“This may sound ridiculous at first glance, but 50 Cent‘s Get Rich or Die Tryin’ was far and away the most anticipated hip-hop debut of the past decade. That argument is bolstered by the fact that anticipation means something completely different now than it did on February 6, 2003. Only one hip-hop album since then has replicated Get Rich‘s ungodly sales numbers — 900,000 sales in the first week, four No. 1 singles, eventually 8x Platinum in the US — and that would be Outkast‘s hip-pop behemoth double album, which came out in the same year and didn’t move nearly as many units its first week.
It also helped that the album itself was cultivated by Dr. Dre, who put together a roster of beats that rivaled those assembled on his own comeback record, 2001. Get Rich‘s blueprint for success was quickly apparent on monster debut single “In Da Club” (which spent 100 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100). Dre’s beat was relatively spartan by today’s standards — pulsing infectiously with that simple timpani-and-canned-strings motif — but it perfectly complemented 50′s insouciant, arrogant flow (“In the hood, in L.A. they saying ’50 you hot’ / They like me, I want them to love me like they love ‘Pac”).”
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