50 Cent GRODT cover 50 Cent GRODT cover

What Millennials Should Know About... 50 Cent's 'Get Rich Or Die Tryin''

VIBE spotlights music's most essential timepieces for Gen Y. You gon' learn today

50 Cent
Get Rich Or Die Tryin' (2003)

Elevator Pitch: Whether taunting a fuckboy ("Don't Push Me") or allergic to monogamy ("P.I.M.P."), 50 Cent's GRODT is the stuff hood dreams are made of

The singles: "In Da Club," "P.I.M.P.," "21 Questions," "If I Can't" (Note: "Wanksta" was an 8 Mile soundtrack single)

Peak moment: "What Up Gangsta" Only mean mugs allowed here. Fif introduces you to la familia from jump with a shout out to his crew by first line ("G-Unit, we in here/ We can get the drama popping, we don't care"). Within the next 15 seconds, he acknowledges the notorious gangs Bloods and Crips before proceeding to lay the smackdown all over Rob "Reef" Tewlow's hard-hitting beat.

Still gets repeats to this day: "Back Down" The third offering on Get Rich produced by Dr. Dre still rings off. While 50 Cent was tangled in beef with fellow Queens spitter, Ja Rule, the G-Unit chief had no hesitations calling out Murder Inc.'s quarterback. Sample line: "Your success is not enough, you wanna be hard/ Knowing that you get knocked you get fucked in the yard/ You's a Pop Tart, sweetheart, you soft in the middle/ I eat ya for breakfast, the watch was an exchange for your necklace."

Bet you didn’t know: Aside from his gritty, sing-song flow and cocky charm, 50 Cent's unique name snagged his fans' attention. In a vintage interview, Fif explains how the pocket change reference is a secondhand rap alias. "The original 50 Cent is from Fort Greene," he said of the fallen G from Brooklyn. "I took a name from a n---a from the hood that passed, that was gangsta. Through me, that name lives on."

Bet you (also) didn't know: Before pioneering the art of surprise album drops, Beyoncé was steady on the grind as a girl-group-leader-turned-solo-artist. No stranger to the occasional remix, she decorated songs like Justin Timberlake's "Until The End of Time" and Usher's "Love In This Club." But in an unexpected twist, Mrs. Carter two-stepped on her own version of Fiddy's monster birthday smash "In Da Club." Go shawty, it's your B'day!

Lines best for status updates:
> "If it feels like my flow's been hot for so long/If you thinking I'mma fuckin' fall off, you're so wrong" — ("Patiently Waiting")
> "I got pennies for my thoughts, now I'm rich" — ("Patiently Waiting")
> "I'm the diamond in the dirt that ain't been found/I'm the underground king and I ain't been crowned" — ("Many Men")
> "Sunny days wouldn't be special if it wasn't for rain/Joy wouldn't feel so good if it wasn't for pain" — ("Many Men")
> "If you watch how I move you'll mistake me for a player or pimp" — ("In Da Club")
> "Finna crush my enemies like I crush the hashish" — ("High All The Time")
> "Behind that twinkle in ya eyes, I can see the bitch in you" — ("Heat")
> "Tell niggas, "Get they money right," 'cause I got mine" — ("If I Can't")
> "You can buy cars, but you can't buy respect in the hood" — ("Back Down")
> "Some say I'm paranoid, I say I'm careful how I choose my friends" — ("Gotta Make It To Heaven")
> "I don't smile a lot 'cause ain't nothin' pretty" — ("U Not Like Me")
> "You're just a small player in this game, play your part, son" — ("Life's On The Line")

Synopsis: It's been over a decade since 50 Cent's freshman LP Get Rich Or Die Tryin' put the rap game in a chokehold. Before breaking the bank with Vitamin Water and SMS Audio, 50 Cent was pocketing hits on hits as one of Queens' most ambitious MCs. For his first major label offering (via Interscope/ Shady/ Aftermath), Fif looped in hip-hop heavyweights, Dr. Dre and Eminem, off the strength of his 1999 "How To Rob" but stunted all on his own. The lengthy 19-track sound trip starts in the hood and stays there, rolling around with a bulletproof vest and zero fucks. Get Rich gets familiar with the Southside Queens rapper as he navigates the thug life, saluting real G's by Track 1 (See: Peak Moment above) and dragging all humblebrags to the trash. With buzz record "Wanksta" relegated to bonus track status, the singles are stacked like a trip to Perfection but the filler joints supplement his hood tale. While the rapper born Curtis Jackson has said he doesn't mess with drugs or alcohol IRL, crafting songs like the smoky "High All The Time" or the gat-loving "Blood Hound" are necessary for the street narrative he sells extremely well (GRODT was the fourth best-selling hip-hop album in the U.S. with over 8 million units sold). Fitty Stans may have poured a little out for the 50 Cent of yesteryear (still SMH at Animal Ambition), his first album paved the way 2003's Beg For Mercy with the colorful cast of G-Unit and shiny headlines on Forbes. With a net worth of $140 million as of last year, we can rest easy knowing 50 got his wish.—Stacy-Ann Ellis (@stassi_x) and Adelle Platon (@adelleplaton)

Cop 50 Cent's Get Rich Or Die Tryin' on iTunes here.

