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Get Rich or Die Tryin’

Rock Critic Ken Tucker reviews “Get Rich or Die Tryin’”(Interscope Records), the new CD from rapper 50 Cent.

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Other segments from the episode on January 21, 2017

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, February 21, 2003: Interview with Kevin Spacey; Review of 50 Cent's “Get Rich or Die Tryin’.”

Transcript

DATE February 21, 2003 ACCOUNT NUMBER N/A
 TIME 12:00 Noon-1:00 PM AUDIENCE N/A
 NETWORK NPR
 PROGRAM Fresh Air

Filler: By policy of WHYY, this information is restricted and has
been omitted from this transcript

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Review: New CD "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" by rapper 50 Cent
DAVID BIANCULLI, host:

Last week the new CD by the rapper 50 Cent, entitled "Get Rich or Die Tryin',"
became the highest-selling major label debut album since SoundScan began
tabulating album sales in 1991. The 25-year-old performer is a protege of
both Eminem and the late Run-DMC member Jam Master Jay. Rock critic Ken
Tucker says 50 Cent has a compelling sense of drama, if a limited world view.

(Soundbite of "Many Men (Wish Death)")

Mr. LLOYD BANKS: Man, we gotta go get something to eat, man.

50 CENT: (Rapping) Ay yo, man, damn, what's taking homie so long, son?

Mr. BANKS: Calm down. Here he come.

50 CENT: (Rapping) Many men wish death upon me. Blood in my eye, dawg and I
can't see. I'm trying to be what I'm destined to be and (censored) trying to
take my life away.

Unidentified Man: Come on!

50 CENT: (Rapping) I put (censored) with me. My back on the wall now you gon'
see. Better watch how you talk when you talk about me, 'cause I'll come and
(censored) away. Many men, many, many, many men wish death upon me. Lord, I
don't cry no more, don't look to the sky no more. Have mercy on me.
(Censored) put money on my head...

KEN TUCKER reporting:

50 Cent's rap music is a ferocious recitation of the facts of his life:
orphaned as a child by an absent father and a drug-dealing mother, a
self-admitted crack seller who's been shot at least nine times. He's
certainly no role model, but his music does less to glamorize the thug life
than make it sound like a ceaseless weight, of fear denied, paranoia admitted
and tender emotions suppressed. Later on in that song I just played he
compares himself to, quote, "Muhammad Ali in his prime." But with his
glowering countenance and stolid delivery, 50 Cent is more like the Mike Tyson
of hip-hop. To some extent, 50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, has
reason to brag. He's lifted himself out of a very bad street existence
through persistence.

Signed to Columbia Records in 1999, his first album was never released.
Undaunted, he began putting out a series of mixed tapes, setting rhymes to
melodies filched from other songs, and selling them on the streets of his
native New York. Jam Master Jay took Curtis Jackson under his wing, and was
instructing him in the ways of the recording studio and the music business
before Jay's tragic murder last year. Eminem heard some of this music and
connected with 50 Cent's vision of the hardness of life, with his refusal to
relinquish a sense of grim humor. After all, it's not as if the guy doesn't
like to party.

(Soundbite of "In da Club")

50 CENT: (Rapping) Go, go, go, go, go, go, go shawty. Is yo birthday. We
gon' party like is yo birthday. We gon' sip Bacardi like is yo birthday, and
you know we don't give a (censored) if that's yo birthday.

You can find me in the club, bottle full of bubb, but Mami, I got the X if you
into takin' drugs. I'm into havin' sex. I ain't into makin' love. So come
give me a hug if you into gettin' rubbed.

When I pull out up front...

TUCKER: That's 50 Cent's biggest hit, "In da Club," produced into
irresistibility by Dr. Dre, who's also overseen Eminem's most sonically
interesting songs. But 50 Cent's secret musical weapon is Mike Elizondo, who
plays an inventive style of keyboards and bass guitar lines. He helps keep
the music varied. 50 Cent needs this help. His rhymes march in a regimented
meter than can become tedious, and he's least believable when he talks about
romance. No, 50 Cent has one subject: how hard it is not merely to succeed,
but to stay alive. It's a message his audience wants to hear so badly his
record company had to release "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" a few days early,
because it was being bootlegged so fast on the street.

Given the narrow choices he presents, I vote for 50 Cent to get rich, and
implore him to please try to avoid dying as much as possible.

BIANCULLI: Ken Tucker is critic at large for Entertainment Weekly. He
reviewed "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" by rapper 50 Cent.

(Credits)

BIANCULLI: For Terry Gross, I'm David Bianculli.

(Soundbite of "Gotta Make it to Heaven")

HOOK: (Rapping): Yeah. I gotta make it to heaven. Fuck going through hell.
Gotta make it to heaven. Gotta make it to heaven. Gotta make it to heaven.
Fuck going through hell. I gotta to make it to heaven. I hope I make it to
heaven.

50 CENT: (Rapping) Some say I'm paranoid, I say I'm careful how I choose my
friends. Been to ICU once, I ain't going again. First Zee got (censored) and
Raw got (censored) and homie's still in the hood, why he ain't getting hurt, I
smell something fishy, man. It might be a rat. (Censored) switchin' sides on
(censored) just like that. U know me, I stay wit' a (censored) on her knees
and get (censored) away in the hood like the government cheese, spray on
Suzuki's eleven hundred cc's, more plate on the back, straight squeezing a
Mak. In the hood they identify (censored) by their cars, so I switch up whips
to stay off the radar. I ain't gotta be around to make (censured) hot. I
send Yayo to (censored) on ya block. So (censored) if I say get it done and
make it (censored) if you around me, son.

HOOK: (Rapping): I gotta make it to heaven. Fuck going through hell. I
gotta make it to heaven. I gotta make it to heaven. I gotta make it to
heaven. Fuck going through hell. I gotta to make it to heaven. I hope I
make it to heaven. I gotta make it to heaven. Fuck going through hell. I
gotta make it to heaven. I gotta make it to heaven. I gotta make it to
heaven. Fuck going through hell. I gotta make it to heaven. I hope I make
it to heaven.

50 CENT: (Rapping) When I come through the hood, I don't stop the rapping
(censored)...

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