Eminem outsells 50 Cent in the historic charting event! Em and 50 go head-to-head in the battle for the top spot on Billboard’s Artist of the Decade list. The competition comes ten years after the two rappers first appeared in the chart together. Their burgeoning rivalry has led to some of the most epic songs, albums, and rap feuds in history.
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Despite being only 20 when he first made the charts, 50 Cent became one of the most important figures in hip-hop history. He came from one of New York City’s bleakest neighborhoods. His first studio project, Get Rich or Die Tryin’, gave him instant superstardom and made him a millionaire. It topped the Billboard 200 and set a record for the fastest-selling debut in American chart history.
His true lyrics, yet a great sense of humor, made him a favorite of many hip-hop fans. He also provoked outrage from LGBT groups for his homophobic, misogynistic themes. His tumultuous relationship with his infamous ex, Kim, often appeared in his songs as well. But he continued to generate major sales and win awards with classic albums such as The Marshall Mathers LP in 1999 and Recovery in 2013.
50 Cent’s mix tapes were a hit in the underground scene. His tapes were constantly bootlegged, spreading his music even more. 50‘s status as a streetwise hustler helped him gain credibility in the rap game. He signed a deal with Dr. Dre’s label, Shady/Aftermath Entertainment. His rapping ability remains unmatched. He could rhyme bar for bar with the best in the business, and his delivery was as forceful as it was ruthless.
In addition to his rapping prowess, 50 was a master of songwriting. He’s written some of the best hooks in rap history, and his lyrics are often poignant, harrowing, and deeply personal. This song, which he wrote after being shot nine times and almost killed in Queens, illustrated one of his finest examples.
This track from his fifth album, Recovery, became a major hit for the rapper and featured the soulful voice of Rihanna. It was a huge commercial success. Em won a Grammy Award for both the single and the album. Recovery was a follow-up to the successful Relapse, which met with middling reviews. Though it was still a top seller and established 50 Cent as an influential figure in the genre.
The song managed to top the Billboard Hot 100. It won a nomination for a MTV Video Music Award for best rap video. It’s an intensely personal song that resonated with many. The gangsta-themed visuals were also iconic and memorable.