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25 Hip-Hop Albums By Bomb Womxn Of 2018

The female voice in hip-hop has always been present whether we've noticed it or not. The late Sylvia Robinson birthed the hip-hop music industry with the formation of Sugar Hill Records (and fostering "Rapper's Delight"), Roxanne Shante's 55 lyrical responses to fellow rappers were the first diss tracks and Missy Elliott's bold and striking music and visuals inspired men and women in the game to step outside of their comfort zones.

These pillars and many more have allowed the next generation of emcees to be unapologetically brash, truthful and confident in their music. Cardi B's Invasion of Privacy and Nicki Minaj's Queen might've been the most mainstream albums by womxn in rap this year, but there was a long list of creatives who brought the noise like Rico Nasty, Tierra Whack, Noname and Bbymutha. Blame laziness or the heavy onslaught of music hitting streaming sites this year, but many of the artists on this list have hibernated under the radar for far too long.

VIBE decided to switch things up but also highlighting rap albums by womxn who came strong in their respectively debut albums, mixtapes, EPs. We also had to give props to those who dropped standout singles, leaving us wanting more.

READ MORE: 15 R&B Songs We Obsessed Over Most In 2018

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VIBE / Nick Rice

10 Most Important Hip-Hop Artists Of 2018

We’ve reached another end to an eventful year in hip-hop. From rap beefs to new music releases and milestones, 2018 has been forged in the history books as a year to remember. But more important than the events that happened over the span of 12 months are the people who made them happen.

While fans received a large dose of music from our favorite artists and celebrated some of the most iconic album anniversaries, there are a few names that stood out as the culture pushers, sh*t starters, and all-around most significant artists of the year.

For your enjoyment, VIBE compiled a list of the top 10 most important hip-hop artists of 2018 based on a series of qualifications: 1) public actions - good, bad, and ugly; 2) music releases; 3) philanthropic/humanitarian work; and 4) trending moments.

Be clear: This list isn’t about the most influential, the most talented, who had the best music or tours. While we are commemorating artists for the work they’ve contributed to this year’s music cycle, we’re looking beyond that and evaluating how these particular artists have shaped conversations and pushed hip-hop culture forward.

READ MORE: 15 R&B Songs We Obsessed Over Most In 2018

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Stacy-Ann Ellis

NEXT: Intent On Impact, Kiana Lede Is Ready To Leave Her Mark

After learning The Alphabet Song as a little girl, Kiana Lede would always “get in trouble” for singing during class. “My mom was like, ‘why can't you focus?’” she laughs while reminiscing on her career’s formative years. “I was like, ‘I don’t know! Songs are just playing in my head all the time!’”

Whilst sitting in a shoebox-sized room at Midtown Manhattan’s Moxy Hotel on a humid September day, the now- 21-year-old Arizona-bred R&B songbird, actress and pianist speculates that she “may have had ADD.” However, she settles down after taking off her white cowboy boots and flops down on the ivory-clothed bed, demonstrating that her fiery Aries energy can be contained. Cool as a cucumber, Lede shuffles between chewing on banana candies and blowing smoke rings after taking drags from a pen, all while musing about her journey to becoming a Republic Records signee.

“I just grew up singing and doing musical theater, and reading a lot of books, and playing piano way too much in my room by myself,” she says, pushing her big, curly brown hair out of her face. Her expressive green eyes widen as she grins. “It was my thing. Nobody in my family does music, just me.”

After winning Kidz Bop’s 2011 KIDZ Star USA talent contest at 14 (which her mother secretly entered her into), Lede was signed to RCA Records. She was released from her contract and dropped from the label three years later. However, thanks to guidance and friendship from the Grammy-winning production duo Rice N’ Peas, (who’ve worked with G-Eazy, Trevor Jackson, and Bazzi), she released covers of songs such as Drake’s “Hotline Bling” while working to get her groove back. The latter rendition resulted in Republic Record’s Chairman and CEO Monte Lipman flying her out and signing her to his label.

“I got a second chance, which a lot of people don't get,” she reveals. “So I'm really happy that that all happened. I wouldn't be here right now in this room if that didn't happen.”

