Eclectic, thought provoking, socially conscious and intellectually stimulating all describe the undisputed mixed tape king of the streets. His name is 50 Cent and his debut album “Get Rich or Die Tryin” on the Shady/Aftermath record label, sold a reported 872,00 as of Wednesday.
With executive producers Dr. Dre and Eminem, this album proves 50 Cent is neither Mos Def nor Common, and he’s not trying to be. He is a gangsta from head to toe, and unapologetically so.
After the intro – corny dropping of two quarters on a table -the album gets started with the self-explanatory “What Up Gangsta”. Next up is “Patiently Waiting,” which was produced by and features Eminem. 50 does his thing despite Slim Shady lyrically outshining him.
The album’s crowning jewel comes via track four; the Digga produced sonic beauty “Many Men”. It is an ironically inspiring “F” the haters song with a “me against the world” theme in which 50 gets introspective about being shot nine times and surviving, as well as his life’s purpose with lines like:
Many men, wish death upon me … I’m tryin to be what I’m destined to be … Now it’s clear that I’m here for a real reason, Cause he got hit like I got hit but he not f*@#ing breathin. It brilliantly capsules 50’s essence.
Then there’s “In da Club” the Dr. Dre produced single that we’ve all heard at least 200 times between “The Set” on Fridays, or coming out of someone’s factory installed stereo system in their whip.
On “High All the Time,” an ode to the magic happy grass, 50 finds time to spew his ambitions:
If David can go against Goliath with a stone, I can go at Nas and Jigga both for the throne.
Overall, “Get Rich or Die Tryin” is a superb album. It is raw and honest. 50 Cent pedals romance for the streets, you know sex, murder and mayhem. Rarely do artists live up to their hype. Essentially, 50 did that.
He did not sacrifice his art or his street credibility, and music fans still showed him respect. Love it or leave it alone.