May 24, 2000
BREAKING NEWS: “How To Rob” rapper, 50 Cent was shot and killed outside of his grandmother’s home on 161st St in Jamaica, Queens, NY. The 24 year old rapper was sitting in a parked car when a gunman pulled up and opened fire around 11:22am. The young upstart was scheduled to shoot a music video for his Destiny’s Child-assisted single “Thug Love” in just 3 days. He was pronounced dead on arrival…
The mixtape, as we know it, may not have been standardized…50 Cent & G-Unit revolutionized the mixtape game in the early 2000’s. Popularizing the formula created by Philly‘s Major Figgas, 50 & The Unit’s mixtapes were a mix of freestyles on “industry” beats, original music & “remixes” of song’s that include a redone, re-written or rearranged hook. 50 basically made songs from songs, instead of spitting 100 bars on them, as rappers did at the time. Lil Wayne would go on to adopt some of this style for his “The Suffix” mixtape hosted by DJ Khaled, and the rest is history…but what if it wasn’t?
Who could stop Ja?…50 Cent. 50 made it a point to make Rule his arch-nemesis, subsequently making his “come up” Rule’s downfall. Also, Ja on his way down gave us some bangers like “Clap Back” and the Fat Joe, Jadakiss featured “New York“…would Rule have fallen off of natural causes? How would a longer Ja Rule reign have affected newcomers who occupied the “crooner’s” space, like Drake?
New York City
Some say 50 Cent caused the destruction of New York City as rap’s premier powerhouse… Whether that is true or not, he certainly didn’t help anyone but himself and The Unit. He went at Nas, Diddy, Fat Joe, Jay Z, Jadakiss & Ja Rule as they were all still relevant and doing numbers. Simultaneously, the South’s reign was closing in on the East Coast. 50 had some elements of his style that were VERY southern, which helped him flourish in the South and West Coast. Other artists on the come-up from NY would never see the light of day because of this shift that 50 helped further, even expedite… Would NY still be relevant?
What if G-Unit was never a thing?…Mixtape legend, Lloyd Banks was a jewel for NY lyricists, at a crucial time. His elevation bought traditional East Coast rappers a bit more time, industry and underground. Young Buck, in the mid-2000’s was in strong contention for “King Of The South”. We certainly may not have gotten West Coast legend, The Game, especially not in that capacity. The Game was on the verge of getting dropped from Aftermath, when 50 breathed new life into his career… No “Hate It Or Love It“, no “How We Do”? Sheesh…
Eminem & Dr. Dre
Em and Dre’s crown jewel in business could have been Obie Trice… Prior to 50, Em and Dre were looking for the next big thing. 50 was already ablaze in the underground. We knew he was next. Eminem’s co-sign, with Dre being Em’s co-sign, worked out for everyone. Eminem got a 2nd leg in his career, riding the back of 50’s explosive energy. Dr. Dre got to come in last minute and claim 50 Cent as part of his legacy, elevating him further, to ultimate Hip-Hop status. The 3 damn near looked like a group at one point, publicly… Also, you couldn’t mention Shady without Aftermath, and G-Unit without either. Inseparable.
Rick Ross pulled out the win… Rick Ross was a successful Miami-born rapper, frontlining the ushering in of the “trap-era”, before the 50 beef. During this feud, we saw Ross reach new heights lyrically, and sonically. 50 Cent brought something out of Rozay, that he has yet to stuff back inside himself. His ferociousness, level of bravado, delivery and approach have never been the same. Not to mention, being declared the winner in the battle, according to General consensus, after fighting Trick Daddy and “C.O” allegations in the same time-frame gave Ross a new confidence. This was on the fullest of displays on “BMF“, originally from the ‘Albert Anastasia EP’ featuring fellow G-UNIT foe, Styles P. That song, along with the Gucci Mane featured “MC Hammer” (also from AAEP), would spearhead the campaign for Ross’ new sound while making way for the classic ‘Teflon Don‘ album by Rick Ross… Can you imagine Rick Ross without “Mafia Music”?
The Business of Hip-Hop
The 50 Cent brand is top 5 in Hip-Hop history… Apparently, it was Jay Z’s idea for 50 to have his own Reebok shoe through a deal they were already doing, according to Commissioner Steve Stoute. From that point, 50 hasn’t looked back. He’s hit the big screen a few times, including his 2005 semi-biopic, Get Rich Or Die Tryin’. He has filmed and starred in countless “B-Movies”, taking his relentless mixtape approach to film. Liquor brand deals, vitamin water, men’s underwear, you name it! Most notably, Power, the drama-series that launched Starz! network to new heights, has allowed him to parlay that momentum into ABC’s For Life. Most importantly, blazing the trail for rapper’s to come. 50’s new series-to-come, potentially his biggest, is based on the real-life story of none other than Big Meech & BMF… Wow.Maybe we have to rethink this “Rick Ross won” narrative.