Thanks to the new opportunity she was given, Lede’s sound has evolved into something she’s proud of—equal parts soul, R&B and bohemian. As evidenced by the aforementioned ensemble, glimmers of each aesthetic can be found when observing her personal style as well. She released her seven-song EP Selfless in July, which features the bedroom-ready “Show Love” and “Fairplay,” which manages to fit in the mainstream R&B vein while also showcasing her goosebump-inducing vocals. The remix of the latter features MC A$AP Ferg. What pleases her most is that it not only garnered a favorable response from fans, but that those listeners found it so relatable.

“As an artist, it's really nerve-wracking for someone who writes about such personal things all the time,” she says. “Just the fact that it is my story… It's good to know that other people know that there's somebody on their side, and they're not the only ones going through it. A lot of people obviously feel this way, and have been through this same thing that I've been through. So I think that's cool.”

Although she moved to various places as a Navy serviceman’s daughter, Lede claims Phoenix as home. This means she hails from the same stomping grounds as rockers Alice Cooper, Stevie Nicks and the late Chester Bennington of Linkin Park. However, growing up in a mixed race household gave way to tons of sonic exploration outside of the rock-heavy scene.

“My dad's black, and both of my parents are from the East Coast,” she says of her musical and ethnic upbringing (she’s black, Latina and Native American). “[My parents] listened to a lot of R&B. My mom listened to a lot of SWV, TLC, Boyz II Men. I didn't realize I knew the songs until I got older. I played a charity show with T-Boz, and I was like 'why do I know these songs?'” Lede also says her father was a fan of neo-soul and gangsta rap, but she personally believes the early-2000s was the best time for music.

“[That era] influences a lot of my music subconsciously, and also, singer-songwriter stuff,” she continues. “I listen to a lot of early-2000s music because I played piano most of my life. I listened to Sara Bareilles, John Mayer.”

An open book, Lede details some of her struggles with anxiety and depression with the utmost candor. After being dropped from RCA, her trust in people diminished, and she experienced long bouts of depression after being sexually assaulted by someone in the industry. The track that she feels most deeply about is “One Of Them Days,” which tackles these issues head-on.

“When I'm anxious and depressed, it's really hard to be happy,” Lede says. “Most of the time, I can do it, but there are just some days where I literally can't separate the anxiety, and I can't tell anybody why, because I don't really know why myself… I was feeling very odd that day, didn't even know if I could write a song. Hue [Strother], the guy who I wrote the song with, he was like 'I totally get you. Lots of people go through this.’’’

As we’ve observed in headlines recently, mental health and being honest about life’s trickier situations can help someone going through the same thing, and Lede hopes her music provides encouragement to those who are struggling. As for how she’s learning to push through her mental health roadblocks, she meditates, runs, and is an advocate for therapy, especially in Trump’s America, where harrowing news reports dominate the cycle.

Another hallmark of Kiana Lede’s personality is her bleeding heart for others. She cites women of color, sexual assault victims and the homeless youth specifically as individuals she feels most responsible to help, since she is personally connected to all three. While she’s aiming to create a project that helps homeless youth specifically, she’s working hard this holiday season to ensure that they have a place to stay “at least for the night” after horrific wildfires displaced many individuals in California.

“My passion is really people. Music is just a way that I can get to helping people,” she says with a grin. “Helping people emotionally and physically are both very important. I never want to stop helping people. I feel if other people can respect me, and I can respect myself, then I'll be happy. Happiness is all that we strive for.”

Recently, Lede played her first headlining solo show, a one-night event at The Mint in Los Angeles. While she was thrilled to see that the show sold-out, she was even happier to see the faces of her audience members, who she said ‘looked like [her].’ “Mixed girls, brown girls, black girls, gay boys,” she explains over-the-phone. Even though she wasn’t in person to discuss her latest huge accomplishment, you could hear the pride and joy through her voice.

As for the future of her career, she’s looking forward to more acting roles. You may recognize her from the first season of MTV’s Scream, and after her recent Netflix series All About The Washingtons with legendary MC Rev Run was cancelled, she has been “reading for auditions” and is “negotiating” for a role in a film set to shoot in NYC. While her time with the Run-DMC frontman was brief, she says he taught her about the importance of “not compromising your art for money.”

What Kiana Lede is most excited about, of course, is making music. She hopes to work on a new EP and then release an album after that. The ultimate goal is to fully realize the dreams in her personal and professional life, and she assures she’s just getting started.

“I want to be able to look back on my career and think 'man, I really poured my heart into this music, and made music that mattered, and made music that made people feel a certain way, whether it's bad, good, sad, anxious, whatever it may be.’”

READ MORE: NEXT: H.E.R. Is The Future Of R&B (And Then Some) In Plain Sight

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