Released: 17th February 2003.
50 Cent has been actively involved in the New York hip-hop scene for a few years now, but when he was dropped by his former record label after being shot, the opportunity of international success looked as if it had passed 50 Cent - aka Curtis Jackson - by. Enter rap superstar Eminem, who took the man under his wing and helped him create the album he always wanted.
The LP opens with a 50-cent-piece-dropping intro, which lasts about five seconds, before moving into solid tracks, "What Up Gangsta" and "Patiently Waiting", featuring Eminem. "Many Men (Wish Death)" is one of the album's biggest highlights, with its deep subject topic and haunting music and chorus - one to look out for. Next up, in a complete change of style, we have the worldwide No. 1, "In Da Club", one of the >phattest rap tracks of 2003, and still sounding brilliant after all that airplay.
The next few tracks, "High All The Time" and "Heat" are good, but there are far stronger songs on here, like "If I Can't" and the new single "P.I.M.P.", with its catchier-than-crabs chorus will have you singing along in no time. Moving along and a couple more tracks will play along unnoticed, and then his hot single "21 Questions", featuring Nate Dogg, will have you humming again. The final listed track, "Gotta Make It To Heaven", is another highlight.
As well as the 16 listed tracks, 50's also thrown in three bonus cuts, including last year's single, "Wanksta". All in all, it is a worthwhile album - one of the strongest, hottest and most essential hip-hop works of this year. For his first commercial release, he should feel proud, as debuts are more often-than-not a "Ghetto Superstar" or a "Venni Vetti Vecci" rather than a "Doggystyle" or an "Illmatic".
Best tracks: "Many Men", "21 Questions"
Worst track: "Like My Style"