Damn homie, in high school you was the man homie. Fuck happened to you?
Who would have thought 50 Cent’s own line on ‘Wanksta’ would come back to bite him in the ass 10 years later?
For real though, I have been wondering this for the past week or so. 50 Cent really did experience one of the biggest falls from grace I have seen in rap music.
When I was 13 I remember when 50 came on the scene with ‘In Da Club’ and from the get-go he became the biggest rapper in the world. His debut album ‘Get Rich of Die Tryin’ sold 800,000+ copies in its first week in America, reached Number 2 in the UK albums chart and by the end of 2003 it had sold over 12 million copies, 9 of which were sold in America alone!
50 wasn’t alone in his quest for rap domination as we saw when his second album ‘The Massacre’ came out in 2005. He brought along his crew known as ‘G-Unit’ which comprised of Olivia, Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo, Young Buck and of course The Game. After the success of ‘Candy Shop’ which features Olivia, G-Unit began releasing their own music with tracks like ‘Wanna Get To Know Ya’ ft Joe and ‘Stunt 101’.
It didn’t stop there however, each artist within G-Unit began releasing their own solo material with Lloyd Banks dropping ‘On Fire’, The Game releasing ‘How We Do’, Tony Yayo dropping ‘So Seductive’ and the only female RnB vocalist in the group Olivia releasing ‘Twist It’. And who had a hand in all these songs alongside them? 50 Cent of course!
Now do you understand the juggernaut that was 50 cent back in the early to mid 2000s? He dominated all areas of HipHop either by himself or with G-Unit and their impact and music was inescapable. Hell, they even had a clothing line! And what made 50 Cent’s success even more monumental was that he took down Murder Inc who came before him. Ja Rule, Ashanti, Irv Gotti et al all have 50 Cent to blame for beginning of the end of their careers.
Fast forward to 2014 and you really have to wonder how the hell did 50 Cent fall so far down after having everything and being at the top for so long?!
I have my theories.
50 Cent didn’t predict that HipHop would evolve to the state it is in today. Ask yourself this, 10 years ago when 50 Cent was at the top of his game did you think that a light skinned actor from Canada would become the world’s biggest and most prolific rapper? Nope, neither did I.
Music is like fashion, it goes throughout trends and just like before 50 Cent and G-Unit there was Murder Inc after 50 Cent and G-Unit came Lil Wayne and Young Money. Notice how this is exactly the same thing that happened with Pharrell when he was at the top of his game? Suddenly Timbaland and Danja came along and took his audience and then EDM came along and took theirs. Us consumers of music are a fickle and un-loyal bunch of people I tell you!
It wasn’t only that the public began to lose interest in 50 Cent as a rapper but also what he was rapping about became redundant. 50 Cent and G-Unit are essentially Gangsta Rap, they rap about clips and nines, hoes and bitches and getting shot nine times. Thats all well and good and worked brilliantly when 50 Cent first came on the scene because he lived that life and he experienced that struggle. But after his first album, he got rich and started living a much more affluent life yet was still rapping about living on the streets. Eh?!
There was a disconnect between 50 Cent’s lyrical content and his fans who knew that he wasn’t ‘about that life’ anymore and it came across as contrived but 50 doesn’t know anything else to rap about but the streets whether he lived in them or not.
Also with the emergence of Lil Wayne and Young Money focus shifted less on gangsta rap being the main style of rap to grab the consumer’s ear but instead it was all about punch line rap. You know what I’m talking about. Lil Wayne’s ridiculous play on words with lines like ‘That Pussy in my mouth had me lost for words’ or ‘Bitch, Real G’s move in silence like Lasagne’ became the new hot trend.
Not only was 50’s brand of HipHop becoming dated in a growing Young Money era but he started causing silly feuds with anyone and everyone. From his own friend The Game to an unphased Kanye West. Remember when 50 vowed to retire from music if his third album ‘Curtis’ sold less than Kanye West’s ‘Graduation’? Well, Kanye won the battle but still today 50 is throwing shots at Kanye who seems to not even give a shit.
On top of all that, a recent interview with The Breakfast Club revealed that 50 isn’t even on talking terms with anyone else from G-unit. Not only is he starting fights with other rappers but even the ones in his own team he can’t seem to keep the peace with. 50 Cent is burning every single one of his bridges to the point that no one wants to be associated with him. What a mess!
Personally, the biggest cause of 50 Cent’s downfall isn’t that HipHop has changed or his habit of starting fights with anyone and everyone its the simple case of his music being completely shit. In my eyes the last ‘good’ song 50 Cent released was ‘Ayo Technology’ which attempted to ride the wave of Timbaland’s success in 2007 but anything after that has been mediocre at best.
Its crazy to think the guy who brought us ‘In Da Club’ and ‘Candy Shop’ is releasing garbage like ‘My Life’ with Eminem and Adam Levine. Like dude, WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED?!?!?! It clear to me that its a case that once 50 got rich he stopped trying musically and everything he has done after ‘The Massacre’ has gotten progressively worse with time.
I wish I had some sort of advice to offer 50 Cent which could potentially put his career back on track but HipHop has moved on so far without 50 Cent that you have to ask yourself if HipHop even needs him anymore? He’s become a laughing stock amongst other rappers who use his own line ‘Damn Homie, In high School you was the man homie. Fuck Happened to you?’ as a sly dig at the former G-Unit frontman.
I’ll always enjoy 50 Cent’s first two albums, they are classics in my eyes and were the soundtrack to my teenage years growing up. But whether there is a place for him in this era of HipHop where the likes of Rick Ross and Drake are top dog I’m not so sure. It could be a case of 50 Cent being an rapper who will be remembered as an artist who was only relevant during a certain era of music, similar to what Brandy is with RnB. He may not have the versatility to appeal to the HipHop lovers of today but when Gangsta Rap made its revival in the early 00’s everyone will remember 50 Cent was at the fore front of it all and for a few years he was the man that ran the show and no one can ever take that away from him.