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Mini-DVD Review: 50 Cent - "Get Rich or Die Tryin: The Movie"
Posted by O. R. Polk, Jr. on Feb 6, 2003, 19:32

Who’s the hottest, most sought after rapper out right now? Jay-Z? DMX? Ja Rule? Nope. The answer is 50 Cent.



Though he’s toiled in relative obscurity for years now, finally the mainstream is buzzing and everyone wants a piece of Jamaica, Queen’s realest son, 50 Cent. His album, Get Rich or Die Tryin’, released on February 6, 2003 contained a companion piece, a DVD called “Get Rich or Die Tryin’: the Movie” a documentary where 50 himself gets to tell the viewer about all of his trials and tribulations not just as an artist but as a person. Fall back.

The disc opens with 50’s freestyle over Eminem’s “Til I Collapse” beat over sepia-toned footage of various concerts and music videos. “Now don’t think I won’t hit you cuz I’m popular/I got a P90 Ruger to pop at ya,” he raps.

From there we get clips of various industry people vouching for 50 Cent’s skills. Members of D12, Kid Capri and even the late Jam Master Jay share their glowing remarks. Finally, we get to 50 Cent himself, sitting on his grandmother’s stoop. While it looks like a nice residential area, 50 assures us that it’s only a block away from the projects and that you may not believe a lot goes down here, but it does. 50 introduces us to his grandmother (whom he “loves to death” and calls “mom”) and shows us the black C240 4-door Mercedes Benz he purchased for her. “She got 9 kids that ain’t never done shit for her,” so 50 says he felt good buying her something nice and she’s very happy with it. We then meet 50’s grandfather, whom he describes as “unpredictable.” The two tell a story about a night the police came to their home looking to question 50 but his grandfather told them off.

50 talks about how his mother used to sell drugs and how that enabled his transition to be smoother when he decided to follow in her footsteps. The drug dealers around his way already knew him and his mother so they knew he’d grown up around it and would keep his mouth shut. 50 mentions that his mother passed away when he was eight, but he neglects to say that she was murdered, which unfortunately, was the case. After that, he moved in with his grandparents. He goes on, recounting stories of his crack selling days and his short trips back and forth to jail.

After one short stay, a friend introduced him to Jam Master Jay. He says at the time he didn’t even know how to structure a song. He knew nothing about counting bars and such. At this point, 50 stops the interview for a second. He sees the police driving by. “I gotta go in the house real quick cuz I got pistols on me.” He comes back after the police roll through and continues: JMJ toured a lot so 50 looked elsewhere for a means to get into the industry. He met with Columbia president, Corey Mooney and got a $65,000 advance, which to him, was a lot. What 50 doesn’t mention is how out of that $65,000, he only got $5000. A whopping $50,000 went to Jam Master Jay and $10,000 went to attorneys. 50 took the remaining money and bought crack to sell.

50 feels that Columbia didn’t understand how to market a hip-hop artist. After he got shot, he spent 13 days in intensive care. After being released, he called Columbia, ready to go back to work. When they didn’t have the answers for him that he was looking for, 50 said it was worse than being shot. Bullet wounds heal, but hearing that you’re out of work isn’t so easy to get over.

50 glosses over a lot in this particular part of the interview. I shouldn’t even say gloss over, because he flat out doesn’t mention some things. While signed to Columbia, 50 worked with the producers The Trackmasters. Together, they put together an album called “Power of the Dollar.” Most reviewers that got a chance to hear the album considered it classic and groundbreaking. The first single from “Power” was a song called “How to Rob an Industry Nigga” in which 50 humorously details mugging other rappers and relieving them of their material possessions. Apparently, the hip-hop world doesn’t have a sense of humor. Jay-Z, Big Pun, Sticky Fingaz of Onyx and Ghostface Killah all replied in some form or fashion and 50 Cent was more or less blackballed by the industry. After his shooting (which some suspect was because of the song, but 50 says it was things related to his drug dealing days), Columbia recalled the album and released him from the label. This was a major turning point in 50’s career.

1. “How To Rob”, because of all the beef it caused, generated a substantial buzz. Plus it was a good and funny song. It was also the first chance the world got to hear 50 Cent.

