8 Songs From 50 Cent's 'Get Rich or Die Tryin' That Taught Us Major Life Lessons

50 Cent's debut album turns 15 years old today. 

As history shows, rap has spawned numerous stars and figures that have put their stamp on hip-hop and infiltrated pop culture. However, every couple of years, an artist emerges that shifts the paradigm and takes the music industry by storm. Acts on that rap shortlist include Beastie Boys, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Kanye West and Drake, but arguably the most aggressive of them all is 50 Cent, who turned tragedy into triumph and remains as one of the most legendary and infamous artists of the aughts.

READ: 50 Cent Apparently Made Millions Off Of Bitcoin Before It Was Popular

By now, the Southside Jamaica, Queens native's backstory is common knowledge: Ex drug-dealer and convicted felon-turned-rapper who got shot nine times after a failed record deal, only to emerge from the brink of obscurity to become the hottest free agent in rap history. His classic mixtapes and the beef with Ja Rule and Murder Inc. often dominate the narrative of his career arc, but all of the above would be a footnote without his debut album, Get Rich or Die Tryin', making good on all of the tough-talk and bravado spewed by 50 and exceeding the most lofty of expectations.

Released on Feb. 6, 2003, Get Rich or Die Tryin' arrived at a interesting time for hip-hop. New York City was still the dominant force in rap, with established superstars like JAY-Z, DMX, Ja Rule, Nas and others thriving at the forefront of the culture and selling millions of records. Although hailing from the East Coast himself, 50 Cent, who developed a slight vocal drawl as a result of catching a bullet to the face, was able to build a following across the board and transcend regional borders due to his knack for catchy hooks and refrains.

READ: Watch The Trailer For The 50 Cent-Produced TV Series ‘The Oath’

With hit singles like "In Da Club" and "21 Questions" both topping the Billboard Hot 100, and album cuts like "What Up Gangsta," "Many Men (Wish Death)," "Heat," and the scathing Murder Inc. diss track "Back Down" circulating in the streets, Get Rich or Die Tryin' proved to be the biggest album of the year and was hailed as an instant classic, which it is still considered today.

Fifteen years after the release, 50 Cent may have shifted his attention to interests beyond music, but is still regarded as one of the sharpest and most savvy characters in all of music, a reputation that was first solidified with this album and has led to him becoming a life and business guru.

In celebration of 50 Cent's classic debut, we highlighted 10 life lessons we all learned from listening to Get Rich or Die Tryin' that still hold true to this day.

Song: "Patiently Waiting"

Lyric: "In this white man's world I'm similar to a squirrel/Lookin' for a slut with a nice butt to get a nut/If I get shot today my phone'll stop ringin' again/These industry n***as ain't friends, they know how to pretend"

Lesson Learned: Industry Rule No. 4080 is one that is not to be forgotten and has proved true time and time again. Know the difference between friends and associates concerned about your best interests and those loyal to their self-interest.

Lyric: "I got pennies for my thoughts, now I'm rich/See the twenties spinnin' lookin' mean on the six/N***as wearin' flags ‘cause the colors match they clothes/They get caught in the wrong hood and filled up with holes, motherf**ker"

Lesson Learned: Being aware of your surroundings and knowing the laws of the land you walk on is a must. It can be the difference between life and death.

Song: "Many Men (Wish Death)"

Lyric: "Sunny days wouldn't be special if it wasn't for rain/Joy wouldn't feel so good if it wasn't for pain/Death gotta be easy, ‘cause life is hard/It'll leave you physically, mentally and emotionally scarred"

Lesson Learned: Being discouraged and feeling disappointed is human, but understand that the peaks and valleys in life provide balance and learn to appreciate and learn from all of your experiences.

Song: "In Da Club"

Lyric: "If the roof on fire, let the motherf**ker burn/If you talkin' about money, homie, I ain't concerned/I'ma tell you what Banks told me: "Cuz, go 'head, switch the style up/If n***as hate then let them hate and watch the money pile up"

Lesson Learned: Many people in life will have opinions on what you say and do, but living for acceptance is one of the fastest routes to disappointment in life. Follow your own spiritual compass, make your own rules and be a legend in your skin.

