50 Cent
2003 Man of the Year

50-2.jpgFour years and six months ago, music history was made. Over seven days in February 2003, the man born Curtis Jackson III sold 872,000 copies of his inaugural set, Get Rich or Die Tryin’—the biggest debut week for a debut album ever. Not bad for a former crack slinger who had been dropped, three years earlier, from Columbia Records after surviving a nine-shot fusillade outside his grandmother’s crib in South Jamaica, Queens.

He came at the music industry with a strategy worthy of a G8 summit. Backed by his G-Unit crew and a seemingly endless supply of raw, catchy mixtape cuts, 50 pimped the controversy that surrounded him and landed an elusive million-dollar deal with Shady Records/Aftermath Entertainment. Led by the irresistible bounce of “In Da Club,” Get Rich premiered at No. 1, on its way to sending seven singles into national radio rotation and a grand total of over seven million albums sold. (The magazine you’re holding in your hands, though, rated the album an XL when it came out—a notch below the “classic” status denoted by an XXL. There were subsequent discussions.)

He’s pretty much dominated the rap game since. Today, 50 takes a step back and reflects on his record-setting rookie year.

What was 2003 like for you?
It was definitely the biggest point for me. Like, the most energy around me. I remember being on the tour bus and reflecting on the situation myself and saying, Damn, I ain’t never going to feel like this again. I was smart enough to feel that way, ’cause it ain’t never been the same.

What was the transition like going from mixtape rapper to international superstar?
It was almost a natural progression. From the mixtape circuit, the interest I was generating, the consistency I developed, is missing from a lot of the new artists now. After me coming from the mixtape circuit, I feel like it’s been like a traffic jam. It’s been so many artists trying to utilize the same blueprint and footsteps that I came in. It’s so common that people don’t even listen to an artist’s full mixtape anymore. You know, you got to develop in different ways.

How long was the recording process for Get Rich or Die Tryin’?
Well, I worked on that in pieces, that album. I was steady putting material out on the street, and I kept the pieces I felt like were supposed to stay on the album.

Were you comfortable with all the records?
I threw “Wanksta” away. “Wanksta” came out on No Mercy No Fear [the mixtape], and it just connected. And with the radio, they started playing it on mixshows, and then it just started spinning. Paul [Rosenberg, the owner of Shady Records] and them wanted to actually stop “Wanksta” from playing and replace it with “Places to Go.”

——- Read the rest of our 50 Cent feature in XXL’s September 2007 issue (#95)

XXL Staff Picks

Songs of the Year:

“In Da Club,” 50 Cent
“Get Low,” Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz
“Right Thurr,” Chingy
“Magic Stick,” Lil’ Kim featuring 50 Cent
“P.I.M.P.,” 50 Cent
“Beautiful,” Snoop Dogg featuring Pharrell
“Never Scared,” Bone Crusher featuring Killer Mike & T.I.
“Like a Pimp,” David Banner
“Damn,” Youngbloodz
“Pump It Up,” Joe Budden

Albums of the Year:

Get Rich or Die Tryin’, 50 Cent
Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, OutKast
Chicken-N-Beer, Ludacris
Beg for Mercy, G-Unit
The Black Album, Jay-Z

  • Ganzz

    Fuck 2003, 50 is the man of the 21st century on the hip hop front…
    Consistency, relevancy, sales numbers & $$ don’t lie…

  • Rockcity

    Yea this was a good year in hip hop, 50 was untouchable, then the black album came out, this is when people really started payin attention to the south to.

  • diddy baby

    1stttttttttttttt
    def. man of 2003

  • FIRST

    JUST WANTED TO BE FIRST…NO ARGUMENT ON 2003 MOTY….GRODT IS A CLASSIC ALBUM

  • grapes

    Chicken-N-Beer WAS GARBAGE. I expected much more. I don’t know why.

  • http://www.soundclick/sdubb SDUB-google-me

    People don’t like 50 cause he surrounded by controversey, but honestly you got to take ya hat off to this man. Business smart black man that went from ashy to classy, so what he disses everyone atleast he’s not backing down. I think as a hiphop artist/fan his music is suffering. To many new hippop songs. Get back to the aggressive content remember that’s what got you here. “I Get Money” is hot and that’s the recipe for success.
    I salute you 50, and you heard it here first. When all else fails 50 will diss EM and Dre once this album flops. That’s the most buzz he could possible start by going at EM. But this statment got the ball rolling “F*ck Jimmy Ivoine. Get ready Slim better get them 50 diss songs started early. Yall knew you had a problem on ya hands from day 0, some what of a Tupac huh?

  • S on my chest

    Should have got a XXl, the ratings on this mag have always been dodgy, how can you give such a classic album an XL??? Get the fuck outta here.

