Discography Check: G-Unit Records

By @TrueGodImmortal

It's been almost 14 years since 50 Cent stepped on the scene commercially with his classic album "Get Rich or Die Tryin", and brought the G-Unit brand to the world. Since that time, we witnessed albums that would shape the legacy of one of the biggest hip hop brands of the 21st century. From time to time, G-Unit would strike with a near classic album, or a very very enjoyable project. Their roster was stacked in a way compared to other labels, as mostly every original artist on the label experienced a successful album release and a gold or platinum plaque. On the flipside, G-Unit also had a ton of artists who never released albums while signed to them, including Olivia, M.O.P., Spider Loc, Hot Rod, and in a funny turn of events, a younger OT Genasis before he took off years later. Well, today we look back at the discography and the albums that made G-Unit such a force in the game.

*50 Cent- Get Rich or Die Tryin (2003)

-The origin. This is seen more as a Shady/Aftermath album than a G-Unit Records album, but it does represent the G-Unit emblem, much like every 50 Cent album that followed it. However, this is the one that started the mainstream G-Unit frenzy, with hits like "P.I.M.P", "In Da Club", "Many Men", and the opening anthem "What Up Gangsta". This is widely recognized as one of the greatest albums of the 2000s and is still a classic to this very day. 50 brought his brand of classic aggression and street stories to the forefront and captivated the world easily. It didn't hurt having Dr. Dre and Eminem in his corner either.

*G-Unit- Beg For Mercy (2003)

-This triple platinum success suffered a bit due to a bit of backlash against 50 Cent from the industry, but that's the norm when you become too successful. Also, I think people expected something different than what they got, but that doesn't take away from the quality of the first G-Unit album. Was it a classic? Not by any stretch, but you don't really come to expect that from the Unit, especially on a group album. We got solid street tracks like "Poppin Them Thangs", "G'd Up", and the first single, which might have been a poor choice, "Stunt 101". My personal opinion has always been that they made the wrong decision on the first single, and if they had went a different route, perhaps it would have done just as well as 50's GRODT, but this album is still a very successful project overall, and a top album in the G-Unit discography.

*Lloyd Banks- The Hunger For More (2004)

-I wasnt the biggest fan of this album when it dropped, but I still enjoyed it overall. The issue I had was it sounded slightly more like a 50 Cent album than a Lloyd Banks album. The formula was in place, full of an anthem to flex ("I'm So Fly"), the street anthems ("Ain't No Click", "Warrior"), the 'girl' song ("Karma"), and of course, the weed song ("I Get High"). Even the first single, led by a 50 hook, "On Fire", just felt like it had too much influence from Curtis, but the project was still a good listen, it just felt as if 50's influence was too strong, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, it's just that in successful crews, like a Roc-A-Fella (Beans, Bleek, Kanye, etc had variety), and even a Bad Boy (Biggie, Lox, Mase) had diversity in the sound. The G-Unit sound was seemingly embedded within both Banks and Yayo, and it showed here. Still a good listen, just needed more diversity, which the lack ofyou could attribute to 50 and Banks both being from the exact same neighborhood.

*Young Buck- Straight Outta Cashville (2004)

-When I mentioned G-Unit needed a bit of diversity, I wouldn't say that I meant that in a differing subject matter way, but rather a differing perspective beyond Queens and a slightly different sound. We got that with Young Buck on his debut solo album, which is one of my favorite albums from the entire G-Unit Records brand. Buck was raw with his rhymes, his lyrics hit home, and he was honest about his experiences, making him a breath of slightly fresh air to the Unit. Hailing from Nashville, TN, Buck came with that southern flavor mixed in with some boom bap sensibility as well, giving us interesting tracks like "Do It Like Me", "Welcome to The South", "Let Me In", "Shorty Wanna Ride", and the infamous "Stomp", which has two versions, one with Ludacris and The Game, the other with T.I. and Ludacris (this version features both MCs taking shots at each other). Overall, this is a great album from top to bottom, and Buck delivers on just about every song.