2. 50 Cent got shot. Nine times. One of those 9mm bullets went into his face and lodged itself into his gumline and took out a tooth with it. 50 now sports a dimple-sized scar on the left side of his face because of it. But that shot also forced 50’s delivery to change and inadvertently caused that closed-mouth cadence everyone is bumping to right now. Three…

After all of his problems, 50 was rather disenchanted with the music industry. So he hit the studio with his friend, Sha Money XL and started recording song after song, intended solely for the mixtape circuit to build a buzz again on his own. He released “Guess Who’s Back?” independently in 2001 and his value was once again on the rise. The streets embraced songs like “U Not Like Me.” (which is included on the new album as a bonus track) But I’m getting ahead of myself…

50 Cent takes us outside and takes us through what happened the day he was shot right in front of his grandmother’s house while he sat in a car. He says he tried to shoot back, but he got shot in the hand. He probably wouldn’t have been shot so many times but the driver was stunned and didn’t pull away immediately. 50 shows us a fragment of the bullet that went into his face that he keeps as a souvenir. He then shows us two more scars on his hands and two more on his arm. He says lucky for him that the guy was a professional “leg shooter” (he got hit a lot in the legs) because if the guy was a real gangsta, he’da been up outta here.

After releasing “Guess Who’s Back?” (which 50 doesn’t mention during this interview), he released another mixtape independently called “50 Cent is the Future.” (50 released three more G-Unit mixtapes later) On “Future”, 50 rapped over familiar beats and re-did songs ala “Weird” Al Yankovic. “Luv U Better” by LL Cool J became “After My Chedda” and so forth. “I’m gonna do your record over. I’m gonna do it better than you.” It was these two moves (Guess Who’s Back and 50 Cent is the Future) that changed the course of 50’s career. Eminem got a hold of both tapes and liked them immensely, even going on the air during a radio interview and calling 50 Cent his favorite rapper. 50 then got a call from his attorney telling him that Eminem wanted to meet with him, but having had so many previous disappointments, 50 didn’t get excited. But the two met first and then later with Dr. Dre and a deal was brokered. 50 seems to have the ultimate respect for both Eminem and Dr. Dre and feels very secure in their employ. “I got the two biggest bodyguards in the world working for me down at Interscope. Dr. Dre and Eminem.” When the guys who signed you put up numbers like 8 million and 16 million, respectively, I’d think I was in safe hands, too.

His working relationship seems solid with both. If Dre thinks 50 shouldn't do something, 50 scraps it, he says. He gets along with Eminem because they have the same approach to music although Em gets at a different audience, like the Christina Aguilera's and the Moby's. 50 says if you say something about Eminem, lyrically he's gonna tear you apart and you can't escape it because it'll be on the radio all day everyday.

50 talks briefly about being taken off of the remix for Jennifer Lopez’s “I’m Gonna Be Alright” (Remix) with Nas but he blames the whole situation on Irv Gotti of Murder Inc. “That was that fat ass nigga Irv that did that shit…calling around. He’s a bitch.” The beef with Murder Inc. and Ja Rule could be a whole article by itself and even resulted in 50 being stabbed (a wound 50 says only took 3 stitches to close and that his baby’s mother has hurt him worse). This is another subject that doesn’t get a lot of mentions but 50 does say this: “If they don’t start puttin’ out some real music, I’ma put’em outta business,” 50 declares. The bubblegum era and dancing around in videos with Mary J. Blige in the rain is over.

The disc closes by introducing us to the various members of G-Unit (rappers Lloyd Banks & Tony Ya-Yo and producer Sha Money XL) and their plans for the future. All in all, an enjoyable look at the career thus far of 50 Cent. There are some candid moments of 50 being a clown backstage at concerts (and believe me, he IS a clown), and at various photo shoots for magazines and his own album and studio sessions, including one for "Back Down". For example, during the closing credits, 50 and his crew are walking down a dark street in Puerto Rico after a concert. Sha Money, saying that the country has no Army or Navy surplus store to buy anything from, produces a butter knife to protect himself should anything go down. 50 looks at it and laughs. “What’choo gon do? Put butter on a nigga and slide him down the block?”

Pick up the new album and watch the DVD yourself for the whole story and help 50 “Get Rich” or die tryin’.


Browse my DVD Collection or my archives and drop me a line for review suggestions.



 

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