DAR Classic Hip Hop: 50 Cent's Get Rich Or Die Tryin'

By @TrueGodImmortal

1. Intro
2. What Up Gangsta
3. Patiently Waiting
4. Many Men (Wish Death)
5. In Da Club
6. High All The Time
7. Heat
8. If I Can't
9. Blood Hound
10. Back Down
11. P.I.M.P.
12. Like My Style
13. Poor Lil Rich
14. 21 Questions
15. Don't Push Me
16. Gotta Make It To Heaven
17. Wanksta
18. U Not Like Me
19. Life's On The Line

It's hard to believe that it's been nearly 15 years since the official arrival of legend 50 Cent to the mainstream hip hop world. After a failed deal with Columbia Records and Trackmasters, 50 would experience a number of crazy events that led him to his destiny. After the controversial "How To Rob" ruffled some feathers in the hip hop world, it would then lead to a beef with Ja Rule that spawned the diss "Life's On The Line", a small jab that warned Ja and the rest of the Murder Inc. crew not to reply or fuck with him. While this was going on, 50 began working on his Columbia debut "Power Of The Dollar".  After a few real life personal incidents, 50 began to be blackballed due to the power Ja and Irv Gotti had in the music game, would be shot 9 times, dropped from Columbia Records, and he found himself back at square one. Luckily for 50, being the underdog and back at square one was more of a motivator than he could have predicted and as a result, he would learn to succeed at the highest level. Starting with a few freestyles, and then leading off with the iconic mixtape 50 Cent Is The Future, with Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo, and others in tow (whatever happened to Scarlett), 50 would create the G-Unit brand and rap group, and at that moment, everything changed. 50 was supposed to be in position as an artist, and despite his beefs and his persona, he would begin to rise in stature through the mixtape and the unfiltered and unauthorized remixes of popular songs. 50 could take your song and make it better than you, and everything that would catch the attention of Eminem. With Eminem intrigued by the mixtape and the success of it, 50 would eventually end up signing a million dollar deal with Eminem and Dr. Dre, and the rest was history.

Building up his buzz with two more mixtapes, the superb No Mercy, No Fear, and the polished God's Plan, 50 set out to create an official major label debut that would impact the world in a big way. The world was taking notice of 50 Cent more and more, and his appearances on the 8 Mile Soundtrack opened their eyes even more, setting him up for a huge album rollout. Once we learned the album would drop in February 2003 (and would be called "Get Rich Or Die Tryin"), the process began and it all happened quickly. Soon, it would be the release date, and everyone would rush to the store (or local bootlegger) to pick up the new album from 50 Cent. Over the first 11 days of release, the album would end up selling over 1.6 million copies, positioning 50 Cent as the biggest rapper in the game. The tide had turned. Once blackballed and unable to garner attention and a deal, 50 was now the people's favorite and a multi platinum star who had the keys to the game in his possession. Today, I wanted to take a look back on the album that made 50 the no. 1 artist in the game and started the G-Unit/Shady/Aftermath takeover for the next few years. This album is pivotal to hip hop culture and one of the greatest releases of the 2000s. Let's get into our in-depth look at Get Rich Or Die Tryin'.

When you hear the sounds of this album, you're listening to an interesting collection of tracks that sound like its own era of hip hop in 2003. The soulful and chipmunk sped up sample production was the biggest sound of music at the time, with The Neptunes coming in as a close second, but Dr. Dre and Eminem provided him with sounds that were still catchy to the ears. In addition to the production prowess of Eminem and Dr. Dre, 50 utilized a lot more underground producers for his album, getting a booming track from Reef, a cinematic production from Digga, one of the smoothest tracks from DJ Rad and Sha Money XL, and a southern bounce from Sean Blaze. He would work with Rockwilder, Megahertz, Mr. Porter, Red Spyda, and Midi Mafia as Well, allowing a very solid soundbed to accompany his tough and aggressive lyricism and extremely catchy hooks. A classic album needs solid production, and GRODT definitely had plenty of that.

The Biggest Singles
Back in 2003, a huge selling point for an album was a solid single and a good follow up. While singles are still hugely popular and always will be, they don't hold the same weight as they used to for albums, and now artists can sell their albums without releasing a single. However, when GRODT was released, a huge selling point of the album was the singles that had the whole world rapping along. Let's take a look at the biggest singles from the album.

