Shady/Aftermath: 50 Cent & The Game (Pt. 1)


This is an invasion

I repeat: you motherfuckers are being invaded

Shady Records



We invadin' the streets to charge your motherfucking movie theatres

Ain't shit you can do without 'em

Eminem, Obie Trice, D12

50 Cent, G-G-G-G-G-G-Unit

(It's not my plan, it's God's plan)”

50 Cent opened like this in the mixtape Shady Times: Invasion Part 1 on the first track "Shady Invasion Intro".

Shady/Aftermath: 50 Cent & The Game

I still remember the members on the foreign Hip Hop forum with the name D12World at that time were always eagerly waiting for music products from the brotherhood in Shady Records / Aftermath. Each trade item is related to a new music release, from singles, official albums, mixtape like DJ Green Lantern's Invasion trilogy, leaks of an unreleased track from Shady / Aftermath is possibly involving hundreds of thousands of people into lively discussion.

 The period 2000-2005 was probably the golden age of Aftermath Entertainment (founded by Dr. Dre) and Shady Records (founded by Eminem and Paul Rosenberg - Em's manager). Artists who were targeted at either of these two ovens are bound to make rice porridge.

It is natural when the launch pad is the legendary Dr. Dre, from the group N.W.A. out with the hottest beats that are always sought after in the Hip Hop market. Dre also just released the album "2001" which sold 6 million copies in the US after 2 years.

The second launch pad was Eminem, Dre's inner disciple, and it was also the hottest rapper on the planet at that time. After Slim Shady LP sold 4 million copies in the US after 2 years, to Marshall Mathers LP sold 1.78 million copies after only 1 week (so far it has surpassed 11 million), and The Eminem Show continued to sell 1.3 million in the first 7 days (now 10 million) in home country alone. Even the movie 8 Mile and its soundtrack also brought Em countless awards.

 With the support of two of the most popular rappers in the Hip Hop music industry at that time, no one can doubt the success of artists signed with Aftermath Entertainment or Shady Records: from D12, Obie Trice to 50 Cent, The Game, etc.

 However, when I think back to these typical faces, I suddenly realize that their careers are all associated with one element: the bullets of fate. However, it has a different impact on different individual’s career in particular and the Shady / Aftermath Empire in general.

Shady/Aftermath: 50 Cent & The Game

50 Cent - 9 bullets bring fame

In May 2000, 50 Cent (real name Curtis Jackson) was sitting in the car in front of his grandma's house, when suddenly another car pulled up next to near. A man with a 9mm gun pointed at 50 and fired 9 times into the hand, arm, hip, legs, chest and one cheek. The reason for the shooting was an earlier rap of his - "Ghetto Qu'ran" prying too much on McGriff, a notorious drug lord, which led to an unsuccessful assassination attempt on 50 Cent. . Under McGriff's direction, the employees of Murder Inc.'s  Records (purportedly created under the leadership of Irving “Irv Gotti” Lorenzo just to launder money for McGriff) planned to kill 50. The perpetrator (a close friend and bodyguard of Mike Tyson) was shot and killed a few weeks later during the shootings between the gangs.

After the failed assassination attempt, Columbia Records hastily canceled the contract with 50 Cent. The rap song was too sensitive, as well as the 50's "magnitude with ammunition" was too great at that time, causing him to be ignored by the record labels. They feared of being implicated.

Not letting that incident hinder his career, 50 moved to Canada to take refuge and continued to record independently. One day, 50's audio tape reached Eminem's ears, which thanked to 50's lawyer who knew Paul Rosenberg - Em's manager. Fascinated by 50's talent and "gun-smoke biography", Em signed a recording contract with him while filming 8 Mile.

Particularly, the bullet through his cheek during the shooting caused his tongue to swell permanently, making 50's lisp rap voice special. But thanked to the gangsta biography plus that distinctive rap voice, it had made a special attraction to the public. In the soundtrack of the 8 Mile soundtrack that Eminem starred in, 50 was released to everyone through 3 songs. And he took full advantage of it to show off his diverse lyricism.

 In “Places To Go”, the first verse 50 raps about his talent through the proof that everyone at Shady and Aftermath had to aim to create classic tracks. If not, then he immediately throw the trash away by rhyming very interestingly and the flow voice was very chill.

“I'm the best, don't you get it? Forget it, when I spit it, it's crazy / You love it, admit it, you like that I live it, it's Shady / Aftermath in yo' ass, bitch / If it's not a classic, when it's done we trash it / Flow I got it mastered, stunt and get yo' ass kicked, bastard (Yeah) / When measures get drastic, Glocks made out of plastic / Cock it, aim it, blast it, run n****, now stash it (Come on!)”

