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50 Cent new single... do we care?

For previous 'Do We Care' episodes click here. This time we're going international! Makin moves.

Disclaimer: As with all these "Do We Care's" a lot of it is mine and opinions I have gathered both through reading (forums/blogs) and hearing (speaking to people/radio). Not everything may be 100% correct, nor will you agree with everything, but 'tis my blog, I voice my opinions and experiences.

50 Cent, arguably this decades most influential hip hop artist, returns with his new single but we aren't going to listen to that right away. Let's take a trip down memory lane...

I'm not gonna front like I was listening to Fif from How To Rob days, not gonna lie like I even heard How To Rob anywhere near 1999. I sung along to "I'mma bout a dollar what the f*ck is 50 Cent" on 'Some Like It Hot', from Life and Times of Shawn Carter Vol.3 - never understood what he was on about though.

My knowledge of 50 Cent is post Poke and Tone (where are Trackmasters now? They produced bangers), post Columbia, post shooting... it stems back to spring 2002 - before Em/Dre/Aftermath. Days when I listened to Tim Westwood's Friday 9-11, Saturday 9-12 show. He used to play a series of 50 tracks, droppin bombs all over the shop.

Problem Child got played religiously

50s boss swag, clarity and infectious hooks were something I don't remember hearing from "gangsta rappers" at the time (I don't condone shooting people, but we all loved seeing 15/18 certificate films like Terminator 2: Judgement Day before we were 15, no?). In fact, there wasn't a rapper with brazen gun talk back then which sounded more entertaining than offensive/intimidating. Plus, we were fed a diet of Nelly and Ja Rule on heavy rotation and Ruff Ryders had fallen off by then.

As well as gun talk, the hilarious beat-jack's were the one. He was a serial killer of original tracks. Not sure how true it was, but I remember Tim Westwood used to have freestyle sessions over beats and complain how hard it was to get instrumentals. Either him or a guest DJ said labels weren't servicing instro's in fear of 50 getting hold of it and getting more spins.

Not only is the above an example of a comical beat-jack it was probably the first I'd heard crew members Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo a.k.a. G-g-g-g-gee you NET (G-Unit obviously). *Currently cringing as I remember screaming that in school corridors* If that wasn't the first time, it would have been I Need A Girl part 2 with the verse he did on the unauthorised J-Lo song in which he replaced by Nas. Went into Ambitions Az A Rider when Banks and Yayo kicked in. Care not Banks was punchline king, Yayo had bars and character, overall well balanced squad.

*pause 50 Cent story* Let's take a minute to remember the peak of Banks rapping career (Victory freestyle). If he never stepped up to the plate he could easily have been outshined by Fif's set up for the alley-oop (basketball)/ Cruyff-turn, nutmeg then cross when you put your right foot around your left foot to kick the ball (you football/soccer heads know what I'm talking about).

One of the best (non-literal) freestyles ever! The multi's and punches were out of this world

Back to Fifty, Guess Who's Back mixtape is still legendary. Killa Tape Intro, Rotten Apple, 50 Bars of Pleasure, Ghetto Qu'ran (never knew he was "dry snitchin" back then) etc. still get wheel'd. 50 Cent Is The Future is another classic tape.

By this time I'd read on about the shooting. Imagine, them times they had less than 20 news stories on him.

Oh yeah, just remembered another song which had me annoying my friends about 50 Cent

50 killed that! It may be wrong to compare but he outshone Biggie, which judging by Biggie Duets isn't a easy feat. I'd only heard the above version with Em a couple of times. I'm sure the Em version was a separate freestyle the uploader blended.

Anyway, the talk of Em and Dre being interested was about now. By time I'd heard this next one on the radio, I personally didn't hear he had been signed, so I can't say for sure he was.

My goodness what a tune!!! By the end of the 2nd chorus the melody was in my head meaning I was able to mumble the words and hum along. I'm not 100%, but this could have been before-Shady/Aftermath, then included on 8 Mile soundtrack after they saw the heatwave it caused. I remember showing my classmates the video for this on, projector onto big interactive white board screen at the end of afternoon registration. 1st time most (like 98%) had heard of him, whole class was hooked.

LOL @ the boys who came back to school within the next few weeks with CD-Rs full of 50 to style on me. Them times I never had cable internet (DSL? T1?) nor cd re-write drive, straight 56k + TDK90 (legendary piece of equipment) from radio out 'ere.

If all that hype wasn't enough, the beginning stages of erasing Ja Rule sealed the deal. My timeline could be slightly off here; not sure if this was the first I'd heard.

It was either that or

Don't get it twisted, I always rated Ja Rule and the Murder Inc movement, but you know how it is, especially as a youth, I was fully supporting the underdog/my new favourite rapper. Back Down was a classic diss record.

Fast forward to the first single, after the $1million advance, In Da Club. We all know the song and vid, no need to post. I'm gonna put this out there; I never rated it when I first heard it. I dunno, maybe it wasn't 50 to me. Grew on me big time.

