50 Cent @ Arena Birmingham 18 September, 2018

Celebrating the 15th anniversary of “Get Rich Or Die Tryin”. Business man, rap tycoon, street kid immortal 50 Cent was providing for himself by any means here at Arena Birmingham showcasing the album that propelled him from Street Kid to one of the most successful rappers of all time.

The queue was so big that 50 bounded out half an hour late supported by Tony Yao and Uncle Murda. Unfortunately nearly every song barring “Ayo Technology” was cut short and led to 50 having an onstage bust up with the DJ for playing the wrong song.  50 posted that he would’ve added dates but he had to get back to the US to direct Power.

Curtis James Jackson II or 50 Cent might talk Power for hours but he was literally only on for one hour tonight and on that note Barbie Dreamz sounds exactly the same as the 50 Cent masterpiece “How To Rob.” But moving on Buuhh “Get The Strap!”  brought us back to the 2000s and just like the “Get Rich Or Die Tryin” album “Get The Strap” is a gangster grimey soundtrack to the highly popular “Power.”

Supported by a four piece band Tony Yao and Uncle Murda “I Get Money” was menacing with an added live drum beat reverberating through the rafters and 100 dollar bills flying across the stage.  The extremely rushed “P.I.M.P” was preceded by a longer “Pimpin’ Part 2.”

“In Da Club” got cut short after a few lines but then transformed into the full version of “Window Shopper.” Just when the mood in the arena was lifting a song got trashed and the crowd had to pick themselves up again. 50 cent can get away with it though and he knows it, as at previous gigs he’s scrapped the curfew to make sure he gets every last hit in.  “Many Men” started dramatically in darkness prompting a flurry of phones to create a sea of light. You could hear the piano but the pianist was playing the guitar and as soon as it started it was over. What a way to wreck the ambiance, but the hits kept coming.

“Rappers don’t seem to be saying anything these days.” “When it all goes down and the cops come round it’s a mystery.” 50 killed it on “When It All Goes Down” ,“Up” made way for the jump off style dance battles and kept us entertained with raucous lines like “Imma get deep in it, Tomb Raider.” The temperature was rising for “Just A Lil Bit” and it wasn’t just the smoke cannons blowing their load. The old school video for “Candy Shop” came on but sadly there was no guest appearance from “Olivia.”

We had a brief musical interlude while I’m guessing 50 Cent went for a cold shower, everyone went to get a drink. For those of us that stayed we were treated to Tony Yao’s favorite weed inspired songs. But before you could say “Jammin” the screen shattered for “Ayo Technology” which included a very energetic guitar performance.  And there was lots more guitar to come with “21 Questions” a song about never being alone. 50 even sang some of the choruses in “Best Friend” “Window Shopper” “Disco Inferno” and “Hustler’s Ambition.”

After a short feud with the DJ and a rant about still being around “S***Heads after being in the game for 15 years” 50 started a Dr Dre and Eminem chant and then unleashed “In Da Club.” Cutting the song short there was another disagreement with the DJ and instead of doing “Poppin them Thangs” we had a rendition of Mann’s “Buzzin” and literally just the opening line of “I’ll Whip Ya Head Boy.” Which made me think would the old 50 Cent have stuck to the curfew? Who knows but after 15 years 50 Cent and G Unit were still “Fresh from Jamaica Queens”.

Reviewer: John Kirby

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