March 23, 2007

50 Cent - Get Rich or Die Tryin' (February 6, 2003)

I realize that it's been a while since my last review, what with vacations, bullshit at work, and general malaise on my part, so I thought I would make my triumphant comeback by beating a dead horse.

Enough internet space has been occupied with the Curtis Jackson story, so I won't waste your time with that here. Get Rich or Die Tryin' was his first album to actually get a proper release (he had recorded two prior, one solely with Jam Master Jay of Run DMC fame, and the other being Power of the Dollar, which isn't hard to find online). After getting shot nine times, he was dropped from his label and blackballed by the industry (he was snitching on known Communists at the time); as such, he decided to put his name out there via the mixtape route, and became the first true mixtape king; it was one of his mixtapes which caught the ear of Marshall Mathers, who took it to his physician Dr. Dre during his annual physical, and the rest is history. Huh. I just wasted your time with the Curtis Jackson story. My bad, yo.

50 Cent has been attacked repeatedly during the past four years by hip hop heads of all types, for very good reason: he's not a good rapper. At all. But as a businessman, he can be pretty brilliant. He began his mainstream career beefing with Ja Rule, who was well known for crooning on his hooks to the chicks and generally acting like an ass. After destroying his credibility, Curtis then went on to take his spot by crooning all of his own goddamn hooks. I'll admit, when the beef started, I hated Ja's music, so I was rooting for 50 and his G-Unit camp, even though I felt the only artist with potential from the camp was The Game, who (of course) was kicked out for stepping on 50's shine (don't believe all that "Game wouldn't beef with 50's enemies" shit; he was dropped because he was selling just as much as the bulletproof man himself). Now that Curtis is filling the Ja Rule role, he's opened himself up to massive scrutiny ("Candy Shop", anyone?) and, up to this point, has brushed it all off with success, but the overall point of this paragraph is that I don't fucking like Curtis Jackson's music. I'm sure he's lovely in person, though.

This album is somehow considered to be a gangsta rap classic. No, I don't understand why, since it's not like 50 is a one-man N.W.A. or anything. 50 Cent's career is based on one everlasting pose. Look at the album cover above. I mean, come on! This is supposed to be entertainment! You can crack a fucking smile every once in a while, and not just when you're cashing your latest Shady/Aftermath/Interscope check, Curtis. I read somewhere that 50 considered himself the George Bush of this rap shit (which is a horrible way to market yourself, by the way), but his stance has some merit; he did take out one of the most hated men in the hip hop world during his term (did I just compare Ja Rule to Saddam Hussein? Wow, I'm a dick).

True story: it has been discussed repeatedly how 50 was shot nine times, left for dead, but every source leaves out the fact that he was shot by nine different people, and these folks only shot him a smile. Those vests don't protect you from everything, Curtis.

Don't even get me started. At least there's no grandstanding on the part of the artist here.

Actually. not a bad way to introduce yourself on a gangsta rap album.

Eminem outshines Curtis on his own shit, which is too bad, as this song if fucking terrible.

Maybe Ja Rule; everyone else merely wishes an embarassing case of the hiccups.

As if you haven't heard this already. Brilliant marketing move on both Dre and Eminem's parts: the cuddly super-gangsta rapper who would rather fuck the shit out of you than fall in love. No wonder chicks love this song. Can't complain bout the Dre instrumental, though.

Awful, awful, awful. The beat is terrible, and the lyrics are meh. Not helping: the fact that Curtis readily admits that he doesn't smoke or drink; this song makes 50 sound more like an actor than every other rapper ever. I give praise where it is due, though: on the Q-Unit mash up album (which matches 50's rhymes with Queen's songs as backing tracks), "High All The Time" sounds infinitely more entertaining over "Under Pressure"; go here to check it out. Actually, the Q-Unit CD sounds better than this entire album, to be truthful.

A hot mess. I don't care if Dr. Dre produced this shit, it gives me a headache.

