On May 24, 2000 the Hiphop world was once again rocked when upcoming rapper Curtis Jackson AKA 50 Cent was shot 9 times outside his grandmother’s house. Fast forward 3 years later, in February 2003 he releases “Get Rich Or Die Trying” his debut album given rise to the beginning of a new era in Hiphop.
After the tragic deaths of Tupac and Biggie during their rivalry a void had been created in Hiphop and Gangster Rap no longer held sway as the industry was moving towards commercial rap. 50 Cent with his debut album changed all of that. His song “Many Men” documented the tragic night when he nearly saw his demise. It quickly became an anthem in every street corner worldwide. It was 50 Cent’s ode to the streets and the streets embraced it whole heartedly. A spirit of determination had been born, a spirit of gritty resistance and success by all means had been instated.
50 Cent had opened a new door for the streets. A new street model for success had emerged differing from the former. Where as the old gangster rap model was label driven, 50 Introduced an entrepreneurial mixtape model supported by artistic street credibility. He had released countless street mixtapes with his G-Unit cohorts before his album debut. In many ways he invented the mixtape era where artist rapped over other popular mainstream beats in a collection of songs and put it together as a mixtape. The new 50 Cent gangster rap era meant street rappers with hustle and an authentic street story to tell now had an avenue for success. His era was characterised by his beef with rival group murder inc. Their back and forth encounters are well documented and needs no further accounts. Curtis Jackson’s reign lasted for a decade with great financial success from albums, clothing, video games, vitamin water etc
2005 started to see the rise of Atlanta gangster rap slightly rebranded but had the 50 Cent blueprint written all over it. Several Atlanta rappers where making noise but when Young Jeezy dropped “And Then What” he was a realisation of a rapper who had all the trappings to carry the 50 Cent mantle down south. He had street cred, was dropping mixtapes and had found a unique sound that worked for the streets. Jeezy’s momentum shifted when a failed robbery attempt on Gucci Mane by a Jeezy associate resulted in Gucci Mane Killing his attacker. Gucci Mane over the years carried the trap crown ushering in many more street rappers. Recently in 2022 the spotlight has started slowly shifting from Atlanta. Rico indictments targeting rappers in gangs have made its way to Atlanta. There is a sense that authorities are trying to stifle the increasing number of gangs operating in Hiphop.
Miami seems to be gangster raps current habitation. There’s a rise of rap beefs and gang rivalry in Miami, with some of the characteristics of Chicago drill culturally but an artistic style geared more towards traditional gangster rap. Kodak Black is the current face Of Miami Gangstar Rap. Kodak has more of a Hiphop soul and seems influenced by lyrical New York rappers. He’s currently in a war of words with former friend and protege Jack boy. He’s also extended his sniper gang movement to New York by signing rapper 22 G’s. With a lot of high profile arrests happening in Miami it’s interesting to see how its emerging scene progresses and if New York will be reinstated along side it as a home for gangster rap.
22 years after 50 Cent got shot and survived another New York Rapper Lil Tjay has just survived from a near fatal shooting where he was shot 7 times.
50 Cent still tells a gangster story through his television shows. His longevity proves that authentic street energy is what is important for sustained relevance. A rapper doesn’t have to rely on constant street activity after they gain public recognition. To upcoming “Gangster Rappers”, use your skills/tell your story imaginatively. DO NOT go chasing clout for an audience who will very quickly move on from you in this internet age!