Get Rich or Die Tryin’ is the debut studio album by American rapper 50 Cent. It was released on February 4, 2003, by Aftermath Entertainment, under a joint venture with Shady Records, and distributed by Interscope Records. Its initially planned release was pushed seven days ahead due to heavy bootlegging and Internet leakage. The album was produced by Dr. Dre and Eminem, and featured guest appearances from Eminem and G-Unit associates Young Buck, Lloyd Banks, and Tony Yayo.
The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 872,000 copies in its first week. It generated four singles, including the number one hits “In da Club” and “21 Questions”, and the international hit “P.I.M.P.” By 2016, Get Rich or Die Tryin’ sold 8.4 million copies in the United States and is certified 8× platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Upon its release, the album received favorable reviews from most music critics and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album, losing to OutKast’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below at the 46th Grammy Awards. It ranked number 37 on Rolling Stone’s list of best albums of the 2000s.
Prior to the release of his mix-tape, Curtis Jackson was shot 9 times in Queens, New York. He managed to survive, but was dropped from his label, Columbia, and remained unsigned and in need of producing new music. In 2002, Eminem listened to a copy of 50 Cent’s Guess Who’s Back? mixtape album through Jackson’s attorney, who was working with Eminem’s manager Paul Rosenberg. After being impressed with the mixtape, Eminem invited 50 Cent to Los Angeles where he was introduced to producer Dr. Dre. 50 Cent signed a one million dollar record deal with Dr. Dre and released his next mixtape, No Mercy, No Fear. It featured the 8 Mile single, “Wanksta”, which was later put on Get Rich or Die Tryin’. Both Eminem and Dr. Dre had started working-productions on his debut album with additional help from producers Mike Elizondo, Sha Money XL among others.
The first single “In da Club” was the first of seven tracks he recorded in five days with Dr. Dre. Eminem was featured on a couple songs, such as “Patiently Waiting” and “Don’t Push Me”. His songs also featured rappers within G-Unit, such as Lloyd Banks (“Don’t Push Me”), Tony Yayo (“Like My Style”), or Young Buck (“Blood Hound”). The next single “21 Questions” was not in line to be on the album to Dr. Dre, he stated that he did not want the song on the album. According to 50 Cent, “Dre was, like, ‘How you goin’ to be gangsta this and that and then put this sappy love song on?'” 50 Cent responded saying, “I’m two people. I’ve always had to be two people since I was a kid, to get by. To me that’s not diversity, it’s necessity. “Back Down” and “Heat” were instrumentals originally composed by Dr. Dre. They were both originally intended to be used on Rakim’s debut Aftermath album, Oh My God, but due to creative differences was not released. Early pressings of Get Rich or Die Tryin’ included a limited edition bonus DVD. A music video for “Many Men (Wish Death)” was made. The song was also certified Gold by the RIAA on June 14, 2006.
The album’s lead single, “In da Club”, was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), becoming 50 Cents’ first song to top the Billboard Hot 100 for nine weeks and remained on the charts for twenty-two weeks. The track also reached number one on the Top 40 Tracks, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, and Hot Rap Tracks charts. The song reached number one in Denmark, Germany, Ireland, and Switzerland and the top five in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Greece, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. It received two Grammy nominations for Best Male Rap Solo Performance and Best Rap Song. This is considered to be one of the best rap songs of all time, introducing a new sound and rhythm to rap. It was listed at number 18 on VH1’s “100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of All Time”.
Its second single, “21 Questions”, became 50 Cent’s second chart topper on the Billboard Hot 100, where it remained for four non-consecutive weeks. It spent seven weeks on top of the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts. Outside the States, “21 Questions” reached number six in the United Kingdom. It was certified gold by the RIAA. The third single “P.I.M.P.” was shipped with a remix featuring rapper Snoop Dogg and trio-group G-Unit. It was the third single that peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one on “Hot Rap Tracks”, becoming the third single from the album to peak in the top then on the “Hot 100” chart. It also reached number one in Canada. It was certified Gold by RIAA. The album’s final single, “If I Can’t”, peaked at number seventy-six on the Billboard Hot 100 and thirty-four on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts.
Get Rich or Die Tryin’ debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 872,000 copies in its first week. It was the best-selling album of 2003, selling 12 million copies worldwide by the end of the year. It remains 50 Cent’s best-selling album, with sales of 8.4 million copies in the United States, and the tenth highest-selling rap album of all time in the country. The album was certified 8× platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipping eight million copies in the US.
In December 2009, Billboard magazine ranked Get Rich or Die Tryin’ at number 12 on its list of the Top 200 Albums of the Decade. In 2012, Complex named the album one of the classic releases of the last decade.The single, “In da Club”, earned the number-one spot on Billboard 2003’s single and album of the year, the first since Ace of Base had both in the same year. “Back Down” was listed on XXL’s list of the greatest diss tracks of all time.