*In Da Club
-The biggest song of 50's career. Without a doubt, this is the biggest single and the most recognizable song in his entire catalog. Dr. Dre produced this track and he hits 50 with quite possibly the most simple yet infectious rhythm and melody that allows 50 to kick verses that inspire to rap along, coupled with one of the most infectious hooks that rap has ever heard. While I was never a big fan of this song, just the opening line of "go shawty, it's your birthday, we going to party like it's your birthday" made the masses go crazy. Throw in the easy to recite verses and the monster hook, and you have a supreme hit in the making. The song would end up spending 9 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard charts and the song would ecentually become nominated for a Grammy, which it should have won. There's no denying that this is the biggest single and song of 50's career.

-During this period, it was essentially a no brainer for hip hop artists to reference being a pimp in their music. The appreciation for Snoop Dogg and Bishop Don Juan made this pimp fascination the newest wave and naturally, 50 wanted to cash in on it. He would cash in with one of the most blatant and obvious songs for that wave, but everything about the song just managed to flow perfectly. The Mr. Porter production was different than the usual, but the melody backed by 50's sing along style hook was more than enough to catapult the song higher. The song would become a global hit, reaching no. 1 on the Hip Hop charts, and reaching no. 3 on the Billboard charts, giving 50 yet another top 5 hit.

*21 Questions
-What makes a hit? Well, there's two things really that you need. One, a dope production. Two, a dope hook. Usually, if you have those two things, you should experience some form of success with your single. 50 was aware that this was the formula and he would end up getting a melodic production from Midi Mafia before bringing in the hook master Nate Dogg to add the undeniable flavor the song needed. The song, a slick way to ask your woman if she's really down for you, became yet another mega hit for 50 off this album, hitting all markets in a big way, climbing the charts in multiple countries. The song would give 50 another no. 1 hit, as it landed on top of the Billboard charts and continued what felt like a never ending winning streak.

-Originally released as a single from the 8 Mile Soundtrack, this song would end up bringing more excitement to the album and 50 would include it as a bonus track on the project. With the infectious melody and production, 50 popped off on phony gangstas, taking a straightforward shot at studio gangstas, mainly Ja Rule on this track. The song would begin to dominant urban radio and cross over, cracking the top 15 of the Billboard charts and making the top 5 of the Hip Hop charts as well. 50 was winning with his singles and winning in a way that most rappers weren't at the time.

The 5 Best Songs
When looking at a classic album, it's really hard to pinpoint the best songs. This is usually subjective and opinion based, but sometimes, there are songs that are universally recognized as the best, and there are a few from GRODT that fit that. For me, the 5 best from the album are the songs that hold the most weight in terms of the legacy of the project. Which songs did I pick for the 5 best? In no order, let's take a look.

*What Up Gangsta
-I honestly crown this song as one of the best opening tracks in hip hop history. It's the perfect start to the album, and it showcases everything that 50 was about at that time. From the opening drum hits to the opening adlibs to the opening lines of the first verse, it's the perfect beginning for the album. 50 delivers solid verses atop a banging production and one of his most iconic hooks as well. There was no better way to start the album off, and 50 delivered big time with this track.

*Many Men (Wish Death)
-Starting with a small skit that features Lloyd Banks, 50 delivers a song that essentially spits in the face of his enemies. 50 was not only the hottest in the hip hop game at the time, he was wanted in the streets as well. With a cinematic style production backing his words, 50 delivers some menacing rhymes directed to showcase that his path was destined and that even those 9 bullets couldn't stop him. With yet another infectious hook, 50 would bring us a true classic track that still plays as smoothly as it did 14 years ago. There's no denying that this is one of the top tracks on the album.

-I can honestly say that from the first moment I listened to this album that this song was always my favorite. The Dr. Dre production was probably one of the most sinister I've ever heard at the time, with solid piano work to back the knocking drums and the gunshot sounds helping to allow 50 the canvas to paint his murderous pictures, and he didn't disappoint. 50 gives us some of his most aggressive and raw lines and his threats have a little more bang to them atop this production. The hook is flawless, as 50 combs through the hardened melody and makes a sing songy style sounds more threatening than it ever has. I think this is the best song on the entire album and a top 5 song in the entire catalog of 50.

*Patiently Waiting
-Back in early 2003, the most popular rapper in the world was Eminem. He had just come off of a successful movie release, a near diamond album, and a multi platinum movie soundtrack that featured 50 as well. So when you hear the first sound of this Eminem and 50 collab, with 50 proclaiming that Em is his "favorite white boy", you know you might be in for something special. The end result gives us two solid verses from 50 and a great Eminem verse, where he bounces back and forth with his flow and his wordplay flows smoothly over the beat. This is the best collab between these two legendary artists and it's a great song to kick off the album following what is essentially the intro track of the album "What Up Gangsta". Em and 50 didn't disappoint with this one.

