"In the street, the consensus is that Buck's album is better than Banks's," said 50 Cent, in a 2005 interview with VIBE, about Young Buck and Lloyd Banks' debut albums. Yup, even the G-Unit general knew Young Buck had somehow usurped the Punchline King as the second best in the crew. Few knew what to make of Buck when he first started rolling with G-Unit. He made an appearance on "Blood Hound" off 50 Cent's Get Rich but it wasn't enough to establish him. He did that on the Unit's Beg For Mercy where he was able to step in and play as
4. 50 Cent-The Messacre
In a lot of ways, 50 Cent's The Massacre is the beginning of the end for 50 Cent and G-Unit as a whole. It features all the missteps that would soon either undermine or undo 50's empire; a misguided pop effort that alienated too many core fans yet still resulted in a No. 1 hit ("Candy Shop"), an overzealous effort to use beef as a marketing ploy ("Piggy Bank"), and the use of commercial performance to justify all antics (selling 1.14 million copies in a short week). But what really undid this album is 50's hubris. Coming off Get Rich or Die Tryin' he was absolutely convinced that he'd never run out of hits because he could just go to the studio and whip up some more. So much so he essentially gave away the first draft of The Massacre to his then protege, The Game, for his debut, The Documentary.
Take a moment to consider how much better The Massacre would have been if you instead had the six songs 50 would later claim he wrote for Game, including "Hate It or Love It" and "How We Do."
And yet, 50 had all the reason in the world be confident. The Massacre still featured some of the best rap music of not just 50's career, but of that era of rap period. Yes, the album was overindulgent with a jampacked lineup of 22 tracks that ran 73 minutes. But it still featured songs like "In My Hood," "This Is 50," and "Ski Mask Way." The Vivica A. Fox diss on "Get In My Car"
5. G-Unit- Beg For Mercy
Beg For Mercy, as its title suggests, was G-Unit's twisting the bayonet. 50 had just overwhelmed the rap game as a solo artist, and he had opened the door for his right- and left-hand men. Given the degree of 50's success (Get Rich Or Die Tryin' had been released nine months prior), the trio could have phoned this one in and had no problem with sales. What resulted was a very well-executed group aesthetic with a gang of classic songs, maybe even a classic album. 50 was rapping with the relaxed composure of someone who knew he had the game in his palm, while Banks and Buck came with the hunger.
The formula for a Beg For Mercy song was to take one of many perfect beats (the whole album was sonically reminiscent of The Chronic: 2001 to me, with a crispness that Dre had perfected just a couple years prior, despite
Those of us who were recruited to G-Unit's fanbase via their earliest mixtape grind had to have been wondering what would come of Banks and Yayo. With the eventual recruitment of UTP's Young Buck and Dr. Dre's protege Game,
G-Unit was suddenly a crowded roster. Banks got the first solo release date following 50 Cent's debut.
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By 2009, 50 Cent's moment had passed. He had already suffered an embarrassing loss in 2007 to Kanye West when Graduation handily outsold 50's Curtis. But that only told half the story. Kanye didn't just make a better album (50 admitted as much in a recent GQ profile) but made 50's sound feel old and outdated—like a superstar athlete who ruined his knees and just didn't have the same lift anymore. By '09, all the seeds of Kanye's influence began to blossom as rappers like J. Cole and Drake began their ascent, creating a new paradigm in rap that left gangsta rap in the dust. Yet, even hobbled, 50 was still kicking that "aggressive content" as a reminder that street rap would always have a place in hip-hop.