50 Cent's solo albums ranked: from 'Get Rich or Die Tryin' to 'Animal Ambition'

The rapper and producer's music is a crowd-pleaser more than 20 years on

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More than two decades after releasing his blockbuster debut album, 50 Cent is still packing people into the club.

Or in the case of his latest world tour, filling up arenas from Europe and South America and most recently, in Dubai.

Judging by the sell-out audiences, appetite for 50 Cent's enduring body of work remains, despite his music career taking a back seat to his successful work as a television producer.

That said, with nearly 30 tracks performed each show, 50 Cent’s tour serves as a vibrant reminder of his contribution to hip-hop and his influence on a new generation of rappers and producers.

Let’s take a look at all of his albums and see how they all stack up.

6. ‘Curtis’ (2007)

Curtis is a landmark album in all the wrong ways.

To promote its release, 50 Cent engaged in a commercial battle with Kanye West, who was also releasing his album Graduation on the same day.

With both artists touring the states — and in the case of West, even the UK — to promote their work, it was Graduation ultimately coming on top.

A key reason was because West continued to develop his sound while Fiddy remained stagnant.

Despite featuring some of the best production money can buy, Curtis is utterly derivative and features tracks veering aimlessly from the gritty to the radio-friendly.

While the same approach was successful in the past, Curtis is the sound of 50 Cent creatively cashing out.

5. ‘Animal Ambition’ (2014)

An interesting release in that it is as close as 50 Cent got to releasing a concept album.

At a brief 11 tracks, Animal Ambition looks at the benefits and drawbacks of fame.

You would think this would be fertile ground for the rapper to get stuck into, instead he plays it safe on gruff tracks such as Hustler and Irregular Heartbeat, the latter a wasted collaboration with brilliant rapper Jadakiss.

However, it is on Smoke where Fiddy reminds us he still has the knack for coming up with a fun club hit.

4. ‘Before I Self Destruct’ (2009)

The album made its debut at No 5 on the Billboard 200. Before I Self Destruct marked the beginning of 50 Cent's declining power in the US charts.

That said, this is a marked improvement on the depressing predecessor Curtis.

Featuring the soulful Strong Enough and the swaggering Dr Dre-produced Death to My Enemies, 50 Cent reclaims some of his lost vitality and provides some searing insights into his feuds with fellow artists The Game and Young Buck.

With its share of dark lyricism, Before I Self Destruct remains the last time 50 Cent had something worthwhile to say on record.

3. ‘The Massacre’ (2005)

Released with all the fanfare of a blockbuster, The Massacre is a big and bloated release capturing Fiddy at the zenith of his fame.

As the follow-up to his groundbreaking debut, it is a supremely polished record featuring hits Candy Shop, Disco Inferno and Just a Lil Bit.

While these tracks proved that 50 Cent was pop-savvy, the album lacked some of the hunger and danger that made him initially irresistible.

2. 'Power of the Dollar' (2000)

Scheduled for release as an album in 2000, Power of the Dollar was shelved by label Columbia Records after 50 Cent was shot in New York prior to its release.

When Power of the Dollar was eventually released as a bootleg mixtape later that year, the fierce collection of street tales only enhanced the mystique surrounding his persona.

However, it was his undeniable skills, exemplified in the witty How to Rob and The Good Die Young that moved future superstar Eminem and producer Dr Dre to co-sign 50 Cent to their respective labels and kickstart his career.

1. ‘Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (2003)

With the exception of Eminem's Marshall Mathers LP release in 2000, it is hard to remember a hip-hop album released with so much anticipation.

At least with the former, the hype was justified by Eminem's existing body of work.

However, when it came to Fiddy's official debut album, the notoriety was driven by the kind of dangerous persona not witnessed since the emergence of late rapper Tupac Shakur.

What also helped was that 50 Cent was taken under the wing of Dr Dre, the super-producer known for his extreme work ethic and Midas touch.

That mix of ambition and experience paid off in spades.

Get Rich or Die Tryin’ was a worldwide success, spawning two US chart-topping singles (In Da Club and 21 Questions) and propelled hip-hop's place as the most commercially dominant genre of popular music.

50 Cent acknowledged the album's impact in an interview with The National in 2020.

"My core audience were in college in their heyday in 2003, when they used to party at every possible moment,” he said.

“And at that point, I had the largest debut album in hip-hop. So they couldn't party without me. There was no way you could escape me."

50 Cent brings his greatest hits to Dubai's Coca-Cola Arena - in pictures

Updated: October 10, 2022, 2:30 PM