He’s been shot nine times. He’s had a film made about him. He’s even the star of a videogame that involves him running round the Middle East blowing shit up trying to retrieve a golden skull or something. He’s one of the most successful rappers of all time even though he sounds like he’s battling several speech impediments and has a tonne of marbles in his mouth. He’s unforgettable…so special….it’s 50 Cent.
- In Da Club (2002)
For most of us this was our first introduction to Fiddy. Well, actually I remember reading in the NME that he had a song called Wanksta and thinking that that was really cool before I’d heard any of his stuff, but I digress. Ok, you can barely understand what he’s saying at some points but who cares? It’s like when Kano’s on top form, the cadences are mesmirising. Everything about the song just works, from Dr Dre’s minimalist production (seemingly just some orchestral stabs and a two note guitar line) to the obvious smirk 50 must have had on his face when he tosses off lines like ‘watch how I move you’ll mistake me for a playa or pimp/been hit with a few shells but I don’t walk with a limp’. Basically this song just makes me feel thugged out. And I bet even your mum likes it
- Ayo Technology ft. Justin Timberlake and Timbaland (2008)
Ok, somehow this song manages to make a Crystal Castles sample sound good. That 8-bit melody leaks out of the speakers (talking of speaker leaking, check out Lil’ Wayne’s verse on Can’t Believe It by T-Pain, it’s totally inhuman), 50 just raps about wanting to bone some chick I think, it could be cybersex or something though and the bridge! Oh Lordy, the bridge! JT’s falsetto is too good. It’s literally impossible not to sing along with the chorus. That’s a scientific fact. There’s no actual evidence for it, but it is scientific fact. I hope they play this song in strip clubs. Also, you seen the video? Woah, should only be shown post-watershed.
- Candy Shop (2005)
This is the sound of 50 not giving a fuck. No messing around with metaphors and stuff, he’s straight up in there: he wants a blowjob and he wants it now. I remember reading an interview with the grime producer/MC Jammer who slated this track for making his young daughter sing about oral sex. The video is spectacularly unerotic. I think Oliva is bathing in chocolate sauce and then she eats an apple. Apples aren’t sexy. Chocolate sauce isn’t sexy. C’mon guys, you can do better than that. The song does provide one line that always gets me Richard Gere smirking, ‘dance floor jam packed, hot as a tea kettle.’ More rappers should reference household appliances. Oh, and £5 goes to anyone who can decipher what 50 says at the end of the video.
- 21 Questions ft. Nate Dogg (2002)
This song is rad for two reasons. 1) It’s a list song. Lists are great. Songs of lists are great and 2) it’s got Nate Dogg on it.
I remember hearing this track for the first time sat on the back of the school bus. I swear that coming out of a tinny set of speakers it sounded like something off The Infamous. I was convinced that Radio 1 had uncovered a hidden hip-hop gem. Then I heard it properly. Yeah, my Mobb Deep comparisons are a bit off the mark but it’s still a big tune. Some people think that hip hop is just about dudes boasting about how much money that have. Sometimes that’s all you want to hear.