Ten years ago today, 50 Cent dropped his major label debut, Get Rich Or Die Tryin'. Generally adored, the album was maybe more impressive for capitalizing on the endless potential he'd displayed with an unprecedented mixtape campaign. In the year and a half leading up to it's release, 50 released more music at a faster rate than had ever been done within mixtapes. What is less acknowledged is that his rise also marked a change in the popularity of mixtapes as single artist highlight reels compared to compilations of new songs or DJ favorites. Get Rich, then, was all of the music 50 had released prior—the freestyles, the remakes of established hits, the original songs—on steroids. Within it, 50 had production from Dr. Dre, instruction from Eminem and a sense of invincibility fueled in no small part by the murder attempt on his life that caused him to lose his first deal. Get Rich Or Die Tryin', in fact, isn't the first album 50 Cent ever made. That would be the unreleased Power of the Dollar, lead by the inflammatory first single, "How To Rob." That album, like most of 50's earliest mixtape material, shows great potential, 50 displaying a signature quick wit and an aim to please. Luckily for him, and the music world at large, Power of the Dollar was shelved, allowing 50 to build his songwriting ability the same way he would his body into an elite-level machine. In the 10 years since Get Rich, 50 has done a lot to make himself richer, gaining legions of new fans and alienating old ones along the way. He's got plenty to show for his time in the limelight, but nothing as impressive or enduring as his debut. To celebrate that seminal record's anniversary, here's a look at the life of 50.
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