Sometimes I wonder if 50 Cent knew that we would still be raving about his debut album fifteen years later? Never mind, I’m sure 50 is somewhere in the world thinking, “Hell yea I knew I was creating a classic…I’m 50 man.”
Fifteen years ago today, 50 Cent and Shady/Aftermath records had the Country and the entire Hip-Hop community gasping for air as they released his debut album Get Rich or Die Tryin’. The 19 track album debuted atop the Billboard 200 and sold upwards of 872,000 copies in its first week. 50 Cent had officially transformed from underground mixtape legend to Raps new favorite bad guy. Get Rich or Die Tryin was 50 Cent’s statement piece. A project packed with grit, charisma and a sinister spirit. The album featured songs such as the hits “In Da Club”, “21 Questions” ft. Nate Dogg, “P.I.M.P”, “Wanksta” and my personal favorite “Many Men”. I rapped “Many Men” like I lived it, wrote it and had to buy a bullet proof vest because of it.
At the age of 13 is when I started to listen to 50 Cent, courtesy of my 9-year-old brother. He became a fan of 50 during his mixtape reign. I still wonder how a 9-year-old got hold of a 50 Cent mixtape, but we’ll leave that for another day. Get Rich or Die Tryin was released when I was 14 and that album solidified me as a fan forever. Generally speaking, if streaming was a thing fifteen years ago, my house alone would’ve given him an award. As a matter of fact, you could not go anywhere without hearing the album, birthday parties, roller skating rinks, sporting events, the radio and especially school hallways. Yes, just in case you were wondering how the album was received by Middle School students in 2003, the census agreed it was the sh*t! You could hear “Wanksta” blaring out of portable CD players, students rapping “In Da Club” in the back of the classroom and of course, I was one of those students, I knew every song word for word.
Looking back on those days brings a sense of nostalgia and being in the present to see 50 Cent continue to flourish not only in Hip-Hop but Acting, Business and much more is even better. Get Rich or Die Tryin’ is in fact timeless and will reside in the Hip-Hop rafters alongside of other greats forever.