Song: "Heat"

Lyric: "Look, n***a, don't think you safe cause you moved out the hood/Cause ya mama still around, dawg, and that ain't good/If you was smart you'd be shook of me/Cause I get tired of looking for ya, spray ya mama crib and let yo a** look for me"

Lesson Learned: All is fair in love and war, which means that protecting and shielding your family from harm is the first order of operations when in the face of danger.

Song: "If I Can't"

Lyric: "In the game there's ups and downs so I stay on the grind/N***as on my d**k more than my b***h, I stay on they mind/There ain't nothing they could do to stop my shine/This is God's plan, homie, this ain't mine"

Lesson Learned: Grit and perseverance are two of the key ingredients to success and are necessary to achieve great things. Believe in yourself, disregard the naysayers and take solace in the fact that your path is your own and unique to itself, by the universe's design.

Song: "21 Questions"

Lyric: "If I fell off tomorrow, would you still love me?/If I didn't smell so good, would you still hug me?/If I got locked up and sentenced to a quarter century/Could I count on you to be there to support me mentally?/If I went back to a hoopty from a Benz/Would you poof and disappear like some of my friends?"

Lesson Learned: Love and loyalty can prove hard to come by, be sure that your partner is one that is willing to stand by your side through thick and thin and provide emotional support when necessary.

Song: "Gotta Make It To Heaven"

Lyric: "You know me, I stay with a b***h on her knees/And give guns away in the hood like it's government cheese/Spray off Suzuki's, eleven hundred cc's/No plate on the back, straight squeezing the MAC/In the hood they identify n***as by their cars/So I switch up whips to stay off the radar"

Lesson Learned: Being a creature of habit and developing routines can be a strength, but in the midst of beef, can also leave you vulnerable and susceptible to an attack from the opposition. Be unpredictable and elusive to keep your enemies on their toes.

Lyric: "Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change/The courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference/In AA they make you say that/That's the prayer they burn in your head when you in casack"

Lesson Learned: In life, we often fret about the past, present and future, however, understanding that we should only fixate on changing the things within our control puts things in perspective and lifts the mental and spiritual burdens that can weigh us down.

Song: "Wanksta"

Lyric: "Now shorty think I'ma sweat her sippin' on Amaretto/I might hit once, then dead her, I know I can do better/She look good, but I know she after my cheddar/She tryin' to get in my pockets, homie, and I ain't gon' let her"

Lesson Learned: Attractive women can be enticing and highly persuasive, but it's pertinent to know the difference between one that's out for your attention and affection and one that's solely after your earnings.

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J.Cole, Teyana Taylor And Other Snubs Of The 2019 Grammy Nominations

It's that time of year again when inner circles and strangers on the Internet debate who's up for a gramophone.

On Friday (Dec. 7), the nominees for 2019's Grammy Awards (Feb. 10) were announced to a span of hot takes, early but informed predictions, and a wall of confusion as to why certain artists were overlooked. While some entertainers excitedly received the good news (Cardi B discovered her nods while leaving a courthouse), others were left scratching their heads.

Here's a look at why those who were snubbed by the Recording Academy deserved to be nominated.

READ MORE: Drake, Kendrick Lamar, And Cardi B Lead 2019 Grammys Nominations


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5 Stories From Meek Mill's #CRWN Conversation That Flew Under The Radar

Meek Mill made his return to Elliot Wilson's #CRWN conversation on Sunday (Dec. 2) for an in-depth discussion of Championships, his behind-bars experience and prison reform.

Live from New York City’s Playstation Theatre, the stage was set with two throne-like chairs as Mill and Wilson's fans began to swarm through the packed house. Loaded with fans from Philly, Jersey and NYC alike, the crowd was buzzing in anticipation for Meek’s grand arrival. Introduced by Wilson, the veteran journalist briefed in-house and live-streamed listeners with his relationship with the Philly rapper, discussing the many times the two have linked “from the MMG days to now.”

“It’s just amazing to see how he’s continued to fight this adversity and continued to deliver great music,” says Wilson, engaging in a back and forth conversation with the crowd. “When you put out a title and say you’re going to name your album Championships, you better deliver,” Wilson continues. “And he delivered.”