  • May

    SDUB-google-me Says:
    August 20th, 2007 at 10:36 am

    “…I salute you 50, and you heard it here first. When all else fails 50 will diss EM and Dre once this album flops. That’s the most buzz he could possible start by going at EM. But this statment got the ball rolling “F*ck Jimmy Ivoine. Get ready Slim better get them 50 diss songs started early. Yall knew you had a problem on ya hands from day 0, some what of a Tupac huh?”

    ^^^i really, really, wish that does not happen…you look Em & 50, and them dudes is like brothers…you can’t front on that…regarding 50 being 2003′s man of the year…that’s perfectly agreeable…i remember being thirteen or fourteen and that’s the only person i ever heard about while walking through the halls back in junior high school…50 was the man…dudes wanted to be like him, girls wanted to f*ck him…once GET RICH OR DIE TRYIN’ came out it was a wrap…everyone and their friends and their cousins had that album…i’m still banging it even ’til this day. THE MASSACRE not so much, that sh*t was trash…

    will i be buying CURTIS? Eh…i’ll think about it…the way things are going, it doesn’t look like it’s worth my $$$…if this album bricks, at least 50 has millions upon millions upon millions of dollars to relax with, and he can always look back at what 2003 was like.

  • K.ola

    Stomp the bones out yo ass with some brand new chucka’z…

    Classic!!! the hardest debut album since resonable doubt and the biggest since doggy style

  • Incilin

    Funny how we all more or less argree that 50 should be the man of the year, despite the fact that the Outkast album was just as good but also sold more. Maybe they’ll win 2004 since their album was released late in the year.

  • Ziggy

    whoeevr put that joe budden shit up there is a fuckin ass fuck

  • haha

    Funny how we all more or less argree that 50 should be the man of the year, despite the fact that the Outkast album was just as good but also sold more. Maybe they’ll win 2004 since their album was released late in the year.

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^
    but the outkast album was a double album, so it get double the sales. 50 had more and higher charted singles out, and had the g-unit album, along with g-unit cloths and sneakers. but yeah outkast shud win 04

  • Freddy(Vega$)

    CURTIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!…………..

  • Freddy(Vega$)

    CURTIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!…………..

  • Freddy(Vega$)

    CURTIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!…………..

  • http://Itsasickworldwelivein.blogspot.com Fuk Yo Life

    Yeah 50 was runnin shit back then. When it came out I was 13 and i had to go to the bootlegger for like 2 weeks everyday to get it cuz he kept selling out. but nobody gives a shit about him anymore. He’d be crazy to diss Em tho. specially since em is in the zone workin on his next albulm, King Mathers. GRODT was THE SHIT. The Massacre IS SHIT. Expect Curtis 2b Diarreah.

  • jordany

    2003 Year In Review

    Man Of The Year: Jay-Z (”Excuse Me Miss” was poppin’, ”What We Do” with Freeway & Beanie Sigel was a classic song, the S.Cater Collection Sneaker with Reebok bacame the fastest selling Reebok-shoe EVER, S.Carter Collection Mixtape was a CLASSIC, ”Excuse Me Again(La, La, La)” and ”Beware Of The Boys” with Punjabi MC were summer smashes, ”Crazy In Love” with Beyonce’ was along with 50 Cent’s ”In Da Club” the years biggest hits, The Black Album was amazing and debuted at number 1 on the charts ahead of G-Unit’s Beg For Mercy, the Madison Square Garden concert was a CLASSIC (see Fade To Black), the 40/40 Club was oppened, Roc-A-Fella Records had a great year and, were still the top crew in rap).

    Albums Of The Year:

    Jay-Z – The Black Album (Almost a classic.)
    T.I. – Trap Muzik (Tip’s best work, hands down.)
    Freeway – Philadelphia Freeway (just listen to it.)
    State Property – Presents The Chain Gang, Vol.II (everybody killed it but, Young Chris is a problem.)
    The Diplomats – Diplomatic Immunity (i used to love Dipset when they were on The Roc.)
    50 Cent – Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ (can’t hate, give props when is due.)

  • K.ola

    jordany Says:

    August 20th, 2007 at 3:32 pm
    2003 Year In Review

    Man Of The Year: Jay-Z (‘’Excuse Me Miss’’ was poppin’, ‘’What We Do’’ with Freeway & Beanie Sigel was a classic song, the S.Cater Collection Sneaker with Reebok bacame the fastest selling Reebok-shoe EVER, S.Carter Collection Mixtape was a CLASSIC, ‘’Excuse Me Again(La, La, La)’’ and ‘’Beware Of The Boys’’ with Punjabi MC were summer smashes, ‘’Crazy In Love’’ with Beyonce’ was along with 50 Cent’s ‘’In Da Club’’ the years biggest hits, The Black Album was amazing and debuted at number 1 on the charts ahead of G-Unit’s Beg For Mercy, the Madison Square Garden concert was a CLASSIC (see Fade To Black), the 40/40 Club was oppened, Roc-A-Fella Records had a great year and, were still the top crew in rap).

