My favourite ever album has to be Get Rich or Die Tryin by 50 Cent. I relate to it on so many levels. When I listen to it, I can hear someone that’s been through so much, and in a way that’s very similar to me.
Through that album I discovered the bridge between the underground and the commercial. Dr Dre and 50 Cent could make a sound that still had a commercial appeal, but it was still so underground. That was crazy for me to hear. When the content meets the beats, its just different. Back in the day with mixtape and some albums, production wasn’t the best, but I feel like what Dr Dre was doing was clear, you could hear the beats and everything. It was the first time someone was coming with clear beats and strong lyrics to match.
I was about sixteen when I first heard some of the songs 50 Cent was getting onto radio for the first time. The things he was saying, for me, was a bit weird to see come across on a commercial level. It was the first time I felt like the streets would win, when it came to the music, and being real to yourself. It was also the first time a commercial radio station was embracing this type of music and idea. Before this, we would have to get our mixtapes at the market or the back of a boot, they were like gold dust back in the day. So to hear it on the radio, commercially accepted, was sick.
The actual album was amazing, I feel like its the album where people say what they think. I come from such a rough background, these are the songs you can relate to. Everywhere, there are postcode wars, you can’t go to certain spaces: You might get on a bus and bump into someone that you’ve never met in your life, that wants to beat you up because of your area. So to experience those sort of things, and then hear someone coming and saying how it is, like 50 did, was so sick to me.
His rap is also important because of his stories, a lot of rappers were about violence, but 50 actually told the story with substance. It made you feel like there was light at the end of the tunnel. When he said “I’m trying to be where I’m destined to be” you just feel like its you. I still have a physical copy of the album.
I also used to listen to G-Unit; as a collective, they used to bring out lots of mixtapes. We used to get those CD’s, but I’m not gonna lie, they were from the market, or you’d go to your barber shop and buy them.
Personally, my favourite song on the album is ’Many Men,’ because of how relatable it is. When I was younger, if you went out and left your area you just didn’t know what was gonna happen. I believe I grew up in a war-zone. Its the same mentality in the music game; you have to think ahead, think that you’re gonna win and think that anything can happen at any time. As a result of that, I have a certain instinct now, that if I go somewhere I know how to move. I think that 50 has done the same thing in the way he’s transferred himself from a gangster to a business man.
When you listen to music like that, its like therapy for you. 50 used to say, “I’m going through this and this is what I need to do now”, “I went through that, but I’m making money now”. “I got shot nine times, but I’m in this space now”. It makes you start to believe you can make it. I’m so surprised I didn’t start rapping back when I first heard it, but you know how life goes.
I couldn’t put a price on this album, I think its priceless, its a street bible. 50 is one person I’ve always wanted to work with, I relate to the guy so much. If I could describe this album in three words, it would be authentic, journeying and destiny.
Words by Fekky.
Fekky’s debut album ‘El Classico’ drops on August 4th. Pre-order here, and check out his latest video, ‘Avirex’ featuring Neutrino and Chip, down below.