*Back Down
-You might not fully agree with this one being in the top 5 best tracks, but truthfully, it deserves to be. Unlike the singles, this song wasn't about finding radio play or even enticing the masses. This was about destroying an opponent and making sure he never gets back up once he's been knocked down. Over a sinister Dr. Dre production, 50 effortlessly tears apart Ja Rule with perhaps the most vicious diss since "Hit Em Up", and he doesn't hold back. He directs every piece of his anger at Ja and by extension, Black Child, Cadillac Tah, and Irv Gotti. The Murder Inc. vs G-Unit beef was one of the more intriguing beefs during 2002 and 2003, and while 50 had the upper hand via his mixtape success and the street disses, this was an official diss that is still remember some 14 plus years later as the official demise of Ja Rule for many.

3 Underrated Tracks
This is one of those rare albums where literally every song is loved universally by millions, but there are a few tracks that may be slept on in terms of comparison. These three tracks are the songs that are classics, but they just aren't mentioned as much as they should be. Let's take a look at the 3 underrated tracks of this album.

*High All The Time
-One of the most catchy songs on the album that wasn't a single, this track features 50 at his infectious best, backed by a smooth production and a hook that inspires you to sing along to it. In addition to the hook, 50 sounds as comfortable as ever on the verses, dropping some of his best lines on the album on this song. 50 will never be considered a top tier lyricist in the genre, but he is without a doubt one of the greatest songwriters in hip hop history, and this song is a true testament to that.

*Blood Hound
-The introduction of Young Buck to the mainstream world was memorable in its own way. Backed by a slightly southern sounding production from Sean Blaze, 50 gave us a track that was essentially for that southern crowd, and it worked. It was a simple concept, simple beat, simple verses, and one of the most simple hooks on the album, with Young Buck showing he was hungry and wanted to let the world know his name. This is definitely one of the more slept on songs on the album, and I personally loved seeing 50 reach out a little bit to the south and letting Buck get his shine on an album that would grow to be one of the best selling in hip hop.

*Don't Push Me
-One of the more popular songs on the album when it first dropped, you don't hear this Eminem produced banger mentioned as much anymore when we talk GRODT. In reflection, this is a dream collaboration, as we get to hear two gifted lyricists in Lloyd Banks and Eminem next to 50, who manages to hold his own alongside the two. This song is an anthem for anyone who has been pushed to the brink or the point of no return, and I don't hear it mentioned among the best of the best on this album, but it's a truly great track that shows all three MCs giving their all in their verses.

The Best Verses
As I mentioned, 50 has never been known as one of the best lyricists, but the truth be told, he has some iconic verses on this album and that's not even up for debate. From the first verse of "What Up Gangsta", which is the true introduction to the album, all the way to 50 holding his own on a track with Eminem on the classic "Patiently Waiting", there are some really solid verses on this album. I chose 6 of the best verses from the album, and I don't think you could substitute any other verse in this list. These are the best verses from GRODT (50's verses only, though Eminem has two classic verses on the album and Lloyd Banks and Young Buck also have great verses, but we're focusing on 50's best).

*What Up Gangsta (Verse 1)
-"They say I walk around like I got an S on my chest/
Nah, that's a semi-auto, and a vest on my chest/
I try not to say nothing, the DA might want to play in court/
But I'll hunt a duck nigga down like it's a sport/
Front on me, I'll cut ya/
Gun-butt you or buck ya/
You getting money, I can't get none with ya, then fuck ya/
I'm not the type to get knocked for D.W.I/
I'm the type that'll kill your connect when the coke price rise/
Gangstas, they bump my shit, them they know me/
I grew up around some niggas that's not my homies/
Hundred G's I stash it/
The Mac, I blast it/
D's come we dump the diesel in battery acid/
This flow's been mastered/
The ice, I flash it/
Jux me, I'll have your mama picking out your casket, bastard/
I'm on the next level/
Breitling baguette bezel/
Benz pedal to the metal/
Hotter than a tea kettle/"

*Patiently Waiting (Verse 1)
-"I'm innocent in my head/
Like a baby born dead/
Destination heaven/
Sit and politic with passengers from 9/11/
The Lord's blessings leave me lyrically inclined/
Shit, I ain't even got to try to shine/
God's the seamstress that tailor-fitted my pain/
I got scriptures in my brain/
I could spit at your dame/
Straight out the good book/
Look, niggas is shook/
50 fear no man/
Warrior, swing swords like Conan/
Picture me, pen in hand, writin' lines knowin' The Source will quote it/
When I die, they'll read this and say a genius wrote it/
I grew up without my pops, should that make me bitter?/
I caught cases, I copped out, does that make me a quitter?/
In this white man's world/
I'm similar to a squirrel/
Lookin' for a slut/
With a nice butt to get a nut/
If I get shot today my phone'll stop ringin' again/
These industry niggas ain't friends/
They know how to pretend/"