This song is not bad, but then again, how often does the good Doctor make a mistake? (Ignore what I said on the last track.)

I believe this to be the official introduction of Young Buck as a member of G-Unit. Lots of people say that Buck is the best rapper out of the camp, the one with the most potential. I say, maybe, but in a crew where none of the artists are particulary good, that's not saying much.

Dr. Dre produced this track, which aided in ending Ja Rule's career. The beat is fantastic, and the lyrics are both menacing and funny; however, the end, in which a hairdresser (who has allegedly had relations with Ja) rambles on, is overkill. Glad to see that a rap beef included yet another homophobic reference; who says hip hop is dead?

11. P.I.M.P.
I prefer the remix, which features G-Unit and Snoop Dogg, simply because I can buy Snoop as a pimp, even though he was in that Muppet movie (I don't care if his scenes were ultimately cut, that shit just ain't gangsta!).

A lot of folks believe Yayo to be the worst rapper in the camp. I have to go with popular opinion here.

All of these songs are starting to sound like one long suckfest.

I don't care if Nate Dogg is singing the hook, this song is among the worst in recorded history. I mean, "I love you like a fat kid loves cake"? I blame Curtis for all of the corny ass white people whom I've heard use this as a romantic gesture.

I take back my review of "Patiently Waiting". That song is just bad, but this song is fucking terrible.

A decent way to end the album. Too bad it's not the true end of the album.

The following tracks are identified as bonus tracks:

I'll admit that I think this song is okay, if only for the first three lines of the second verse. It's not "so good that my opinion of the album changes" good, though.


See above track.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Get Rich or Die Tryin' just isn't a good album. I admit that a lot of people think this CD is the shit, that it bumps in the car, whatever. You can rationalize it all you want: I just heard the fucking thing and I'm wondering why I still have it in my collection. In true Ras Kass fashion, part of the problem is the beats, but Curtis has regular access to Dr. Dre, so that's a stupid excuse. Also, in no way did I just compare Curtis Jackson to Ras Kass lyrically.

BUY OR BURN? Don't buy this shit; there are some good tracks on here, but that's why downloading was invented.

BEST TRACKS: "What Up Gangsta?"; "In Da Club"; "Back Down"



  1. nice review man. I feel better after reading that...shit album, shit mc, nuff said.

  2. EF Huttin'March 29, 2007

    Aside from the fact that I disagree with you on "Heat" and "If I Can't," you are right about the man and the album. This was supposed to be a classic, but it didn't even come close. His immaturity and overall lack of talent is EXACTLY what's wrong with rap these days. Preach it, sir.

  3. Nnnnnnah. Can't agree w/ you here. One thing about hip-hop that always gets ignored by critic-types is that one doesn't have to necessarily be the best MC in the world to make great songs. This is probably the closest Curtis will ever get to anything resembling 'classic' and with good reason. This was a great album at its time, and I've listened to it since, it still holds up, IMO.

  4. "Many Men" is the only decent track on this travesty of an album! The rest of the album is horrible!

  5. Greatest hip hop album of all time

  6. Nice review, this is arguably the best hip hop album of all time hands down.

  7. This album is probably the best lyrical performance from an MC/songwriter ever.

  8. Max, I love you're blog and am a similar Wu-Tang fanatic. This album is dogshit for the most part, but "Heat" is a damn fine track, and easily the best one on here. The Dre beat is just classic, and 50 gives the best verse of his career:

    "i dun heard about the 50 grand you put in the hood
    but if the shooter fraid to get shot it wont do you no good
    with a pistol i define the definition of pain
    if you survive your bones will still fuckin hurt when it rains"

    CMOOON that shit is hilarious! Plaguing someone with chronic pain for the rest of their life, weather permitting? THATS GANGSTA

  9. Nice review.

    You should review the album "Power Of The Dollar" that's a nice Curtis album.

