G-Unit was a hell of a movement—really, an inferno insomuch as 50 Cent was fiery and devilish, with incendiary, all-consuming hype. Confronted with 50's debut singles "In Da Club" and "Wanksta" in 2003, Jay Z threw up his hands, as Roc-A-Fella took a backseat to the year. Ja Rule and Irv Gotti's Murda Inc. fumbled, stumbled, crashed. The Ruff Ryders disintegrated. Violator floundered.
For a few tumultuous, glorious years, 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo, Young Buck, and Game were the tallest men standing. (Not that we loved Dipset any less.)
From G-Unit’s false-but-wonderful starts on Power of the Dollar and 50 Cent Is the Future, to superstardom, to regional expansion and roster conflict, and then of course decline. In the course of all that, the G-Unit crew released sixteen proper albums that we've ranked for posterity.
As for the Unit's prolific mixtape run: well, that's (perhaps) another post, for another day.