*High All The Time (Verses 2 And 3)
-"I get high as I wanna, nigga/
Go against me, for sure, you's a goner, nigga/
I don't smoke to calm my nerves, but I got beef/
Finna crush my enemies like I crush the hashish/
If you love me, tell me you love me, don't stare at me, man/
I'd hate to be in the pen for clapping one of my fans/
Let me show you how to greet me/
When you meet me, when you see me/
If you real, my nigga, you know how to holla G-Unit!/
There's no competition, it's just me/
50 Cent, motherfucker, I'm hot on these streets/
If David could go against Goliath with a stone/
I can go at Nas and Jigga, both for the throne/"

"Now, who you know besides me, who write lines and squeeze nines/
And have hoes in the hood sniffing on white lines/
You don't want me to be your kid's role model/
I'll teach them how to buck them 380's and load up them hollows/
Have shorty fresh off the stoop/ Ready to shoot/
Big blunt in his mouth, deuce-deuce in his boot/
Sit in the crib sipping Guinness watching Menace, then oh lord/
Have a young nigga bucking shit like he O-Dog/
My team they depend on me when it's crunch time/
I eat a nigga food in broad day like it's lunchtime/
You feeling brave, nigga, go ahead get gully/
See if I won't leave your brains leaking up out your skully/
I done made myself hot, so, ain't shit you can tell me/
Now niggas calling me to feature, man, fuck your money/
I ain't hurting, I'm aight, nigga, I'm doing good/
I ain't gotta write rhymes, I got bricks in the hood/

*Many Men (Verse 3)
-"Every night I talk to God, but he don't say nothin' back/
I know he protectin' me, but I still stay with my gat/
In my nightmares niggas keep pullin' TEC's on me/
Psychic says some bitch done put a hex on me/
The feds didn't know much when Pac got shot/
I got a kite from the pens that told me Tut got knocked/
I ain't gonna spell it out for you motherfuckers all the time/
Are you illiterate, nigga, you can't read between the lines?/
In the Bible it says, what goes around comes around/
Hommo shot me, three weeks later he got shot down/
Now it's clear that I'm here for a real reason/
‘Cause he got hit like I got hit, but he ain't fuckin' breathin'/"

*Back Down (Verse 1)
"Any living thing that cannot co-exist with the kid, must cease existing/
Little nigga, now listen/
Your mami, your papi, that bitch you chasin'/
Your little dirty ass kids, I'll fucking erase them/
Your success is not enough, you wanna be hard/
Knowing if you get knocked, you get fucked in the yard/
You's a Pop Tart, sweetheart, you soft in the middle, I eat ya for breakfast/
The watch was an exchange for your necklace/
And your boss is a bitch, if he could he would/
Sell his soul for cheap, trade his life to be Suge/
You can buy cars, but you can't buy respect in the hood/
Maybe I'm so disrespectful cause to me you're a mystery/
I know niggas from ya hood, you have no history/
Never poked nothing, never popped nothing/
Nigga stop fronting/
Jay put you on, X made you hot/
Now you run around like you some big shot/"

Final Thoughts
While I don't think this is a flawless album, I think it's without a doubt a classic album that deserves all of the accolades and credit it's been given. 50 came into the game and took it over as soon as he dropped. There weren't too many artists who had the ability to come into the game and dominate like 50, and there hasn't been another quite like him since. Not only was GRODT an impactful album in the mainstream from a sales perspective (finishing with almost 9 million copies sold in the U.S. and 15 million copies worldwide), it was one of those albums that were a moment in time. Once the album dropped, everyone either had it bumping out of their cars or in their headphones. 50's album exceeded expectations on all levels and made him an instant legend in this game just off the strength of one project. After such a successful run with mixtapes, building his G-Unit brand, beefing with Ja Rule, signing with Dr. Dre and Eminem, and finally getting his album out, 50 became the biggest rapper in the game, setting himself up for a long run that spawned several careers as a result and made him the Interscope cash cow for 2 years straight. While I would likely cut off a few songs from the album ("Like My Style" and "Poor Lil Rich" feature recycled rhymes and are a bit generic, though I'm a fan of "Poor Lil Rich"), overall this is as close to a flawless album as you can craft for the masses. There are songs that showcase the toughness of 50, there are songs for the club, songs for the south, a song for the ladies, a song for the "pimps", plenty of songs for the streets, and even a song or two that even the purists could appreciate. That is what makes GRODT so important. It's an album created to win so effortlessly that there was no way it would lose. We were told 50 Cent Is The Future just months before the arrival of GRODT, and 50 made sure to solidify that with this album.

Rating: 9/10



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