How 50 Cent’s “Get Rich Or Die Tryin” Defined An Era Of Hip Hop

50 Cent’s debut album was a monumental moment in history. Here is how Get Rich Or Die Trying defined an era of hip hop.

BYWyatt Westlake
How 50 Cent’s “Get Rich Or Die Tryin” Defined An Era Of Hip Hop

This year marks the 20th anniversary of 50 Cent’s landmark debut album, Get Rich Or Die Tryin. Released on February 6, 2003, Get Rich Or Die Tryin is considered among the greatest hip-hop albums of all time. To celebrate the album’s anniversary, 50 has announced his massive “Final Lap” world tour with Busta Rhymes and Jeremih opening. He will headline amphitheaters and arenas across North America and Europe. 

Get Rich Or Die Tryin is a classic album full of legendary songs that withstood the test of time. Here is a breakdown of how 50 Cent’s debut album Get Rich Or Die Tryin defined an era. 

A Groundbreaking Debut

The story leading up to Get Rich Or Die Tryin and how it propelled 50 Cent to the top of the rap game is quite remarkable. In 2000, a gunman shot 50 Cent nine times, although he miraculously survived. Following his near-death experience, he got dropped ahead of his debut album by Columbia Records, the label he signed to in 1999. He shares a first-hand account of the attempt on his life on the iconic “Many Men (Wish Death)." After the shooting, 50 Cent regained his buzz by releasing a series of mixtapes with his G-Unit crew. These now-classic mixtapes, specifically Guess Who’s Back? and 50 Cent is the Future, helped 50 rebuild his reputation. They landed him a deal with Eminem and Dr. Dre

50 Cent’s success story is so unbelievable that it made for a movie, also titled Get Rich Or Die Tryin, released in 2005. He also helped pioneer the trend of releasing a mixtape before the major label album -- a blueprint that many rappers utilize to this day. 

A Stacked Tracklist

Get Rich Or Die Tryin was released under Shady Records, Aftermath Entertainment, Interscope, and 50’s own G-Unit Records. It was 50 Cent’s earth-shattering debut and remains one of the biggest debut albums in hip hop. Major cosigns from Dr. Dre and Eminem immediately launched 50 Cent into success. The album was full of hits, ranging from street anthems like “If I Can’t” and “What Up Gangsta” to softer love songs like “21 Questions.” It featured moments of pain like “Many Men” and the hardcore “Heat.” The inclusion of the Ja Rule diss record “Wanksta” as a bonus track, as well as the ruthless “Back Down” showed 50 Cent's fearlessness. It is impossible to discuss Get Rich Or Die Tryin without mentioning “In Da Club,” an irresistible classic and one of Dr. Dre’s best beats.  

The Emergence Of A Rap Superstar

On “In Da Club,” 50 Cent raps about putting “the rap game in a chokehold,” and he did just that with the Get Rich Or Die Tryin. He took hip-hop to new heights because he became a superstar with his debut. His unfaltering authenticity fueled the gritty street raps but his commercial records, like the aforementioned "In Da Club," turned him into a household name. Around the same time, he declared victory in his beef with Ja Rule. 50 Cent forceful entrance into the music industry reinvigorated the New York sound and carried the evolution of gangsta rap into the mid-aughts. More importantly, Get Rich Or Die Tryin became the launching pad for 50 Cent's entrepreneurial ventures, as he built G-Unit as a group and expanded the brand into a label, clothing company, and film company.

Get Rich Or Die Tryin's Legacy

Get Rich Or Die Tryin is undoubtedly 50 Cent’s best work and is often regarded as such. Consisting of 50’s biggest hits, it marked a point in hip-hop history that further elevated street raps towards mainstream success. 50’s tough persona was not one-dimensional as showcased his vulnerability, sense of humor, and charisma. With the announcement of the album’s anniversary tour, it's safe to say that Get Rich Or Die Tryin defined an era of hip hop.

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