50 Cent - Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ - Review
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critics' view

Get Rich Or Die Trying is boldly tipped to be a hip-hop classic. This 26 year old New Yorker 50 Cent aka Curtis Jackson, the biggest new hip-hop star of 2003, a ghetto celebrity, ex-crack dealer who turned to hip-hop as a way out of a gangstas fate: prison or death. He sold 2.1 million copies of his dark debut album in the first three weeks of its release (on Eminem's label) and he is already being compared to posthumous legends Tupac and the Notorious BIG.

The single "In Da Club" a spectacular party anthem produced by Dr Dre,highlights 50 Cent's ability to twist his words effortlessly. "Lifes on the Line" and "Many Men (Wish Death)" delve into the ghetto morality where life is a cheap commodity and the rule of law is drugs, gangs, guns and ultimately death. 50 Cent was famously shot 9 times and as he muses without irony, "death has to be easy as life is hard."

The surprise on the album is "21 Questions" which shows that even a gangsta has a heart. The need for emotional support results in the repetitive question "would you love me if I was down and out?" In an environment where ones fortunes could be anything from working in a burger joint, prison or worse - the need for a woman who is there is a "blessin"

Get Rich or Die Tryin is the antithesis to the pop looped chart friendly sound of mainstream hip hop and offers listeners a fresh innovative approach. This album defines the urban black experience in 2003 in the same way that Curtis Mayfield's "We People who are darker than Blue" did in the 1970s.

Joy Dunbar
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The BBC's album reviews ended in 2013, although the pages are archived for retrospective reading.
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