I remember hearing Get Rich Or Die Tryin' for the first time on a friends CD Walkman in school (I had to). The penny/shell dropped, lead into What Up Gangsta. One of the most memorable moments of hip-hop this decade. Wheel'd instantly! Played again... wheel'd! Repeated that about 4 times 'til I realised I had to move on. Patiently Waiting, bass kicks in after intro = wheel'd. Forced myself to get a grip else I wouldn't listen to it by the end of the day. Em totally disfigured the track. Track finished, piano keys with 50 talking to a friend, gunshots ring out, bass drum repeats, "Many Men" Fif sings, "Wish death upon me. Blood in my eyes dog and I can't see. I'm tryna be what I'm destined to be, and n*g*z tryna take my life away!" Can't. Hold. Out. Any. Longer. WHEEEEEEEEEEEL!!! Ragga bassline, hip-hop drums, haunting keys, instrospective slash vulnerable side of the tough guy = absolute win. To this day I feel this is the most pivotal song on the album.

We know what the album did sales-wise, impact on hip hop, 50s money etc. G-Unit album was ok, Buck had been added, Banks released an album, Yayo went in-and-out of jail...

Next big moment in 50's career in my opinion was The Game. The dude who had on red in Lloyd Banks' first video. I realised at a later date that he was in either Wanna Get To Know You or Ride With You by G-Unit & Joe video. Didn't like when I first heard him on some G-Unit freestyle where he rapped double-time (fast). Enough of The Game (his time will come), 50 helped him with the singles, they fell out, shoot out, then dropped him. At the point of The Game's (recently dropped 'The') Documentary hype, G-Unit were the strongest crew this decade. Once again, care not what you say, as a collective nobody was touching them.

Remember everyone hated on Candy Shop when it dropped? Bear that in mind, I will bring it up again.

Moving on, The Massacre was released, those who originally embraced him (the streets) panned it. Whether it was due to the whole situation with The Game + Candy Shop + Piggy Bank (dissin Jada, Nas and Fat Joe) or people generally never liked it, that seemed to be the general feeling. I feel it's more the former. Just as New York was on its way back (Fat Joe touched #1 with Lean Back, Ja Rule - New York was an anthem, 'Kiss was making heat with second album...) he shut New York down with one song. Ousting The Game created the underdog against Fif - people love the underdog. Commercial world still lapped it up. Bar a few dead periods, I thought it was a good album. Still think it's underrated.

Next phase, G-Unot campaign is kickin' off big time, The Inc + Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff trial = 50's a snitch, Stop Snitchin campaign all combined = streets is hatin the kid Fif. By this time Fif is living happily in his 13-bedroom mansion in Conneticut singing "I run New York" lol. Released a game and film...

Then we get to the whole "Cuuuurrrrrrrrrtttttttiiiiiiiiisssssssssssssss" incident!!! I'm sure I listened to this live. Can't even remember how or why, sure it must have been some dodgy stream. Anyway, no two-ways about it, this could have ended Curtis had two things not happen;

1. Tru Life "allegedly" punching Camron, then Cam fleeing
2. 50 Cent exploiting the troubles/split in Dipset.

50 Cent bringing out Jim Jones on Rap City has to be another memorable moment in 2000-2010 hip hop (will try to find the video). Before I Self Destruct was renamed Curtis, Cam'ron disappeared for at least 2 years, Jim Jones and Juelz did their thing, story done.

2 dud singles (Amusement Park + Money In The Bank), and a pushed back album later, we get I Get Money + Ayo Technology. To this day I hate Ayo Tech, no denying I Get Money is a banger. Battled KanYe in first week album sales and lost. Was debatable whether KanYe was more popular, no doubting he was on the rise with Fif declining. KanYe threw a curve ball IMO (in my opinion); Stronger was an all out pop record that catered to a wider demographic than Ayo Tech sonically. JT and Timbo collab, yes, but still an "urban" record IMO. End of the day, Fif finally lost. The album Curtis was rubbish. Listened to it once and vowed to never hear it again.

Now we arrive in 2009 where Fifty was embroiled in yet another beef, this time he wasn't the perpatrator, no, no, it was recently exposed-finally-admitted-it-even-though-we-all-knew Officer Ricky tryna make a name for himself. 50 took beef to another dimension with the babymomma shopping trip + hilarious commentary on Ricky's other baby mother's adult movie + comical Pimpin' Curly sketches + the Officer Ricky cartoons. Ricky managed to hold on to the ledge of the game through releasing exquisitely produced bangers, and put up good numbers on his album. Had the power of the 50 diss, diss-appeared (like what I did there?)?

Once again, 2 dud street records and 3 (?) album delays later, Curtis finally has a single which is ringing off. Baby By Me, which samples a line from the last streets-acclaimed hit record I Get Money, features NeYo

This must be the first time the Yanks have seen Kelly Rowland in a while, no? She failed ever since she left Destiny's Child over there. Back to Fifty, he was cussed for Candy Shop, yet people like this? Wow! Early reviews of the album have been good. I won't hold my breath. I'm still a fan of 50; as well as being business savvy, I still don't think there is an artist whose interviews I anticipate more than 50. I just don't like this song.


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