The 20 Best Five-year Runs In Rap Lawrence Lucier/Getty Images

50 Cent: 2002-2006

Solo Albums: Get Rich or Die Tryin' (2003), The Massacre (2005)
Group Albums: Beg For Mercy (2003)
Biggest Hits: "In da Club" (2003), "P.I.M.P." (2003), "21 Questions" f/ Nate Dogg (2003), "Candy Shop" f/ Olivia (2005), "Disco Inferno" (2005)

When the Dr. Dre and Eminem-endorsed 50 Cent exploded onto the pop culture radar in 2003 with "In Da Club" as the lead single off of Get Rich or Die Tryin, Queens knew what was coming. Anybody who had heard the way 50 took on nearly every popular rapper with "How to Rob" knew what was coming. Anybody who had heard anything 50 did in 2002, from mixtapes and quasi-official releases (50 Cent is the Future, or Guess Who's Back, or God's Plan, or No Mercy, No Fear) to the plinking beat of "Wanksta" knew what was coming. But even they couldn't possibly understand the way the rest of the world-to whom, this rapper with the off-putting charm and the sing-song cadence and the come-from-behind backstory about being shot multiple times, in the face-didn't know what to expect. Which might account for why, by the end of 2003, 50 was everywhere. 50 was on TRL giggling about having destroyed Ja Rule's career. 50 was in every bar, every car, and every club from the cities to the suburbs and back. 50 was on the mixtape to your girl with "21 Questions." He was on your running mix with "What Up Gangster." He was back on TRL with "P.I.M.P." or "Patiently Waiting," on the radio with "Many Men" and "If I Can't." The effect that Get Rich or Die Tryin' had on the cultural landscape was palpable, if only for the fact that it was just everywhere. 50 never relented from riding on the success of Get Rich or Die Tryin', building his G-Unit label into rap's dominant juggernaut, and resurfacing solo with 2005's The Massacre, an unashamed rehash of its predecesor's genius. And one that sold a million copies in its first week in stores.  Foster Kamer

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