Ranking the Best 50 Cent Albums

Before there was a Big Rich Town, vitamin water or social media trolling, Curtis Jackson was the biggest rap star on the planet.

If you were a music fan in 2003, you know the story: 50 Cent stormed on the scene boasting a rare mix of street cred and pop hits. With heavy-hitters like Dr. Dre and Eminem on his side, and a crew of hungry promising rappers in his G-Unit stable, 50 ran the rap world.

His musical dominance would prove to be a little short-lived – he spent the next decade trying to match the success of his debut – but 50’s a hustler and it didn’t take long for him to become a power player in other areas of entertainment.

But today, we’re talking about the music.

Let’s look back at 50’s entire discography, ranking his solo LPs from bottom to top. We’ll be skipping his mixtape run, soundtracks and G-Unit collabs BUT I did add one surprise album to the mix. Album quality, consistency, and impact are the name of the game here.

6. Curtis (2007)

Soul in Stereo rating: 3 stars out of 5

Edd said: CURTISSSSSSSSSS! Sorry, I can’t help it. Blame Cam’ron.

Remember that time 50 challenged Kanye West to a battle for first-week sales, threatening to retire if he lost? Well, 50 took the L, but it didn’t stand for “layoff.” 50 didn’t go anywhere. In terms of quality there was no way Curtis was competing with Graduation. It’s the usual post-Get Rich mixed bag – a couple of solid, diverse singles and a few standout album cuts sandwiched between a lot of meh. Leave five or six of the weaker tracks on the cutting room floor and this could have been a much stronger project.

Forgotten favorites: “My Gun Go Off,” “Follow My Lead,” “Fully Loaded Clip”

5. The Massacre (2005)

Soul in Stereo rating: 3 stars out of 5

Edd said: Sigh, OK. THIS ALBUM. I’ve gone on record many times to say that The Massacre was one of the most disappointing CDs I’ve ever purchased. However, I relistened to it  for the purposes of this review and I can objectively say it’s not as horrible as I remember, it’s just wildly inconsistent. While its uber-successful predecessor perfectly balanced club tracks and street bangers, this one is all over the place – oversaturated with goofy radio cuts and lazy bars. Thankfully, the harder-edged tracks help keep this one afloat when it threatens to circle the drain. I realize that The Massacre is beloved by 50 fanatics due to it dropping at the height of G-Unit Mania, but if you remove the nostalgia goggles this one looks a bit funny in the light. But hey, at least it’s better than I remember.

Forgotten favorites: “Ski Mask Way,” “A Baltimore Love Thing,” “Position of Power”

4. Before I Self Destruct (2009)

Soul in Stereo rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Edd said: After years of albums that were all over the place, 50 finally began to find his focus with Before I Self Destruct. The lead single with Ne-Yo (which I still love) is one of the few attempts at radio play; instead, 50 feels a bit more like his Power of a Dollar days here, which I dig. There are the usual weak spots and repetitive tracks that drag this down, but it’s a clear step up from previous efforts.

Forgotten favorites: “Strong Enough,” “Do You Think About Me,” “Psycho”

3. Animal Ambition (2014)

Soul in Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5

Read our review here

Edd said: Well if y’all didn’t cancel me for tanking The Massacre, I’m definitely catching a headshot for the placement of this one. Back in 2014, I think I was the only reviewer on Keith Sweat’s Internet who gave this album a positive score. Six years later, I still stand by it. Animal Ambition feels like a mixtape in the best of ways – no bloated filler, no goofy love songs or corny hooks, none of the things that held back Fif’s prior releases, it’s just 50 spitting aggression over haunting beats. It’s tight, consistent and one of the few 50 albums that won’t cause me to catch arthritis by hitting the skip button. Really, its biggest sin is that’s just kinda forgettable in the long run.

Forgotten favorites: “Hold On,” “Irregular Heartbeat,” “Pilot”

2. Power of the Dollar (2000)

Soul in Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: The story behind this album has become stuff of legend. Originally set to be 50’s debut in 2000, the project was shelved after 50 was infamously shot nine times. Of course, that didn’t stop the album from eventually breaching the vault and it’s insane that the world missed such a great record. 50’s flow and delivery are MUCH different than the style he became known for. Also, the project is much more layered and focused conceptually than what we’d get in later years. “How To Rob” may have gained the most infamy (our first intro to 50 da Troll) but surprising introspection and insanely catchy wordplay are what elevate this one. Lyrically, he was a monster at this point. I can’t imagine how dominant this version of 50  would have been in the 00s.

Forgotten favorites: “The Good Die Young,” “Corner Bodega,” “Da Repercussions”

1. Get Rich or Die Tryin (2003)

Soul in Stereo rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Edd said: Yes, the top spot was obvious, but there’s a reason for that. If you weren’t around in 2003, I can’t properly convey how DEAFENING the hype was for this album. And honestly, I figured there was no way 50 could meet expectations. I was wrong. Get Rich or Die Tryin’ was the perfect album for the perfect time – grabbing hip-hop culture by the throat and dragging it toward a more gritty sound when many hitmakers were frolicking in pop pastures. This album alone made 50 a megastar and had all of hip-hop stuttering the name G-Unit. It’s one of the most impactful debuts in rap history.

Forgotten favorites: “High All the Time,” “Poor Lil Rich,” “Back Down”

What’s your favorite 50 album? Ready to bury me for putting Animal Ambition over The Massacre? Shout your threats in the comments.



  1. Frankly prefer “Curtis”. The Massacre is a decent cd if not an equally decent Get Rich follower. The “Massacre” title may always insult the listener to an album finding 50 faintly less-Mellow than Bob Ross’s PBS segments.
    Get Rich is the best in the bunch but hasn’t aged all that toughly. 50 Cent has issued generous amounts of mixtape music which relatively stand up well today.

  2. Oh yeah “Psycho” from the 2oo9 album Love that tune to this day!

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