DAR Hip Hop: The 8 Greatest G-Unit Mixtapes

By @TrueGodImmortal

Once upon a time, G-Unit dominated the hip hop game. There is no denying that. During the 2002-2005 era, there was no movement stronger than G-Unit and it still remains one of my favorite eras in hip hop history. With their legendary run, they would end up making a number of popular albums and going platinum plus multiple times, but their best work and their meteoric rise could be attributed to the mixtape circuit. Long before the days of Gucci Mane, Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy, and others who became mixtape legends (though Wayne wasn't too far behind them with Sqad Up), G-Unit was the king of the mixtape and 50 Cent would use this to gain a million dollar deal with Shady/Aftermath and Interscope. Most of all, 50 would use it to gain the respect of the street and help his music travel everywhere. G-Unit would probably be at the top of the list when discussing the greatest mixtape artists of all time, and with that said, we have to take a look at their greatest mixtapes. Keep in mind, this list won't include the solo G-Unit tapes (the specifically solo tapes like Lloyd Banks' Mo' Money In The Bank, Yayo's solo G-Unit, etc), but rather tapes that showcase the collective, which makes up the majority of their mixtape catalog. Which mixtapes make the list? Let's take a look.

8. G-Unit Radio Part 2: International Ballers (2003)

-This was the mixtape that really took things to another level for me. While G-Unit was my favorite group during the initial mixtape run, it seemed as if they were becoming even more comfortable with their music making ability around this time. 50 was on top of the world, and in some ways, during this period, G-Unit felt like they needed to defend the crown. Because of that, we would see tracks like the Lloyd Banks, 50, and Young Buck classic "Get Shot", along with the Lil Flip, Banks, and 50 collab "Get That Money Man", but my favorite track here is "Clips" from Banks and his collab with Snoop and Nate, "Southside To Long Beach". I really think this is a tape that deserves more credit and when ranking these, I had to make sure this was included (though G-Unit Radio Part 1 almost took the spot here for me).

7. G-Unit Radio Part 14: Back To Business (2005)

-You won't hear much about post 2003-2004 G-Unit mixtapes, but I would have to argue that this one is their last true great mixtape together. It's an actual slept on tape that came during what many consider to be the decline of the group, but after signing Spider Loc, M.O.P., and Mobb Deep, it seemed like the collective struggled to find their footing, aside from this project (and the GRODT movie soundtrack). Perhaps that's why I'm personally partial to this mixtape and have it ranked in the top 7. It was the only true time we saw immense chemistry from such a different group of individuals and with focus on 50, Young Buck, Spider Loc, Lloyd Banks, and Prodigy, it felt like a real collective effort. With the excellent posse cut "Robbery" over a classic Mobb Deep production, the aforementioned names spit their best aggressive lyrics over the soulful sounds. 50 does his thing here on the few solo tracks he gets on the tape, as "Emotional" and the classic "Just A Touch" (over another classic Mobb Deep production) are featured here. Buck and Banks create a gem with "Thuggin Til I'm Gone" and I actually enjoy the Prodigy and Buck collab "Man Down". There's enough variety in rap styles here to keep me engaged, not to mention, 13 years ago, the tape kicked off with what sounded like a return to form for Murda Ma$e on "Check Cleared", long before his diss to Cam'ron in late 2017. I think this tape might be the most underrated G-Unit mixtape, as it has a lot of good music that seemingly went under the radar during their beef with Game, Fat Joe, and Jadakiss.

6. G-Unit Part 3: Takin' It To The Streets (2003)

-Anytime you can get the hottest rapper in the street to feature the most popular rookie in some years together on a mixtape, you might have done something special. With LeBron James helping to host this mixtape, 50 and company showed up to bring that murder music like only they could. LeBron isn't an overwhelming presence on this tape, and the focus is mostly on the music (with Bron handling a few drops here and there), which works perfectly, because the music is top notch G-Unit. It kicks off with a 2Pac remix, before featuring some of my favorite G-Unit mixtape tracks like "Move" which is a classic IMO, as well as "So Hard", which is one of the earliest songs to feature 50, Lloyd Banks, and The Game. This tape also includes "P.I.M.P. (Remix)", with Snoop and the rest of G-Unit, as well as the hilarious "Dick Will Do" (a remix of the Lil Jon single "Play No Games" with Snoop Dogg, Lloyd Banks, and Busta Rhymes, and the G-Unit remix of Chingy's "Right Thurr". All in all, this is a classic tape and one of the most potent releases from G-Unit on the mixtape circuit.

