50 Cent’s Get Rich Or Die Tryin is one of my favorite albums. While I don’t agree with his stances on many issues, the
arrogance confidence that 50 projects is his writing inspiring
. There are plenty of rap albums that contain the same themes: flaunting accomplishments, defying authority, trashing your rivals.
What sets GRoDT apart is that 50 actually believes everything he says about himself. The lyrics ooze with a level of sincerity that most rap artists simply don’t have the bravery and/or self-delusion to express. There’s no hyperbole here, as far as 50 is concerned.
I do what I gotta do, I don’t care if I get caught
The DA can play this motherfucking tape in court
I’ll kill you
In Heat, 50 states that the fear of judicial punishment won’t stop him from taking care of his business. Jay Z spends a lot of breath talking about that one time he beat the charge. 50 is willing to take the heat to get the job done. The threat of punishment isn’t a deterrent. What can you do against an adversary that shows no fear?
When they window roll down and that AK come out
You can squeeze ya little handgun until you run out
And you can run for ya backup
But them machine gun shells gone tear ya back up
God’s on ya side? Shit, I’m aight with that
Cause we gon’ reload them clips and come right back
Guns? Not afraid, got bigger. Backup? Not afraid, too fast. Divine intervention? Not afraid, anything can be overcome.
50 is a practical guy. His persistence is simply a business decision. He’ll allocate enough resources to get the job done. He decides on a course of action, plans it out, and then executes. This isn’t about revenge or emotions, it’s about dollars and cents.
They’ll be no white flags and no peace talks
I got my back against the wind
I’m down to ride ‘till the sun burn out
If I die today I’m happy how my life turned out
Again, 50 doesn’t fear death; on the contrary, he’s accepted it. Peace is of no interest to him, since that would mean compromising. That level of peace is terrifying to your opponents. It echoes the Joker’s personality from The Dark Knight . By not fearing death or punishment, 50 is embracing the anarchist ideal of chaos trumping civilization.
See the shootouts that I’ve been in I’m by myself
Locked up I was in a box by myself
I done made myself a millionaire by myself
Now shit’s changed, motherfucker, I can hire some help
50 finishes the song explaining some of his history. What’s fascinating is how 50 is able to set aside his ego and admit that he doesn’t need to do it all alone. He’s done it alone before, and realizes that it would simply be bad business to do everything solo. The reduction of major moral decisions into simple business challenges is threaded through the entire album.