This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):
You’d think it was hard — if not impossible — to go wrong when you’ve got both Eminem and Dr. Dre producing, mixing and/or rapping on your debut album. Yet somehow Curtis (50 Cent) Jackson still manages to come up short on Get Rich Or Die Tryin’.
It’s not that he has a bad voice or can’t flow — his rough rasp reminds you of DMX, while he can also affect a delivery mellow enough to make Snoop Dogg seem hyper. It’s certainly not his tracks — the 18 songs on this 69-minute disc reconstruct the dark, hostile streets of the inner city with their spartan arrangements, horror-movie synths and tense, deliberately paced thump-and-bump grooves. The trouble with 50 Cent, sadly, is that he might be a little too late to the party. His gun-toting persona and death-wish rhymes about cribs and drugs and partyin’ and pimpin’ and peelin’ caps back isn’t just old-school; on this album it feels old hat. Granted, unlike a lot of rappers, he’s truly keeping it real — 50 Cent has dealt crack, done time, been stabbed and reportedly even survived getting plugged nine times by a gunman in 2000. Even so, the predictability of Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ leaves us feeling shortchanged.