    Albums Of The Year:

    Jay-Z – The Black Album (Almost a classic.)
    T.I. – Trap Muzik (Tip’s best work, hands down.)
    Freeway – Philadelphia Freeway (just listen to it.)
    State Property – Presents The Chain Gang, Vol.II (everybody killed it but, Young Chris is a problem.)
    The Diplomats – Diplomatic Immunity (i used to love Dipset when they were on The Roc.)
    50 Cent – Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ (can’t hate, give props when is due.)
    ^^^^

    you sound foolish. black album was popin in 04 not 03 dummy…

    03 was and will always be 50 year fool. the nigga outsold jay/ had more hits then jay/ and his group album sold more over time boy…

  • K.ola

    Fuk Yo Life Says:

    August 20th, 2007 at 2:41 pm
    Yeah 50 was runnin shit back then. When it came out I was 13 and i had to go to the bootlegger for like 2 weeks everyday to get it cuz he kept selling out. but nobody gives a shit about him anymore. He’d be crazy to diss Em tho. specially since em is in the zone workin on his next albulm, King Mathers. GRODT was THE SHIT. The Massacre IS SHIT. Expect Curtis 2b Diarreah.
    ^^^^^

    is that you gayme?

    but on the real this show’s you what kind of fan turns his back.

    due is like 17 now so he thinks he dictate’s what niggas everywhere listen to…

    but when i was seventeen i was in the streets that’s who fuck with 50 the streets. not the 17 year old niggas who cant come out side but the niggas who cant afford PC/internet…

    and you niggas stay on a website commenting on another grown man..

    that shit kill’s me like if i wasnt at work i would neva be on this shit for real Loc…

  • REAL SPIT

    K.OLA GET A LIFE U FUCKIN FAG 1 COMEENT GOOD ENOUGH DICK RYDER FUCK CURTIS BIGGEST FLOP OF HIP HOP IS COMING SEPT11 AND IT AINT KANYE

  • k. ola the faggot

    your a bitch obviously u aint in the streets no more cause yea grodt was played and all but after massacre everybody was like what the fuck then we got him doin songs with robin thicke and justin timberlake hes a pussy

  • HMONEYBAGGZ

    03 was 50′s year yall, one of the best years ever. get rich, black album, and beg for mercy!?! damn I was bootleggin left and right.

  • John Brown

    Alright here is the list.

    Outkast-04
    Kanye-05
    T.I-O6

    Mark my words…

  • eCStAzzy

    03 was 50′s year indeed.G-Unit did well too,No matter what u can’t hate…album sales is the proof that they put quality music on the market,while other rappers couldn’t do it.Btw,finally some good reviews over this post. Go cop Curtis sept. 11th & Kanye’s album too.Stop Hatin!

  • Gunit South

    yo 50′s the man.. ppl just mad bc he changed, but anybody would if they got money goin str8 to da bank.. at the end of the day he made alot of money and his shit still sells.. im buying Curtis September 11!!!

  • AKZENT

    Something happened to 50. In Get rich die tryin, his rapping was very good. He was on the beat. Now, he aint rapping eight notes or 16th notes. He is way out of it. 2003, he was rapping eight notes and 16th notes.

  • Cuban Link

    This has to be the only one everyone agrees on.Everyone loved Fiddy in ’03, and even his little friends did well because of his succsess in that one year alone

  • Cuban Link

    and btw what, no “99 Problems” as song of the year?Or at least “dirt off your shoulder”? GTFOH

  • Rodjilius

    only 2 albums out and 3rd comin soon and hes richer than alot of people with more than 5 albums

  • thewayiare

    03 was 50s year not gay-zs. reasonable doubt came out in 96 and went platinum in 02. GRODT went platinum in one week. lyrics dont matter if you dont know what to do with them.

  • http://pitlanta.blogspot.com Maurice Garland

    dang…no Trap Muzik for Album of the Year?

  • http://www.yahoo.com kid playa

    fifty was hot in 03… everything after GRODT was sad.. he sold out fereal.. too much bubble gum poppy shit..

  • gkid1

    50 is most def the man of 03, i say 04 as well because beg for mercy, hunger for more, straight outta cashiville and the documentary were all 50 inspired and ruled 04′. 05 was his as well but you could tell the buzz was changing. By summer of 06′ it changed, look what 3 years can change, now in 07′ hopefully some of this changes.

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  • http://dispatchlfp.blogspot.com Tracey Sheffield

    http://www.xxlmag.com‘s done it again! Great read!