Retrospective: 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin

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

This was inevitable. While I debated on discussing the Massacre instead, with it being DAR East Coast week, we had to talk about this one. 50 released his first major label album in February 2003 and took the world by storm. Backed by Shady/Aftermath/Interscope, he had the true power force behind him and the world watched as he took this album and gained superstardom. We gathered the team today to look back at this classic. Let's get into it.

50's Get Rich or Die Tryin to this day is one of my favorite Rap albums ever. A lot of my exposure to Hip-Hop can be traced to my move to MD when I was 8, but up until this album, the majority of my exposure to it was southern artists thanks to my older cousin's love of Cash Money and OutKast. I still remember sitting at my sister's practice and one of her teammate's brothers came up to me and played GRODT for me. From the beginning, I was hooked. 50's aggression on "What Up Gangsta" immediately grabbed me and the production was something I wasn't used to hearing. Heat is one of my favorite tracks on the album. I still remember the face I made when I heard 50 say ''If you was smart you'd be shook of me/ Cause I'd get tired of looking for ya, spray ya mama crib and let ya ass look for me/''. I don't know what it is about that line, but that shit slapped me in the face. Anytime I listen to this album, it brings me back to the first time I heard it. A definite classic.

It's always amazing when someone's mainstream debut album is a classic. One of the coolest things I found about this album was how much of a fan Eminem was/is of 50. I always thought that was cool. I also really enjoyed the production on Many Men, which also happens to be one of my favorite songs from the album. Get Rich or Die Tryin is one of those albums that if I were on an island alone and stranded, I'd want to have with me. Having never heard of 50 Cent at the time, I was going into this album completely blind. After the opening riff of "What Up Gangsta" I knew I was gonna be good and this album was money well spent. I just didn't know the weight it was going to carry over the years. 5/5 mics

Get Rich or Die Tryin. A classic we'll never stop talking about or get over. How can you possibly call this gangsta debut masterpiece trash? 50 put out a banger for EVERY SINGLE GODDAMN TRACK. Even "21 Questions", banged, which wasn't supposed to, as it didn't fit the style of the album, but somehow did. This album was also a commercial success, selling over 8 million copies in the US and 14 million worldwide. This album gave us one of the greatest hip hop songs of all time, "In Da Club". This song was a game changer. New York hip hop needed a new superstar as Jay-Z at the time was apparently retiring, Nas was getting older, Big L & Big Pun are gone, and Biggie's death was still mourned. So 50 Cent survived 9 bullets, and dropped 3 classic mixtapes with G-Unit, to help promote this album. The production was fantastic. The storytelling was on point. The gangsta feeling 50 gave you listening to the album was accurate. And it sure is something nice to bump in the car. I love everything about this album. One of the first I ever listened to. I think 50 did everything perfectly. It's perfect the way it is. And if you disagree, listen to the entire album again and again and again. I recommend "Heat" & "Poor Lil Rich". This is one of the most influential albums of all time, as it started a huge G-Unit movement, and changed hip hop forever. Disagree? You know my @.

The first time I heard GROTD, it was a bootleg copy I found while rummaging through middle school lockers as part of a summer job. The CD was scratched a bit, but still managed to encapsulate what was considered one of 50's best. It's fitting, in some ways, that that bootleg was my introduction to 50, since 50 is a man who's made his name from going through the fire, legally and illegally. Song-wise, 50 managed to diss Ja Rule for sing-song lyrics, then turned around, dropped "21 Questions" and "Many Men," reappropriated the Ja flow, and became a legend. That's what I'll remember most about the album: it presented a man who couldn't stop his path to legendary status, even if it meant all but absorbing his enemies on some Kirby-esque shit. "Many Men" will forever be one of my favorite 50 songs. Lyrically, it's epic. The beat is amazing. And it captures that raw, early 2000s come-up that 50 and other people/artists were about.

In order to truly talk about this album, we have to stop using this narrative that 50 stole Ja's style after murdering him in their beef. Now, don't get me wrong, Ja was on top of the world singing his heart out(sounding terrible in the process), but years ago on his Trackmasters shit, 50 was harmonizing on hooks before he got shot in 2000. 50 rose to prominence remixing popular songs with the G-Unit crew on mixtapes and some of those were sing-songy hooks as well. That has always been 50's style and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Now, to the album. Music marks time. When an artist comes along with something that is extremely needed at the right time, it will forever be remembered as classic. Musically, I slightly prefer The Massacre over this album, but GRODT is 50's most iconic piece of work. He created essentially what could be seen as the perfect album for that era. A thug love ballad in "21 Questions" with the hook king Nate Dogg assisting, a song for the weed smokers "High All The Time"(that didn't focus too much on weed outside of the hook and a reference or two since 50 didn't smoke anyways), not to mention a song that looks his haters in the eye and speaks directly to them in "Many Men". There's an epic yet simple party song in "In Da Club", two Eminem guest appearances, Dr. Dre production, a southern type of track in "Blood Hound", and more gangsta shit to put 50 in the prime position of top dog in this game at the time. 50 created an album of music that he knew people would love and spread the music out so that it would appeal to all groups and regions. You can't sell 14 million copies worldwide and not have an album that appeals to damn near everyone.

Get Rich or Die Tryin was definitely a game changer and a classic without a doubt. "What Up Gangsta" might be one of the most iconic opening songs to an album ever, and I would dare say that "Heat" is one of the hardest songs to come out in the 2000s. 50 also managed to hold his own on tracks with Em during what was Em's prime on "Patiently Waiting" and of course "Don't Push Me", a feat in itself for someone who isn't necessarily known as as top tier lyricist. No matter what, 50 rolled the loaded dice and won big with this album. It presented a change in hip hop and etched 50 into the history books. He is a legend.

What are your opinions on this album? Post them in the comments below.



Popular Posts