5. God's Plan (2002)

-The holy trinity of G-Unit mixtapes came on their first three releases, and the final release of that trilogy is the weakest IMO, yet it's still a classic. Perhaps that just shows how good their run really was, when one of the greatest mixtapes of all time actually just cracks the top 5 of the list. Still, there's something about this tape that leaves it out of the top 3, but it's still so good that you can't deny it. Whether 50 and the gang took over a Timbaland beat or remixed an old Eastsidaz classic, or even a remix of a Slum Village hit, they came with plenty of fire on this project and there's no shortage of great music here. For me, the best songs on this mixtape are "Gangsta'd Up", "Banks Workout Part 2", and "Tainted". There's no song on here that I dislike really, and that's a rarity with so many mixtapes. God's Plan is a classic and on any other discussion, it would be top 3 or even top 2, but the G-Unit mixtape catalog is so legendary that this just cracks the top 5. That's amazing for a number of reasons.

4. G-Unit Radio Part 5: All Eyez On Us (2004)

-There's at least one classic G-Unit mixtape for every period that they went through. There are three to four classics that came during the original trio era, a classic that came once Young Buck got into the group regularly, and then there's this, the apex of the group. With Tony Yayo in and out of jail during this time, G-Unit had reached what I considered to be their highest level with The Game, Young Buck, 50, and Lloyd Banks all together as a group of four with such contrasting yet well complemented styles. For me, this tape represents a moment in time, which is why it's ranked so high. The tape kicks off with what I consider to be the best song on it, the timeless gem "I'm So Sorry", which is the best song to feature all four of the members who appear. Utilizing instrumentals from Anthony Hamilton's 2003 project, the group also would make their own version of "Comin' From Where I'm From", and flip a Cee-Lo instrumental for another solid track "Y'all Ain't Fucking With Us". Along with an exclusive 2Pac track, a solo Lloyd Banks track, as well as something from Eminem and a G-Unit featured track by Olivia, this tape is short and sweet with just another great music to make sure it never gets stale and it is well deserving of the ranking it gets here.

3. Automatic Gunfire (2002)

-If not for the fact that the top two are set in stone, this mixtape would be my personal choice for no. 1. Honestly, it's the BEST constructed mixtape from the group and with the original trio of Yayo, 50, and Banks here spitting some of their hardest rhymes, we get a number of actual original songs as opposed to the numerous remixes that dominated their first three classics. There is no shortage of epic murder music and this tape is full of disses to Ja Rule and the Murda Inc. crew. Whether we get tracks like "Bang Bang", which is an infamous diss record, or even the classic "U Remind Me Of My Bitch", or the underrated "If U Want It", everything flows pretty well on this tape. We do get a few remixes, as the old school vibe on "Doing My Own Thing" and the way the crew flawlessly executes over the Eminem track on "8 More Miles" shows how hungry they still were at the time. Automatic Gunfire represents the last true moment of the era before G-Unit REALLY took off and became the biggest force in both the streets and mainstream and it is one of the greatest mixtapes I've ever listened to.

2. No Mercy, No Fear (2002)

-This is my second favorite G-Unit tape personally, if I can be honest. It used to be my favorite, but I'll be honest, Automatic Gunfire took that title in recent years. Still, of the trilogy that made the world love G-Unit, this is the best of those three quality wise. It is not however, the most important of the three, thus why it comes in at the no. 2 spot. Now, you're probably a bit confused right? If this is the best of the trilogy, why not have it at no. 1? It's simple. The trilogy is so classic that you could literally pick either tape for the top spot and there is no wrong answer. However, legacy matters, and surprisingly, of the original trilogy, I think No Mercy, No Fear has the least fanfare to go with it. I hear plenty of people speak of God's Plan before this tape and I'm honestly surprised every time. No Mercy, No Fear has everything you would want in a G-Unit mixtape and then some. From the classics like "Elementary", "Fat Bitch", "Soldier", and the iconic "Banks Victory" to the underrated gems like "After My Chedda", "E.M.S.", and "G-Unit/U.T.P.", this tape delivers some of the best music in the entire G-Unit catalog by far.

1. 50 Cent Is The Future (2002)

-If you ask most people, they'll point to this mixtape as the best and that's 100% accurate. Though it isn't my favorite G-Unit mixtape, there is no mixtape in the history of hip hop (do the knowledge) more important than 50 Cent Is The Future. Simply put, this mixtape was ahead of its time and showcased a once in a lifetime style talent like 50. Whether you love him or hate him, we've never seen anyone like 50 and this was the reintroduction for him and the introduction for his G-Unit crew, and it was quite the beginning for the trio and their brand. There are some true classics here, but the first song that I heard from G-Unit was their take on a hit song by Raphael Saadiq and D'Angelo, the hilarious "U Should Be Here". That song is the anchor of the tape, but the greatness doesn't stop there. We get more great music like "Bump Dat", "The Banks Workout", "G-Unit Soldiers", "Got Me A Bottle", "G-Unit That's What's Up", "50/Banks", and the iconic "Bad News". The trio of Banks, 50, and Yayo made a huge impact when they debuted and set the world on fire. 50 Cent Is The Future is not only the greatest G-Unit mixtape, but the greatest mixtape of all time IMO.



Popular Posts