Destruct 

-This is his most slept on album hands down, and when you break it down by actual lyrics and quality, it could actually be his best album. Aside from the terrible movie of the same name that accompanied this album, this is a very very solid project that went slightly unnoticed due to the backlash 50 had been facing. Regardless, what we have is 50's most cohesive album from start to finish with only one or two actual missteps, those being "Get It Hot" and "Gangsta's Delight", which should have just been substituted for the super dope bonus tracks "Man's World" and "Flight 187"(which had a video and should have just been a single on the actual album). If you switch those tracks around, this is definitely the best 50 album overall.

Despite those two missteps, this album starts off amazing with "The Invitation" followed by "Then Days Went By", and then the RZA sounding yet Dr. Dre produced "Death To My Enemies". 50 gets in his comfort zone for songs like "So Disrespectful" and "Stretch", but the highlights of this album are "Crime Wave" and one of 50's best songs ever, "Strong Enough". Even the songs that 50 makes towards women here work, as the catchy yet hilarious "Baby By Me" managed to garner radio play, and one of the best songs on the album "Do You Think About Me" featured 50 in reflective mood, trying to figure out what's next for him and the ladies of his past, present, and possibly future. The R. Kelly assisted "Could've Been You" closes out the album and is an anthem for certain. This album is truly a great listen and heavily slept on. If you're not familiar, check it out. It's right up there with GRODT and The Massacre in terms of quality and might possibly be better.

*The Big 10

-I wasn't a huge fan of this when I dropped, though I always tend to check for new 50 music regardless. He had just signed a new chick to G-Unit named Paris and was going hard with his newest protégé Kidd Kidd. My favorite tracks off here are "Wait Until Tonight", "Stop Cryin", "Body On It", and "Niggas Be Schemin". While this isn't his best work or close to it, 50 provides a few bangers, it's just that this project is far too middle of the road.

*The Lost Tape

-I'd never figured that 50 and DJ Drama would make a Gangsta Grillz, likely because of the fact that Gangsta Grillz seemingly died out when the mixtape raid occurred in 2007. However, about 5 years too late arrives this mixtape/free album where 50 brings a ton of original tracks to the table to a mixed result. I think 50 was trying to balance within his fanbase and he misses a few times badly on this one. Tracks like "Planet 50" and "Swag Level" are unnecessary, as is the "Riot Remix" of 2 Chainz popular song, but I can't deny the dope feel of "When I Pop The Trunk", "All His Love", and "Lay Down (Smoked)". Similar to the Big 10 project, this one could be considered a miss for 50, though it isn't bad, it's just yet another middle of the road project.

*5 (Murder In Numbers)

-This was supposed to be 50's next album, but for some reason he ended up leaving Interscope Records. He would release this project for free, considering it a mixtape, but it was really an album. Would this be an improvement over the last two projects he released? Yes and no. What was missing honestly from these projects for 50 was guest appearances from artists we wanted to hear and his G-Unit brethren. The group seemingly wasn't the same anymore and 50 seemed to suffer musically because of it. He didn't sound as hungry, despite dope tracks like "My Crown", "Business Mind", "Roll That Shit", and the Schoolboy Q assisted "Can I Speak To You". 50 seemed to struggle somewhat for whatever reason musically and while this was a slight improvement, it still lacked something.

*Animal Ambition 

-I remember when this first dropped, a lot of people didn't think it was solid. I disagree. This wasn't anything special by any means, but as an album, it was close to a return to form for 50 and featured some guest appearances we were interested in. It was his first independent album, and while there are a few songs that miss the mark (the Trey Songz assisted "Smoke", "Don't Worry Bout It", and the title track), for the most part this album works. I enjoy "Hold On", "Pilot", the Jadakiss assisted "Irregular Heartbeat", the anthem "Hustler", "Twisted", "Chase The Paper" with Styles P and Prodigy, not to mention two of the dope bonus tracks "The Funeral" and "Flip On You" with Schoolboy Q. If anything, it felt like 50 was slowly inching back to where he needed to be and this was a good start.

*The Kanan Tape 

-After reuniting G-Unit, 50 seemed reinvigorated, as the music that the Unit began releasing was all fire. They all seemed to be hitting on all cylinders again, and 50 decided to utilize his fame via his TV show power and turn it into music, with this short but sweet mixtape "The Kanan Tape". At only 7 songs, The Kanan Tape is a solid project, with virtually no skips on it, but some songs do standout more than others. Though I'm not a fan of Post Malone, I enjoyed "Tryna Fuck Me Over", and I think "Body Bags" is that official Southside shit we love from 50. Even when 50 hits with a different sound like on the smooth "Too Rich For the Bitch", he wins. The best song here is the one that's currently enjoying some radio play and getting buzz, which is the Sonny Digital produced and assisted "I'm The Man", one of the stronger singles from 50 in a while. If The Kanan Tape is any indication, 50 is back and hopefully here to stay.

So where does that leave 50 as far as his discography is concerned? Well, for the majority of his projects, he's displayed his ability and there are only a few missteps in his catalog, with a few really solid projects and one classic, his biggest album GRODT. While his discography isn't the greatest when talking solo albums and official solo mixtapes, he still stands with a solid catalog that if combined with his official mixtapes and G-Unit tapes, it would be damn near undefeated.



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