*The Game- The Documentary (2005)

-Released in conjunction with Aftermath, this album is widely recognized as a classic to many, and some would consider it a 50 Cent album as well as Game album. Regardless, whether or not 50 wrote the entire album, we can definitely hear his sound in many of the songs, including tracks that he wasn't featured on. Game however holds his own with his verses, and he brings the West Coast brand of music to the Unit on solid tracks such as "Start From Scratch", "Church For Thugs", "Dreams", and still comes with strong lyrics on tracks that features 50 like "Hate It Or Love It" and "How We Do". Overall, I don't think this album is a classic personally, but it definitely is in the running to be one.

*50 Cent- The Massacre (2005)

-I think this is the best 50 album overall, but it's more commercial than it needed to be. Had 50 kept the songs he gave to Game for his album, this would be a classic to more people. However, it still works well, and after selling over 1 million copies the first week, it remains one of the highest selling hip hop albums with first week numbers. Songs like "Outta Control (Remix)", "Just A Lil Bit", "In My Hood", "Position Of Power", and "Disco Inferno" blended the street and commercial sensibilities of 50, while "Ski Mask Way", "Baltimore Love Thing", and "Ryder Music" showed a more focused side of 50 at his best. The Massacre won't have the same legacy as GRODT and probably would benefit from shaving a few tracks, but overall it's a great listen and a solid although slightly misguided follow up to his biggest album.

*Tony Yayo- Thoughts Of A Predicate Felon (2005)

-I don't think anyone expected the Yayo album to be any good, but for what it's worth, the album isn't the worst. It's solid in production mostly, but misses the mark more than it hits it. Songs like "So Seductive", "Pimpin", "We Don't Give A Fuck" featuring G-Unit, "I Know You Don't Love Me" featuring G-Unit, and the really dark "Live By The Gun" were all solid, but the problem is that Yayo doesn't hold down a song solo very well for an entire album. He has moments full of dope sounds, but not enough to make an album fully enjoyable.

*Get Rich or Die Tryin' Soundtrack (2005)

-After the Yayo release, the Unit bounced back with one of their best releases, the soundtrack to the 50 film of the same name, that also has the same name of his "debut" album. While that was a bit confusing, 50 went out of his way on this project to put together a very solid body of work. Tracks like "Window Shopper", "You Already Know", "What If", and the classic "Hustler's Ambition" all make this a great listen. The whole G-Unit squad never sounded better together than on this particular album, and I'm talking about the larger conglomerate of G-Unit which included Mobb, M.O.P., and Olivia.

*Mobb Deep- Blood Money (2006)

-While many folks didn't like this particular album, I think it had some good moments like "Pearly Gates", "Say Something", and "Creep". Overall however, compared to the other Mobb Deep albums and the traditional sound, this one honestly didn't do it for me. It missed the mark pretty badly in what the fans WANTED and in reality, the Mobb Deep move to G-Unit probably wasn't the smartest. Production on this album is probably the best thing about it, but even that seems to miss the mark on a few ends. Not the worst Mobb album, but far, very far from the best.

*Lloyd Banks- Rotten Apple (2006)

-I remember thinking this album missed the mark upon release and truthfully, I still believe this. The album sounds more like Banks than 50 this time, and with tracks like "Survival", which is my favorite here, and the 50 featured track "The Cake" make this a decent listen, but there's nothing new or even creative here, as they go to the well one too many times with retreads like "Playboy 2", "Hands Up" (which sounds just like "On Fire"), and the absolutely awful Scarface, Buck, and 8Ball featured "Ice Man". He wasted a Scarface and 8Ball feature on THIS SONG. That tells you all you need to know.

*Lil Scrappy- Bred To Die Born 2 Live (2006)

-Scrappy was really about to sign to G-Unit at one point. This was released with both 50 and Lil Jon executive producing, and while this album wasn't particularly one that I listened to frequently, on my revisit of it, it had pretty solid production throughout. Of course the first single "Money In The Bank" with Young Buck was dope, and the Three 6 Mafia featured "Posted In the Projects" were all dope, but my favorite track was the 50 featured "Nigga, What's Up", which has a hilarious title, but was still a solid listen. Overall, Scrappy came with some decent tracks, it's just his lyrics fall short of the production he had behind him.

