Time for one of those rare non-gaming Lost Classics! To be fair, 50 had two video games made featuring him (Bulletproof and Blood in the Sand), and his music has been featured in several video games, so here we go!

In 1999, a then-unknown Queens MC named Curtis Jackson grabbed the music world by the balls with his single How to Rob. The single, in which the rapper fantasized about robbing everyone from Jay-Z to Kirk Franklin catapulted him to the forefront of East Coast Hip Hop, pissing off several artists in the process. He wasn’t done yet though, heading back into the studio to add this controversial banger to his then-upcoming debut, Power of the Dollar. While the song was intended to catapult him to even greater heights, the resulting controversy instead gained him a large amount of infamy, and almost ended his life.

Yo, when you hear talk of the southside, you hear talk of the team
See niggas feared Prince and respected Preme
For all you slow muthafuckas I’m a break it down iller
See Preme was a business man and Prince was the killer

Over a sample from Diana Ross’ and Marvin Gaye’s duet, Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart), 50 Cent talked about major players of the Southeast Queens 80s drug epidemic, such as Lorenzo “Fat Cat” Nichols and Kenneth “Supreme” Mcgriff. The song was gritty, and it was a far cry from radio-friendly ballads such as Thug Love and How to Rob which were all that we had heard of 50 up until that point. However, the song had earned him some negative attention due to the fact that it mentioned several known criminals in Queens. Among his many rivals were rapper Ja Rule and producer Irv Gotti, who had a business relationship with the aforementioned Supreme. 50 was accused of ‘snitching’, although he didn’t say anything in the song that wasn’t already well known in Queens at the time. Even worse, 50 was shot 9 times outside of his grandmother’s house in Queens. Columbia Records, feeling that his image was a little too ‘street’ quietly shelved Power of the Dollar, with tracks being leaked out to bootleggers.

Columbia silently dropped him from the label, and for the next few years, the world forgot about him while Irv Gotti’s Murder Inc records flourished. That would have been it for 50. However, he refused to remain down, recovering from his shots and making a name for himself on the mixtape circuit. Eventually he attracted the attention of Eminem and Dr Dre. With a new deal in place, he dropped his 2003 studio debut, Get Rich or Die Trying. The album sold a staggering 872,000 in its first week, even with heavy bootlegging.

Even with 50’s success, his praise of Queens mobsters was a risky venture, and he isn’t the only one. Nas’s Get Down which was the first track on his 2002 album God’s Son also made mention of various New York gangsters such as Pappy Mason and Nicky Barnes, while Roc-A-Fella films released Paid In Full, a movie based on the lives of drug dealers Alpo, Azie, and Rich Porter. Coming from the backgrounds some of these rappers were raised, it’s easy to see why one would yearn for the success that these kingpins enjoyed. Ironically, most of the criminals idolized on songs like Ghetto Qu’ran are either dead or locked up, wishing that they had the success that the rappers who are name dropping them are enjoying. While many want to live the lifestyle that drug dealing enabled men like Supreme and Fat Cat to live, few would want to deal with the consequences and risks that also came with their illicit way of doing business. However, I’m not here to judge, and this is one of the best songs from 50’s early days. If you want to know how he became the million dollar icon he is now, just take a listen to this track. It’s hip hop style storytelling at its finest.