Exclusive: Before I Self Destruct: 50 Cent's Biggest Pre-Album Publicity Stunts
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 3:10PM
[With the attention 50 Cent has generated over the past few weeks, it's no surprise a studio album is underway. In light of the G-Unit general's upcoming yet untitled LP, SOHH's drawn up a list of our favorite perceived publcity stunts that led up to an album release. GGG-GG-GGet ready!]
1. Get Rich Or Die Tryin' (2003): Ja Rule & Murder Inc. Fall
Ja Rule took a beating from 50 Cent, and beefs ensued between the two rappers' camps; for instance, over the beat of 2Pac's "Hail Mary," 50 Cent teamed up with his associates Eminem and Busta Rhymes for a stinging mixtape freestyle dissing Ja Rule and Irv Gotti. Increasingly susceptible to the criticism as his music fell out of public favor, Ja Rule returned with as much vengeance as he could muster. (All Music)
*Certified 8x Platinum*
Despite the non-stop disses directed at 50 Cent and company, 50's Interscope Records debut would go on to sell millions.
2. Beg For Mercy (2003): Tony Yayo Gets Locked Up
Before the group had a chance to record its debut album, Tony Yayo was sentenced to prison for a gun-possession charge as well as bail-jumping. During Tony Yayo's prison sentence, the group signed Nashville rapper, Young Buck. They continued their activity, working on yet more mixtape recordings. In particular, their 'G-Unit Remix' to 50 Cent's "P.I.M.P." was successful. During Tony Yayo's prison sentence, G-Unit recorded their debut album, Beg for Mercy. The album was quickly released on November 14, 2003 to combat bootlegging and had significant commercial success. Tony Yayo made only two appearances on the album, both on songs that were recorded before his arrest. (Lyrics Freak)
*Certified 2x Platinum*
Remember those "Free Yayo" t-shirts? You know, the one Eminem wore at the 2003 Grammy Awards during his televised performance? Needless to say, the album did fairly well.
3. The Massacre (2005): Nas, Jadakiss, Mobb Deep, Ja Rule, Kelis, Shyne, Fat Joe, Lil Kim Get Porked
No stranger to beef, 50 Cent kicked off the promo campaign for his sophomore album The Massacre by creating a massacre of his own: attacking every rapper in NYC. Well, almost. Feeling a certain way about Fat Joe and Jadakiss appearing on arch-nemesis Ja Rule's "New York," 50 viciously attacked all parties involved. He accused Jadakiss of only popping locally and called Fat Joe on releasing a dud of an album after dropping the massive hit "Lean Back." Heck, even Mobb Deep (who 50 would sign months later), took a stray shot because Havoc showed up to Ja's video shoot. The video was an animated mess, but does score points for depicting Nas as "Captain Save Em" chasing down the Kelis "Milkshake" truck. (Complex)
*Certified 4x Platinum
Maybe 50 Cent was trying to avoid the sophomore jinx?
4. Curtis (2007): Cam'ron Prank Calls, Kanye West Wins The Battle
"Funeral Music," 50's initial assault, doesn't seem particularly damaging. Lyrically, it's mostly composed of vague gun-threats that he probably had lying around for months, and he only specifically mentions Cam a couple of times. Plenty of critics have already pointed this out, but the best part of the song comes on the outro, where 50 stops rapping and just generally talks shit, saying that Jim Jones is now the boss of Dipset and twisting Cam's lyrics around to make fun of him ("Computers putin', boopity-boopin'"). With its eerie music-box beat, "Funeral Music" might actually be the best 50 Cent song since "I'll Whip Ya Head Boy," but none of its attacks register as anything more than bored, lazy swipes. (Village Voice)
"They would like to see Kanye West give me a problem because I've worked my way into a space where I've become the favorite. Everybody roots for the underdog when he goes against the favorite, put it like this, let's raise the stakes. If Kanye West sells more records than 50 Cent on September 11th, I will no longer write music. I'll write music and work with my other artists, but I won't put out any more solo albums. And I bet when Kanye West's sales come in, he's gonna have a 70 percent decrease because Def Jam is gonna buy records to keep him close to 50 Cent. So watch the first week and watch the second week and watch his a** fall off the planet." (SOHH)
Killa Cam may have lost the viral beef, but Kanye West won the physical battle when Graduation outsold 50 Cent's third album. Guess third time's not the charm.
5. Terminate On Site (2008): G-U-N-I-T-Y, Minus Young Buck
Their second album, T.O.S: Terminate on Sight, was released on July 1, 2008. While the album was being recorded, internal conflicts arose between Young Buck and 50 Cent, which resulted in Young Buck being kicked out of the group, but still signed to G-Unit Records. Young Buck still appeared on songs previously recorded with the group, but was credited as a featured artist. As of August 8, 2008, the album has sold 185,000 copies in the United States. Along with Young Buck, Mavado guests on the album, while production came from Swizz Beatz, Street Radio, Tha Bizness, Rick Rock, Polow da Don and others. (Wikipedia)
*Certified Sales Under 500,000*
With the G-Unit back to its original members, it looks like 50 Cent may have lost some of those Ca$hville fans without Young Buck officially in the mix.
6. Before I Self Destruct (2009): 50 Cent meets his match with The Boss.
At his core, 50 is a showman. So when his beef with Officer Ricky jumped off in early 2009, you already knew he had some tricks up his sleeve. But in a devastatingly diabolical move that no one saw coming, Curtis introduced the world to Tia, Ricky's scored baby's mother. After handling business, he takes Tia and a friend shopping at the Gucci store while "Isn't She Lovely?" plays. PWND. This is beef 2.0, Ross is still in beta. (Complex)
Who can forget the endless back-and-forth between 50 Cent and Rick Ross back in 2009? While we were introduced to "Officer Ricky: The Cartoon" and "Pimpin' Curly" through ThisIs50, 50's album kept getting pushed back until the late fall.
As of late, 50 Cent appears to be back on his regular pre-album antics, revealing a distanced relationship with protégé Lloyd Banks, tensions with Interscope Records and doubts about his next label stop.