  10. Yea i got to disagree with you completley on this.. hip-hop pioneer KRS-One praises this album and reviewed it as the come-back of the boom-pap in hip-hop and KRS knows real hip-hop wen he hears it. A lot of the fans that like 50 Cent know the dude is real where he gets his respect, hip-hop heads and people who appreciate real MUSIC understand where 50 comes from not the so called "real street niggaz" who they proclaim themselves to be aka C.O. Ross. Anyway i found a lot of good music on here by the way. 21 Questions doesn't have to have the interesting lyrics and he doesn't need the wittyness to get his point across on "Gotta make it to heaven" and Back Down and Many Men are the best tracks on here! Guy just brings it the way he knows how, some people have continued to appreciate it and some people moved on. I understand your review but albums already classic. Technically this isn't his debut, see "Life's on the Line" and review "Power of the Dollar"

  11. I like a few tracks on this, and that is it. For this album to be claimed by some as the best of all time is just, funny.

    It is pretty evident you cannot stand 50, lol.

  12. Remove 'In Da Club' from the Best Tracks list and replace it with 'Gotta Make It To Heaven'.

    I have this on tape. Loved it when it came out (I had a huge Aftermath bias in the early half of the past decade, for some reason). Took me a while to realise that half of the record sounds like shit. Still, better than anything that 50 put out afterwards.

  13. You're retarded mate. And your anti-west coast bias never stops. Rather than display the intellectual capacity of a rotten vegetable (which one understandably transforms into after being on Jay-Z's dick since puberty), it wouldn't hurt you to listen to the album. Many Men is a great track, and is more real than the botox in Jay-Z's lips. Too bad you've chosen this blog not to highlight real rap music but rather trash bona fide classics from the west coast or any other album that benefits from its considerable contribution.

    Your mother

    1. On point. Can tell this guy just hates 50 so I don't see the point in this review. It's like an opportunity for a bunch of backpackers to stand in a circle and jerk eachother off about how "real" they are.

  14. Max...I love ya, but sometimes you need to let go of that "I hate what's popular" angst.

    Do other rappers deserve to sell as well as 50 Cent? Hell yes. I wish Supreme Clientele did Get Rich or Die Tryin' numbers. But it didn't. So what? You can't hold sales and popularity against a rapper like this.

    "Candy Shop" and "Amusement Park" are terrible songs, yes. But what about "In Da Club"? "I Get Money"? "Hate It Or Love It"? 50 Cent has been responsible for some of the best commercial rap songs of the last decade. Jay-Z gets a pass for making fun dumb songs and 50 Cent doesn't?

    I can understand bristling when people call Get Rich Or Die Tryin' a classic. But to say it isn't good is ridiculous. Like...really, Max? "Patiently Waiting" is a bad song? "High All The Time" and "If I Can't" aren't catchy and fun? If you cut Blood Hound, Don't Push Me and Gotta Make It To Heaven, this album is almost perfect.

    50 Cent is who he is. He makes catchy, fun gangster rap. When he doesn't take himself too seriously, it works. You can say he isn't lyrical, but some of his lines are pretty funny. And he's eerily talented at hooks - isn't that a form of lyricism? Fault 50 Cent for his obnoxious statements, his fake beefs, and his annoying tendency to make the same album over and over. But the guy makes great songs (or at least, used to.) And he has one great album. You can't take that away from him.

    So, you should think about re-reviewing this album. You realllyy didn't give it a fair shake. All you said about Many Men was "Maybe Ja Rule; everyone else merely wishes an embarassing case of the hiccups." Really, Max? Did you listen to the album again before writing this, or did you just look at the tracklisting and write jokes?

    It's funny, because you fault 50 Cent for not being a rapper with substance, but this review has almost no substance at all. Just a bunch of punchlines and simple observations - kind of like 50 Cent. Ironic.