Shady/Aftermath: 50 Cent & The Game

Then the second verse, 50 rap was much higher, and it was used the repetition of the consonant "p" and the word "picture", while keeping the two main syllables (which I transliterated in Vietnamese as "ace" and " éc") in the whole paragraph. It caused Eminem to say that it was the verse that makes Em even wanted to quit his job (This comment is like "I sing my mother compliments it well" because the first verse was clearly still better).

 In the other two songs, 50 has shown an interesting irony in his writing, in which he kicked off fake gangstas in "Wanksta" and then punches R. Kelly and slams the sisters known as Hip Hop village like Lil Kim, Lauryn Hill and Ashanti in the song “Love Me”.

Due to the 50's recording contract signed with the joint venture between Shady and Aftermath, he also gained special attention from Dr. Dre. Seeing the huge breakthrough potential in 50 Cent, both Em and Dre focused on helping 50 complete his debut album with the label for release in early 2003, the contract with 50 was signed less than a year earlier.

 Imagine when the first video clip "In Da Club" was on television, the words "Shady/Aftermath Artist Development Center" appeared on the scene like an American action movie. And then in the lab in the middle of nowhere, two faces big man of Dr. Dre and Eminem in a professor outfit looking down at the "warrior" 50 Cent were being completed, why not be hot? The slow but cool music of "Professor" Dre was even more suitable for the scene 50 Cent performing gym exercises in the lab.

I have to say that 50's rap voice was a strong point. Before rapping he would often listen to the beat to see what the melody and rhythm "say" so that he would rap along. He could rap slow but thanked up to the music of Dre like in "In Da Club", he could follow the music in the opening rap of "Don't Push Me", and rap like singing in Em's beat in "Patiently Waiting", interspersed with sharp high-pitched lines after that. I think this 50's rapping was the inspiration for Eminem's had a bridge singing after that in "Patiently Waiting" so good before beginning the rap part (this is Eminem's peak in all aspects, so what do you do? both are excellent, but now... haizzz).

 Back to with 50, thanked to that fame biography, any content he rapped was warmly received from listeners because he had to have been a drug dealer, gang associations, "immortal" to the point of being shot up to 9 If he did not die, every song he said  was gold and jade. In "Many Men (Wish Death)" 50 mentioned that missing death proudly:

“In the Bible, it says what goes around, comes around

"Hommo" shot me, three weeks later he got shot down

Now it's clear that I'm here for a real reason

'Cause he got hit like I got hit, but he ain't fuckin' breathin'”

Then when 50 raps about taking girls pimping in “P.I.M.P.” , everyone had to gape their mouths, from the rap song to the video clip of the girls "dancer" gliding back and forth .

 Thanked to that, the album Get Rich Or Die Tryin' (2003) easily reached No. 1 when selling 872 thousand copies in the first week, earning 822 thousand copies in the second week and now 9 million copies, in the US alone. 50's second disc The Massacre (2005) sold 1.15 million copies in just the first week showing just how hot he was. The extremely impressive number of 50 proved that the Shady/Aftermath gold mine was lucky to get it, making parent company Interscope and tycoon Jimmy Iovine, and without waiting for the second album, immediately set their eyes on 50.

 On that day, seeing the two big boys Dre and Em now have added 50 Cent , they are riding in luxury cars to parties, the awards showed how terrifying the power of the trio in the music world was at that time.

Shady/Aftermath: 50 Cent & The Game

The Game - 5 bullets remake life

 In October 2001, Game (real name Jayceon Taylor) was in his apartment. There was a knock on the door of a group of uninvited guests. Game was shot 5 times, around the chest area, but it was still able to call an ambulance. At the hospital, he fell into an unconscious coma that lasted three days.

That day, he was still busy trading banned goods, so he was always very cautious. Everywhere he went  on the street, Game always took with me 3 guns. In a place like Compton, even making money in a "hot" job was Can't take precautions. So when God gave him a second chance to live, he decided to quit his job and practice being a rapper. While plowing through a bunch of the most classic Hip Hop albums for 5 months and recovering from that shooting incident, Game began to master the techniques in this subject.

The Game mixtape tape reached P. Diddy, and then Dr. Dre, but Dre quickly signed the rookie rapper through his Aftermath record label in 2003. By this time, 50 Cent was already very popular. Together with Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo, 50 formed the group G-Unit, which specialized in rapping about gangsta and prostitute content.

I don't know how to think, but even Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine decided to include Game as the fourth member of G-Unit. On the other hand, they were on behalf of 50 Cent

and this group to promote Game (at that time most rappers had to have their own group), and on the one hand to have an additional member with a "missed assassination" profile like Game to increase the appeal of G-Unit itself.