Appearing on stage sporting a mid-length fur coat and glistening jewels, Meek and Wilson exchange a quick embrace as the live audience jumps to its feet to welcome their champion. Taking his experience to lean into activism, Meek engaged in a 90-minute conversation with the journalist, answers fan-questions and candidly tell his story as he sees fit.

But as tabloid fate would have it, one of the sole stories to come out of the meaningful conversation was his awkward date with then-girlfriend Nicki Minaj, Jay-Z and Beyonce. The memories Meek decided to share like adorable moments with his son, his newfound position in the battle for criminal justice reform and recording Championships fell to the wayside.

But don't fret. Here are some other memorable moments from the interview.


1. Meek's Best Day in Jail Included a Visit From Kevin Hart

Meek's final day in jail was similar to the others. He woke up, successfully avoided jail food by making his morning oatmeal and knew his day was heading in a good direction when he won five consecutive ping pong games against his daily opponent– who want the smoke?

After heading back to his cell, Meek's day got a whole lot better when Kevin Hart and 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin had pulled up on him by surprise. "They come on the block and I was like, 'Man come in my cell and see how this sh*t look,'" Meek starts. "So Kevin Hart and Mike, they come in the cell and they like 'It's not that bad,' they tryna make me feel good, I'm like 'The hell you mean it's not that bad? I got my boxers hanging up on the f**king string'" the rapper jokingly recalls. After the much-needed hour-long visit, Meek returned to his daily jailhouse activities when he learned that he would be released from jail within hours. What a day.

2. Friends and Family Would Send Him IG Post Printouts Through Mail

When Meek packed his cell to go home, he had over 10,000 photos to sift through since his tribe brought the world of Instagram to him through the mail. "I used to tell everybody like, 'Yo, just send me everything that's going on on Instagram, I wanna see everything that's  going on in life.'"

The rapper separated his photos by importance, keeping the photos of his family in a separate pile with his other pile (filled with pictures of all the IG models and famous ladies) holding a different level of importance to those who stood behind bars with him. "It was valuable cause some guys in there they got 25 years in this s**t, they ain't never see the fake a**es yet and the girls with the new bodies, so you know, they all in my cell like, 'What's up with these pictures?'"

3. He Purposely Steered Away From Lending Tekashi 6ix9ine Advice

While breaking down Championships cut "Respect the Game," Meek spoke on hip-hop's freshman class including Tekashi 6ix9ine, Lil Durk and YoungBoy NBA. "[Tekashi] used to be poppin' so much sh*t on Instagram, I be like 'I don't even wanna say nothing to this young boy, this young boy start sayin' all this crazy sh*t to me on the internet," he joked.

On a more serious note, Meek speaks on the real issue he had with 6ix9ine, sharing his concern for the 22-year-old's habits in starting drama with some of hip-hop's most dangerous faces. "With my music, I wanted to reach all of 'em," he said, explaining how when the music speaks for itself, you don't need to ensue controversy to sell records.

4. His 7-Year-Old Son Already Has a Rapper Name

Give it 10 years and we might see Meek Mill's son on the Billboard charts. Answering a fan question about "Lil Drip," Meek clarifies that Lil Drip is actually his son Papi's, rapper name. "Sometimes I be in the studio I be like 'Yo, I give you $500 if you go in the booth and rap right now and he just go in the booth and lay it.'" Sampling a few adorable bars, Meek reveals that his son consistently shocks him with his material, bringing up some of the most trivial experiences he's shared with Meek.

"He be like, 'Private jet/ Who I met/ Ben Simmons/ That's a bet,'" spits Meek, referring to a previous birthday trip he's taken with Papi.

5. Jay-Z's Verse on "What's Free" Was a Pivotal Moment in Meek's Career

A Jay and Meek collaboration has been a long time coming. In Meek's promotional single "Stay Woke" featuring Miguel, the rapper spits, "When I talked to Em and Hov, they said, "I'm proud of you/ You stood tall back when everyone doubted you"/ My reply is, "I did what I gotta do/ And I need that verse 'fore you retire too."

During the conversation, Meek speaks on "What's Free" with Rick Ross and Jay-Z, remembering the first time he heard Jay's 44 bar verse. "When I got it back I was in the bathroom, I was just standing in the mirror listening to it," he says while bopping his head, fully immersing himself in the moment.

