Born and raised in the South Jamaica neighbourhood of Queens in New York, 50 Cent (real name Curtis Jackson) was discovered by Eminem following 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, Get Rich Or Die Tryin’, which is widely considered a legendary record.
50 Cent not only had a notorious rapper career but was pretty much untouchable for the majority of the early 2000s. Along with the likes of Kanye West and Jay-Z, 50 Cent was breaking records and became a mainstay on radio upon the release of his debut album.
50 Cent has released an unfathomable amount of music since he first broke into the mainstream around 2002, and some of his tracks have gone under the radar, especially those released after his so-called ‘loss’ to Kanye West with his 2007 album. In the late noughties and the early 2010s, mixtapes had transitioned onto the internet, and for US hip-hop, mixtapes lived on DatPiff.
The early 2010s saw DatPiff in the US and MixtapeMadness in the UK become hubs for new independent music. However, as a new decade came into being, many artists turned a new page creatively, and an influx of discarded 2000s music was dumped onto the internet through platforms such as Facebook, DatPiff, MixtapeMadness and Mediafire. UK rapper Wiley was releasing zip files full of old unreleased music, and artists such as 50 Cent were releasing mixtapes and freestyle compilations. 50 Cent’s ‘Happy New Year’ was born in this era.
50 Cent is a versatile rapper and has always known how to rap about more than one subject, from hardcore, gangster party records like ‘In Da Club’ to smooth, electronic R’n’B jams like ‘Ayo Technology,’ Jackson knows how to switch up styles. However, he also knows how to switch up seasons and in 2011 came with something completely unexpected.
Released through his Facebook and put up on his website for free download, 50 Cent’s ‘Happy New Year’ is a New Year staple for a lot of hip-hop heads and will still get played in clubs when a new year arrives. In 2011, 50 Cent released a series of freestyles, most of which were unreleased tracks. Some were covers, for example, his ‘Like a G6’ remix, but for the most part, they were original tracks that never made the cut.
Produced by DJ Konteh, ‘Happy New Year’ is the ultimate feel-good track to usher hip-hop fans into the new year and is most definitely worth a listen. You can listen to the track in the video below.