 That day, I remembered that The Game's appeal was great, even before he released his first album. The first, Game made its public debut in "In Da Club" video clip of 50 Cent, and then Game starred in a commercial with Kanye West and Ludacris. Before releasing The Documentary (2005), he still released his own mixtape and appeared as a guest with DJ Green Lantern or G-Unit. Must say who being taken care of by Dr.Dre, no matter what, it will smell good.

 This debut official album features beats from all the top names: of course “Professor” Dre, Kanye West, Just Blaze, Timbaland, Storch, and more. Guest rapping included: 50 Cent, of course, then Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Busta Rhymes, Nate Dogg, Tony Yayo.

 Or the thing was that although entering the profession quite late, the Game seemed to "catch up" with the game very well. His flow rap sounded like West Coast Hip Hop like Dre developed the Gangsta Rap line through his G-Funk music. The once gangsta's strutting voice glides smoothly over both fast and slow beats. Game's biggest weakness was just that he abused (possibly due to his limited vocabulary) too many proper names in the rap lyrics. On average in the Documentary disc, every two sentences had tohave a specific name mentioned, at most Dr. Dre, then his own name, 2Pac, Notorious B.I.G., 50 Cent, etc..

 In return, I find Game's ability to transform on the beats very unpredictable. Few rappers like Game can both talk about violence and gangsta life through quick West Coast-sounding flows, and yet still convey his own emotions in slow, sad tracks.

In “Westside Story” rapping with 50 Cent, Game subtly adds a slightly raised voice to the style of 50, or in “We Ain’t” with Eminem, Game deliberately used the same triple flow that Em used in “The” Way I Am” while rapping the third verse, in a way that paid homage to Em. Before that, Game didn't forget to say a word of praise for Em's tail: "Lo, get Dre on the phone quick / Tell him Em' just killed me on my own shit".

Shady/Aftermath: 50 Cent & The Game

In the "rap ballad" "Start From Scratch", listeners can hear both the sighs and sobs of a drunk recounting sad memories in Game's life. Of course, the track produced by Kanye West cannot be missed, "Dreams" is about the time Game woke up from a coma: "I woke up out that coma 2001 / 'Bout the same time Dre dropped 2001". The song "Dreams" was the first song recorded by the Game that was selected to be included in the album. It also inspired Dre and everyone that Game was ready, not a mixtape but a full-fledged debut album.

 That's why Game's first album sounded  better to my ears than 50's Get Rich Or Die Tryin' because Game's music had a balance between violence and depth, which 50 lacked. Commercially, when the Documentary was released, more than 500,000 copies were purchased in the first week, putting the album right at the top. To date, this album has sold a total of 2.5 million copies in the US.

 Not equal to 50 sales, but this number was enough to impress a young rapper who was named to bring the West Coast back to the Hip Hop map, and enough success for 50 to be annoyed with the Game.

 These two stubborn guys should never have stood next to each other. Only because of the intentions of the big label, companies should both accept to use the strength of the other. But none of them needed the other. 50 Cent obviously didn't need Game when he was the hottest rapper at the time. Game benefited from 50 through the hooks that 50 wrote for the Documentary. The name and the contribution of 50 completely supported positive sales revenue, which stimulated demand. But for someone with a high ego and stubbornness like Game, it was okay not to have 50. While 50 saw itself  as a major contributor to the Game's success, many 50 songs could be used for its second album Massacre of himself.

It was those two opposing ways of thinking leading to the extreme conflict and heated confrontation between these two rappers before the release of Documentary. The fact that Massacre album of the 50 was forced by Interscope to delay the sale date to avoid direct competition with the Game was also an  uncomfortable for 50. A lashing out with diss tracks released by two guys from the same "mother" first even when Game appear in G-Unit.

 Rumor came, which led to the fact that 50 Cent pressured Dre to get Game to terminate his contract with Aftermath when Game had only made one album.

 The incident between 50 and Game also marked the decline of the Shady/Aftermath empire that day. It was difficult to decide who was right and who was wrong, but one thing was for sure, The Game has not been a mediocre artist like 50 thought. The proof was about Game's second album, with the name Doctor's Advocate released under a new label without the help of Dre or 50 Cent. But it was still being praised and won certain successes.

 Personally, I still like Doctor's Advocate much more than 50 Cent's second album The Massacre, again because of the heartfelt emotions in Game's rap lyrics. Most importantly, even though both 50 Cent and The Game are the two artists that have brought great commercial success to Aftermath / Shady, I still have a special affection and impression on the other two characters who played an equally important role as Eminem's closest brothers at the time: it was Obie Trice and the Hip Hop group D12.

 See you again part 2!