*Young Buck- Buck Tha World (2007)

-Another underrated project for the Unit comes from its most slept on rapper, the Tennessee native. Buck delivered during a low period for the Unit, and he wouldn't disappoint, with tracks like "Push Em Back", "Say It To My Face" featuring Bun B and 8Ball & MJG, the 50 Cent assisted "Hold On", and the solid "4 Kings" with T.I., Pimp C, and Young Jeezy, who actually makes two appearances on this album. Overall, this was a really solid project and I enjoyed it minus a few select tracks.

*50 Cent- Curtis (2007)

-The less said about this album, the better. 50 was on his official third album and going against Kanye West in a sales battle. He would lose that sales battle and he would lose the album war, as 50 failed to deliver with this album. It was a poor misstep in a rather solid catalog, and the only tracks I really enjoyed were "Curtis 187", "Man Down", and of course, the big hit "I Get Money". If 50 would have focused more on what we wanted to hear versus trying to hit the commercial charts with pop centered songs, he might have won bigger. Instead, this is a stain on the G-Unit catalog and on 50's personal catalog.

*G-Unit- T.O.S. (2008)

-After Young Buck got kicked out of G-Unit, the group decided to use that loss of momentum (made no sense), and release the 2nd official G-Unit album, T.O.S., which featured the original three members of Banks, Yayo, and 50. Songs like "Piano Man", "No Days Off", "I Don't Wanna Talk About It", and the menacing "Ready Or Not" work well, and Buck is still kept on a number of songs as well, but if I had to rate the album, it's probably as middle of the road as one could expect from a group that just lost a very vital member. Still entertaining in spurts, but just not enough to be top tier in the catalog.

*50 Cent- Before I Self Destruct (2009)

-I think after the big rise of 50, many people didn't give him the chance to be great again and this album didn't get the credit that it deserved. This is right there with GRODT in terms of his best album, and it might actually be his best solely speaking musically, but nostalgia and impact will never crown it as such. However, lyrically, 50 was in a zone here and the songs showcase that. From "Then Days Went By" to the extremely soulful "Strong Enough", "Death To My Enemies", "Stretch", and "Do You Think About Me", 50 was at his best in quite some time. This was a great album, but it might be forgotten when we look back at the catalog due to being released at a downtime for the Unit. Still, musically solid.

*Lloyd Banks- Hunger For More 2 (2010)

-Banks finally hits the mark with this album, and he brings his own brand of street music without being overshadowed by 50 in this one. He got a big hit in the Juelz Santana featured "Beamer, Benz, Bentley", and seemed to follow it up with a solid track in the Lloyd assisted "Any Girl", along with dope album cuts like "Home Sweet Home" with Pusha T, alongside the 50 featured "Payback (Ps and Qs)", as well as the Kanye and Fabolous featured "Start It Up", and the Jeremih assisted scorcher "I Don't Deserve You". In the G-Unit discography, this is one of the most slept on albums of them all. Banks barely misses on this shorter, but super dope album.

*50 Cent- Animal Ambition (2014)

-While 50 has mostly solid albums in his catalog, this particular album fell flat, despite a couple of solid tracks on it. I really enjoyed "Pilot", "Hustler", "Twisted", and the bonus tracks on the deluxe edition of this album, but just about everything else felt like it was slightly forced. Nothing really stood out on this album, and perhaps if 50 had attempted to put a few different tracks on this album, it would have worked better. I did however like the format for making videos of every song on the album.

*G-Unit- The Beauty of Independence (2014)

-I remember when this EP dropped, after the Unit had came back harder with their remixes to invoke some nostalgia. The EP is a gem to me, full of dope songs, and only one song that I could do without ("Dead A Pussy Nigga"). The best songs here? "Watch Me", "Big Body Benz", and probably a top 5 G-Unit song ever in the surprisingly profound "Changes". The G-Unit reunion started off with a bang and continued with this EP, making it a success, in my eyes.

*G-Unit- The Beast Is G-Unit (2015)

-This was unnecessary and it fell flat to me. I wasn't necessarily looking forward to it, but I give it a listen from time to time, but compared to the previous EP, this just didn't hit the mark. The best song is the Lloyd Banks solo "Doper Than My Last One" and even that one tends to drag a bit. After revisiting it, I can't pick out a song that's really that good or even entertaining. Considering the Lost Files mixtape they dropped a while back, I think they could have used or picked better songs. Regardless, this is a rare miss from the group.



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