50 Cent is one of the wealthiest men hip hop, and similar to his musical peers Diddy and Dre, the former G-unit rapper has achieved a lot of success outside of the hip hop genre and is enjoying a fruitful career as a producer, filmmaker, and actor, making him a rapper turned media mogul. However, he will forever be known primarily as a legendary rapper.
Born and raised in the South Jamaica neighbourhood of Queens in New York, 50 Cent (real name Curtis Jackson) was discovered by Eminem following the release of his debut mixtape Guess Who’s Back? Shortly after its release, he was signed to Eminem’s Shady Records under Interscope and began work on his debut album.
Executively produced by Dr Dre and with the backing of major label Interscope, the rapper’s 2003 debut album Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ went straight to number one on the Billboard 200, selling 12 million copies worldwide by the end of the year. The album’s lead single, ‘In Da Club’, was certified Gold by the RIAA but went three times platinum in the UK, and this was just the rapper’s debut.
The rapper always managed to stay relevant, mostly due to the fact that he was always wrapped up in a feud. His most infamous feud was with Ja Rule. However, even the likes of Jay-Z spoke on 50 with Hov’s song ‘It’s Hot (Some Like It Hot)’ containing the lyric, “I’m about a dollar what the f*ck is 50 Cents?!”
In spite of the feuds, 50 Cent went on to release five solo studio albums before he transitioned into film and took on other ventures. 50 Cent is a rapper that cemented his place in rap history. However, his albums have always been a bit hit and miss, so in this article, we’re going to be ranking his albums from worst to best.
50 Cent albums ranked from worst to best:
5. Animal Ambition, (2014)
Animal Ambition was the last full-length studio album to be released by 50 Cent. Released on June 3rd, 2014, the album performed fairly well, considering that 50 Cent was not considered a current or relevant artist at its time of release. The album, which some consider more of a mixtape, debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 however, unlike the rapper’s previous projects, it slipped down fairly quickly, dropping to number 15 after one week and then landing at number 23 after two weeks.
Animal Ambition did not receive any certification by the RIAA and was met with mixed reviews. Some critics, like fans, compared the project to a mixtape because it was not thematically cohesive and was cluttered, and some highlighted that Jackson had shown no evolution from the early noughties. The album was a good effort from the rapper. However, the project did not receive any sort of acclaim.
4. Before I Self Destruct, (2009)
Released November 9th, 2009, on Shady Records, Before I Self Destruct is considered by many hip hop heads as the last project of 50 Cent’s winning streak. By happenchance, this is also the same year that Eminem released Relapse on Shady Records, the album hip hop heads called the end of his winning streak.
2009 was a pivotal year in hip hop. It saw a shift from the hard, mafioso, gangster image of the 1990s and 2000s slowly dissipate as kooky characters like Nicki Minaj and soft love-orientated rappers like Drake and Tory Lanez become not only acceptable but popular. Furthermore, it saw a shift in hip hop fashion.
Irrespective of whether or not it was the end of 50 Cent’s winning streak, Before I Self Destruct still performed relatively well, with a few of its singles reaching the charts. The album’s lead single, ‘Baby By Me’ featuring Ne-Yo, debuted at 28 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 17 on the UK Singles Chart, even getting certified silver by the BPI. The album debuted at number five on the Billboard 200 and is certified gold by RIAA.
3. Curtis, (2007)
Infamous for its battle against Kanye West’s Graduation, with both projects released on the same date, fans of 50 Cent are often told that West ended Cent’s career by surpassing his album sales with a sound that, both sonically and aesthetically, completely contrasted 50 Cent’s brand.
With its pink and purple cute teddy bear artwork, it’s electronic production and its overall feel of hedonism and futurism, it is the opposite of Curtis, which boasted a black and white cover, with songs such as ‘I Still Kill’ and ‘My Gun Go Off’ it didn’t give off hedonism. However, it still had hits, such as ‘Ayo Technology’ featuring Justin Timberlake, which debuted at number five. Curtis debuted at number two behind Graduation, but its quality cannot be denied regardless.
2. The Massacre, (2005)
The rapper’s second studio album, this is when 50 Cent was at the height of his career. After having released a groundbreaking debut album only two years prior, fans and the industry alike were on the edge of their seats in anticipation of The Massacre, and it did not disappoint.
With Scott Storch, Dr Dre and Cool & Dre among some of the powerhouse producers featuring on the album, it was destined to go to the top and that it did. The Massacre sold 1.15 million copies in its first four days, debuting at number one on the Billboard 200. Its second single, ‘Candy Shop’, became number one in its fifth week and held that position for the following nine weeks. It also went to number one in the UK Singles Charts.
The Massacre continued 50 Cent’s domination of the charts as his singles all charted high. ‘Disco Inferno’, the album’s lead single, peaked at number three and was certified gold. In February 2020, The Massacre was certified six times platinum and has sold over eleven million copies worldwide.
1. Get Rich Or Die Tryin’, (2003)
Undoubtedly the rapper’s best album, Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ was the kind of debut album everyone dreams of having. One which goes straight to the top and turns heads, and that’s exactly what this 2003 album did.
With Eminem and Dr Dre credited as the album’s executive producers, Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ sold 872,000 copies in its first week and 12 million units worldwide. By the end of 2003, the album had already been certified six times platinum.
The album’s lead single, ‘In Da Club’ has 1.5 Billion views on YouTube and has been streamed 936.6 million times on Spotify alone. It is one of the most well-known hip hop songs of all time. You can listen to Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ below and watch the music video for ‘In Da Club’.