Do you remember where you were the very first time you heard a 50 Cent record?
For me it all started in 2002.
I was a 15-year-old suburban brat who was pissed I had to ride the school bus due to my mom’s good judgment on not allowing me to speed to school every morning with my unlawful permit-possessing friends.
My usual bus riding routine consisted of picking a seat that wasn’t dirty or sporting a hole, enduring the smell of rebellious goth kids who decided not to bathe for some obscure reason, and trying to avoid the loud-mouth neighborhood hood rat who just so happened to dislike the one-straps and mini skirts I died by in my early years of high school.
On this particular day, my bus ride was different.
Besides the typical qualms of having to ride the bus, Bus 13 was unusually empty.
No goths, the holey seats were patched, and the neighborhood hood rat was nowhere in sight.
Something was brewing.
As Bus 13 arrived at the last stop before heading into the schoolyard, Eric M. swiftly stepped up on the bus.
Eric M., my town’s classic teenage hood figure and certified low life, hopped on the bus for the first time in what seemed to be months (since he never came to school).
He never spoke much, but his presence was as smooth as the nylon lining of the army green bomber jacket he sported.
“Now, this is interesting,” I thought.
I knew at that moment that only two things would come of his sporadic appearance.
Either someone’s going to get the breaks beat off them at school today, or Eric somehow discovered the importance of education after years of being held back and being shuffled through the school system.
It turned out to be neither, but whether Eric knows it or not, he changed my life that day.
As he scouted the aisle for a seat, Eric doubled back towards the front of the bus.
“Second thoughts, huh?” I mumbled.
Eric reached in his book bag, pulled out what appeared to be a mixtape, and handed it to our somewhat cool bus driver, Ms. Mayberry, who let us play music on the bus’ stereo system.
Ms. Mayberry inspected the CD and yelled out, “what number?”
“Number 12,” he responded.
At that moment, I heard the most menacing and intriguing voice.
As I listened intently, “Damn homie, in high school you were the man homie, what the f*ck happened to you?” blared over the bus speakers.
“Number 12” was confrontational, angry, refreshing, raw, unfiltered, honest, and ironically funny.
I would learn later on that day, the song that I only knew by the track number, “Number 12,” was actually 50 Cent’s ominous track “Wanksta.”
I don’t know what it was about “Wanksta,” but it spoke to me. I wasn’t busting guns and I didn’t have any perceived enemies at that moment, but I understood his perspective.
Who knew a teenage girl from Dover, Delaware and a rapper from Jamaica, Queens had so much in common?
As 2002 quickly flew by and a new year rolled in, 50 Cent’s Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ would eventually become the soundtrack of my high school career, literally.
The album debuted at number one on Billboard’s 200 and maintained its reign for six weeks.
Eventually, Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ would become the fourth highest-selling hip-hop album in U.S. history, with over 8 million copies sold, and later became the Queens’ rapper’s personal best-selling album.
Whether you agree with who 50 has become over the past decade, Get Rich Or Die Tryin‘ has easily become a classic.
So, hats off to 50.
While Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ was undoubtedly the most memorable album of 2003, I thought it would cool to take a trip down memory lane and remind you all of the other life changing events of 2003 below.
Brittany Lewis is the Music Editor at GlobalGrind and a Howard University Alumna. Brittany considers herself seasoned on all the pop culture ish that matters. Follow her on Twitter @Buttercup_B.
Apple Launches iTunes. iTunes eventually goes on to sell 10 million songs within the first 4 months of its existence.
Music icon Nina Simone died.
Saddam Hussein was captured by the U.S.
The blackout of 2003 left 50 million people in the Northeast without power for days.
The movie Bad Boys II starring Martin Lawrence and Will Smith reigned as a box office smash.
The average cost of gas was $1.83.
Roy Horn of “Siegfried & Roy” was mauled by his beloved white tiger.