When Big and 2Pac passed away, everyone thought gangsta rap was over. The real dudes, who lived the ghetto life and rapped were gone. And in the early 2000’s lots of rap acts were getting recognition, and they didn’t really represented hood, ghetto, gangs or anything. Those were: Outkast, Black eyed peas, Eminem, Nelly, Eve and so on. Basically, it seemed like gangsta rap was over. Even though Xzibit was hardcore, he wasn’t that much of a gangsta.
Approached by this question, Ice-T answered: “what the hell you talking about? Every time you rap about drugs, bitches, dealing with cops off hand – you a gangsta”. We do have to agree with him, he was one of the first who brought street smarts into the game and started talking about urban/crime life in his raps, after all, he’s The Original Gangsta. Many rappers do talk about drugs and women, but I can’t really say that’s the Gangsta rap we want to hear. 2Pac and BIG put the bar so high for this sub-genre, you can’t just give it to every other guy who rhymes titties with titties. But, there was a savior for hip-hop world to continue the legacy, and that savior was acknowledged by the Ice-T himself as one of the last real gangstas who lived it and did it, as Eminem described him “it’s almost like we found this diamond or something” – 50 Cent was introduced to the world and the world went crazy about him. Get rich or die tryin’ is a classic album, masterpiece in hip-hop. To me, 50 proved himself and his dedication when I heard that he already had a million dollar deal on the Universal records. Fifty had a hard time explaining to his friends why he rejected that deal, saying “we would be another thing in the ocean”. Fifty didn’t came in for the money, he came in for the hell of it, he wanted it all – “I’m in it for the grip, mother***k the fame!”
As much success he had with the first album and G-unit album, after Massacre his music went to degradation. His raps were lame to the point where he shoot the video on the bed, laying in the money and singing “All I have to rap about is money… money…” – All I have to say about that is whack… whack… But his dedication was still there, getting into business deals and writing a book, creating vitamin water, investing in Floyd Mayweather’s boxing carrier took his focus away. In 2009 when Eminem returned, maybe 50 got inspired by his homie and he promised us “Street King Immortal”. After Dre’s Detox, I think that’s the most anticipated album in hip-hop. It’s been 6 years and album still didn’t drop. Last year G-unit got back together and they made a pretty good comeback complimented by Fifty squashing the beef with Young Buck. G-unit came in and fans were delighted, real, hardcore gangsta rap was at its finest: Lloyd’s lyrics, Buck’s flow, Fifty’s attitude, overshadowed whackness of Yayo and Kid Kidd by creating a high quality product.
But the best thing 50 Cent did in last ten years was a single – “9 shots” – from his upcoming album. I’m tired of 50 yammering about getting shot all the times, but the song is so dope. I don’t know about Frank Dukes but that dude can produce a dope-ass record. I haven’t heard anything so lyrical, meaningful and full of flavor not just in gangsta rap, but in hip-hop all over for years.
What 50 Cent does in this song is remarkable; he connects every shot he took to a major life-changing experiences he had to deal with. His mother was murdered when he was eight (one shot), at twelve he was dealing drugs (second shot), at fourteen he’s arrested for carrying a gun in school (third one goes begging). I won’t spoil the song for you if you haven’t heard it yet, but to me, that song represents the gangsta rap: Sharing your experience about the world, that should not be an object of praise and glamour. But revealing how devastating and traumatic life of an outlaw can be and what severe consequences it brings.
Whole vibe of the song is sad, romantic in a way and tear jerking at the end, when Fif’ fades out singing the chorus: “…Momma said the lord gon’ bless us, mama said… that’s what mama said…”. Take notes pseudo gangsta rappers! 50 showed you how it’s done!