"I represent the path that HOV created," Meek tells Wilson. "I always wanted that Jay-Z feature and he came through this time, shout out to HOV."

Stream the entire conversation here.

READ MORE: Meek Mill Recalls Awkward Double Date With Jay-Z, Beyonce, And Nicki Minaj

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Meek Mill, Ari Lennox, More Included On VIBE Picks 12/6

With a busy year of music coming to an end, there are still some artists who want to make their mark: Meek Mill dropped his hotly-anticipated fourth LP Championships, Ski Mask the Slump God released his long-awaited debut STOKELY, and Dreamville brought heat to the star-studded Creed II soundtrack – and that's just scratching the surface. Check below to see the songs that the VIBE staff is bumping this week.

“The Man Who Has Everything,” Chance The Rapper Christmas music is usually unimpressive to me – the topics come across as contrived and corny, and I’m not inclined to listen to a song for only one month of the year. But Chance The Rapper may change my tune with “The Man Who Has Everything,” one of his two November drops. Over a leisurely soundbed, Chano has things that he’s grateful for, like his family, a home, and material perks like cars, but he isn’t fronting like it’s a worry-free holiday. The song also portrays hopes to eradicate racism with imagery of shredded confederate flags, and gets personal with revelations about missing Noname (who he addresses by her birth name, Fatima) and feeling awkward about arranging a prenuptial agreement with his future wife. “The Man Who Has Everything” captures gratitude and seasonal depression in one swoop, making a song that captures the Christmas spirit honestly. In his recent interview with the Joe Budden Podcast, Chance said that his Christmas album with Jeremih was slept on; I may have to give it a shot. – William E. Ketchum III

“Trauma,” Meek Mill | Championships Meek Mill’s new album Championships has two of the biggest songs of the year, with “What’s Free” going viral because of Jay-Z’s verse and “Going Bad” getting attention because of Meek’s reunion with Drake. But don’t let the star power distract from “Trauma,” one of the most memorable songs from the record. Just like on the similarly-titled “Traumatized” from his 2012 debut Dreams and Nightmares, Meek poignantly recounts the violence and drug addiction that he witnessed in his childhood. But this time, with his new position as the face of prison reform, he illustrates how his Philly streets and his recent legal troubles are tied into a scheme of systemic racism. “In the 13th amendment, it don't say that we kings. They say that we legally slaves if we go to the bing,” he proclaims. Adding a social justice edge to the harrowing street narratives that he has already built a reputation gives Meek Mill a chance to make music that will stand the test of time.  – William E. Ketchum III

“Shea Butter Baby,” Ari Lennox and J. Cole |  Creed II: The Movie Dreamville brought quiet storm vibes to the Creed II soundtrack. The label’s sole songbird Ari Lennox commands the mind with soothing vocals over the Elite and Mike Will Made It-produced track. Her confident narration of black love does wonders for the film’s b-side love story (Adonis and Bianca) while Cole blissfully submits to his own Shea Butter Baby. – Desire Thompson

“Nuketown” Ski Mask the Slump God feat. Juice WRLD | STOKLEY If you ever wondered what screamo rap sounds like in 2018, peep what Ski Mask the Slump God and Juice WRLD pulled off on “Nuketown.” The song is just as explosive as its title thanks to the guys parting the waves of shiny rap to make room for ripping mostpits. But the Florida MC also showcases a quick and edible flow on his debut album while Juice WRLD adds more fuel to the fire. – Desire Thompson

"Good Girl" - Tiffany Gouche feat. Masego Tiffany Gouche's voice is the best kind of blanket. Well-worn with holes and loose threads here and there, it's the fuzzy sort that, without fail, will warm you to the core each time you swaddle in it. Time and time again, Gouche steps to the microphone with proof of all that is right with R&B in 2018. Her seductive new lust song "Good Girl," released to the world just as East Coast temperatures started to dip, does not stray from the sonic track record she has established for herself. After enlisting her for "Queen Tings" on his Lady, Lady debut album, trap-jazz savant Masego has returned the favor by complementing Gouche's cocoa rich vocals with satin soft coos of his own. Trust us, you'll want to slow down for a minute to savor these sounds. – Stacy-Ann Ellis

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