    1. I agree completely. and this is why I can't take a lot of underground hip hop heads seriously. Hating something just because it's mainstream is just pathetic. Sure, A LOT of mainstream hip hop, especially over the last decade or so, is absolute trash. But it doesn't have to suck by default. In fact, if songs endure years after release, chances are they were good in some respect.

      Anyway, I think this is a great album. It just works. A lot of great beats that still hold up, great hooks, great vocals and decent rhymes.

  15. This album is and forever will be one of the greatest things I have listened to ever. however in saying that there are many terrible songs on this like wanksta and in da club which are just completely nonsense abd rubbish fuck you.

  16. many men (wish death) is the only decent song on this rest are pure shit

  17. From reading your reviews it's clear you take a stance with your own personal opinion, your very bias. I know after reading the "i fucking hate curtis jackson music" the review wasn't going to be far off. Yes this is the same dude who left the most recent cage comment. Max...Why would you bother to take the time to review an album done by an artist you hate? Its clear its can chalk full of your bias opinion, patiently waiting is fucking horrible? Your just pass by Many men Like that? After reading your reviews its clear that you have one stance on hip hop and are far from being open mimded or a hip hop head for that matter. Here's another album reviewed ten years after it drops and your trying to find its relevance to modern day? Well guess what dude, its, not, it was relevant ten years ago, and yes it is a classic. If you would have reviewed thiswhen it dropped you would of had a completely different opinion as you wuldnt of had ten years to manifest hate for the dude. Dont get me wrong DUDE CAN SPIT WORTH A SHIT, past this album, but for the year and the time this album BANGED. I hated the massacre, and yes there are some terrible songs on here, but theres also a handful of one that can't be fucked with. When reviewing and critiquing hip hop, you have to look for impact, content, originality, cadence and so on and so forth. If you tell me a song is "terrib;e" i want a good fuckin reason as to why, not just your persoanl opinion. Gimmie a lyrical or production break down, use actual terms, if your going to continue to shit on great albums.

  18. trash review

  19. Terrible review again, better than any wu-tang album easily.

  20. Review is trash, this guy needs to get off his own dick. At least he admitted to hating 50 prior though so we know to take this ish with a grain of salt.

    "Many Men" portrays desperation and pain as good as any song I've ever heard.

  21. I just listened to the fucking thing.

    I am absolutely amazed at how much people claim to know "good music" when they hear it.

    That is a stupid rationale for liking horseshit such as this.

    If you're a fan of this kind of piffle, you are most definitely NOT a fan of boom bap. It does not take a brain surgeon to come to this result.

    BTW, Curtis COULD have been a good rapper... If this trash wasn't such a blatant sellout attempt. It succeeded in its endeavor in every way, I'll give it that.

    If someone wants to recognize an art form, recognize what makes it such.

    Rap in hip-hop is about many things. But most of all, it's about painting a picture with LYRICS & MUSIC. This album is one of the WORST examples of BOTH.

    "Many Men" is the only attempt at doing either, and it's STILL not enough to save this crap.

    If you want artists who steadily sold mainstream numbers & STILL kept integrity, look no further than the likes of the Wu-Tang Clan, Heavy D & Naughty By Nature.

  22. Of course we can't forget the mainstream juggernaut that was Cypress Hill.

  23. 50 cent ain't no nas, jay, big l, gza lyricist ok. But this is GOOD music and in my books is a classic and how can you compare 50 to wu tang(my favorite rap group btw) They are TWO completely different artist if you don't fuck wit it I respect that but alot of yall cats rationales is suspect as fuck

  24. Come On dawg u can't hate the rawness that 50 put on "Life's on the line"

  25. Hi Max, your hard work on this blog has inspired me to write my own reviews, which are only intended for my friends to read. I really love the format of track-by-track reviews. My first review is for Get Rich Or Die Tryin' because my friends think 50 Cent is "dope" and I don't. I'd love for you to check it out and see what kind of monster you have created. Keep up the good work Max. Hip Hop Isn't Dead is the best Hip Hop blog on the internet. Fact!